For centuries, people have been using cannabis for so many different human ailments and problems, both physical and emotional. Now, thanks to the gradual shift of cannabis acceptance and legalization in different states, more people have access to cannabis as medicine. If you’re brand-new to the world of cannabis, you can feel a little intimidated because there is so much to learn—this fascinating, medicinal plant is so diverse in how it works and what to expect. Here is a brief guide to medical cannabis to get you started.
A Closer Look at the Constituents of the Cannabis Plant
Cannabis may look like any ordinary plant on the surface, but this botanic species is one of the most incredible plants when you take a closer look. Cannabis contains a wealth of constituents that protect it in the wilds of nature, which we know as terpenes. However, the true stars of the plant are cannabinoids like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), and CBG (cannabigerol).
The bulk of cannabinoids and terpenes are concentrated in the flowering buds of the cannabis plant. Resinous trichomes cover the densely packed flowering buds and are where the highest concentrations of both terpenes and cannabinoids are found.
How Cannabis Affects the Body
The human body actually has its own system that processes cannabinoids. This system is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Even though there is still a lot the researchers don’t know about the ECS, they do know that this intricate system plays a role in a number of everyday functions, such as:
While the human body creates its own endocannabinoids that the ECS uses, the ECS responds in similar ways when plant-derived cannabinoids are introduced. Phytocannabinoids derived from cannabis interact with the ECS in your body to produce various different effects.
The ECS is composed of receptors that are found throughout organs, the nervous system, the skin, and the brain. When cannabinoids from hemp or cannabis interact with these receptors, different things take place. For example, THC may attach to certain receptors to induce euphoric effects and encourage sleep, while CBD doesn’t attach to receptors but helps to stabilize levels of endocannabinoids to support a state of homeostasis.
Terpenes, while not as profound or potent as cannabinoids, can also deliver their own effects on the body and mind. These aromatic compounds are also thought to support the actions of cannabis due to the entourage effect, or simply compounds working together and supporting one another in the body.
Ways to Use Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes
While most people still prefer to use cannabis in its most familiar form (as flower), cannabis can be used in all kinds of ways and a number of new products offer a variety. Cannabis can be inhaled through either smoking or vaporization with a vaporizer, but you can also find:
- Edible products like gumdrops or cookies
- Cannabis concentrates created with terpenes and cannabinoids and no plant matter
- Topical lotions, creams, and salves that have been infused with cannabinoids like THC or CBD
In general, if you are looking to have a certain experience due to unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles, flower can be the better option. Most concentrate and other products rely sheerly on cannabinoid content and not necessarily the other supportive agents found in the plant to deliver effects.
Guide to Medical Cannabis FAQs
What strain of cannabis should you use?
It is interesting to experiment with different strains to determine which strain offers the effects you want. Every strain can have its own unique terpene and cannabinoid makeup, which means every plant has the ability to offer different therapeutic actions. Therefore, whether you use something like 9# Hammer or Space Monkey, you can see a different set of effects. For instance, Space Monkey tends to offer relaxation and helps with pain, while 9# Hammer is excellent for sleep and a good mood lift.
How do you dose cannabis?
Unlike other forms of medicine, cannabis does not come along with specific dosing guidelines. The plant is not FDA-approved and has not undergone extensive testing to determine exactly how much of any certain cannabinoid a person would need. Beyond that, how much cannabis you need can be highly individualized. Usually, newcomers should start with a low dose and work up from there to achieve the effects they want to see. For example, if you are taking cannabis for pain, start out with a few milligrams of THC, CBD, or both, and adjust from there.
Does cannabis interact with other medicines?
If you are already taking prescription medication, the general rule is to discuss using cannabis with your doctor. Cannabis is a plant, but cannabinoids can interact with other medicines, including things like anti-depressants, antihistamines, and blood thinners.
How can cannabis be used as medicine?
People use cannabis to target so many different ailments on their own because they find doing so helps with an everyday ailment they face. The plant is currently being studied for use for everything from eating disorders to cancer, but the most well-established ways to use cannabis include targeting chronic pain, muscle stiffness, nausea, and vomiting.
Discover the Therapeutic World of Cannabis
When you step into the world of cannabis, it’s important that you have access to well-tested, quality products. If you are looking for just that, be sure to take a look at our collection at Core Gardens.