The world of cannabis is wrought with myths, legends, and misunderstanding. For those interested in learning about its medicinal value, it is difficult to unravel the truths from the propaganda, often causing people who could benefit from cannabis to give up hope. At Herbal Relief, we hope to dispel conflicting facts and confusing information to make the medical marijuana accessible for those who need it.
In this article, we will outline the types of marijuana available and how to use them safely and effectively. With a greater understanding of the plant and its properties, you can positively incorporate marijuana into your life.
The Difference Between THC & CBD
The psychoactive element of marijuana comes from the cannabinoids. They mimic the endocannabinoids our body naturally creates to fight pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. The two main herbal variants that affect humans are THC and CBD, however, there are a great deal more.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the primary psychoactive component to marijuana. This is the chemical that creates the “high” of smoking cannabis. THC increases appetite, reduces nausea and vomiting, fights insomnia, and decreases pain and inflammation. THC can also incite paranoia and anxiety.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, causes no psychoactive effects on its own and safe at very high doses. For this reason, CBDs are used to relieve inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, spasms, and seizures without making the patient feel high. Used in conjunction with THC, it can help to moderate the effects.
For decades, the only available marijuana was high-THC. These days, producers are creating more balanced products that would be considered CBD-rich (equal parts THC and CBD) or CBD-dominant (more CBD than THC). It is this balance that creates marijuana appropriate for medicinal use by a wide variety of individuals.
Strains Available & Their Qualities
Cannabis, like any plant, comes in a number of strains, each with their own benefits and detriments. Hybrid strains are being created by producers regularly, mixing these strains for the optimal medical effect. For a more in-depth look, read: Marijuana 101: Indica vs. Sativa.
This strain is not often used for medical marijuana as the plant itself is very difficult to cultivate. Additionally, pure sativa can cause paranoia and irregular heartbeats. Those who use pure sativa equate the sensation to that of drinking too much coffee. The positive effects of sativa include euphoria, energy, increased appetite, and reduced pain and nausea.
Pure indica strains are more conducive to growing indoors due to their height, which is shorter than sativa. Indica has a greater capacity for reducing pain and insomnia, while inducing a heavy state of relaxation. These qualities make it a good candidate for medicinal uses.
A lesser-known subspecies of cannabis that contains very little THC. This strain is rarely grown for recreational marijuana, but has been used quite successfully for its medicinal effect. The high CBD content is an effective addition in hybrid forms of this plant.
Hybrid Sativa Dominant
These strains are a combination of indica and sativa but with a higher amount of sativa, resulting in a high that is uplifting and energetic with less anxiety and paranoia. Considered “daytime marijuana”, these strains are excellent as an antidepressant and an appetite stimulant.
Hybrid Indica Dominant
These strains are a mix of indica and sativa but with a higher indica content. You may have heard of “Kush”, a strain that has been widely used recreationally and medically. Combined with ruderalis, these strains have a higher CBD content, making them ideal for treating insomnia, inflammation, or pain.
Types of Treatment
Today, there are a variety of options for those who would like to use cannabis for its medical properties, without subjecting their body to smoke and tar. This is far from an exhaustive list, but is a good start for the cannabis newcomer.
Smoking is still one of the most efficient ways to ingest marijuana. Smokers can control the amount of drug they ingest through the size of breaths, the length of time held in the lungs, and the frequency of puffs. However, the downside to smoking is coughing, throat pain, and possible wheezing. For anyone with a respiratory disorder, this is not ideal.
Cannabis can be vapourized for a similar effect as smoking, but with less negative effects to the respiratory system. Researchers consider vaping a healthier option because the lower heat needed causes less carcinogens. Vape pens can be used with the plant, oils, shatter, or wax. For more information on vaping, read our blog: Vaporizing vs. Combustion: What are the Differences?
Edibles, unsurprisingly, are foods infused with cannabis. The cliche form is brownies, but edibles are found in a variety of forms, from candies to to crackers. Anything that normally contains a lipid (butter or oil) can be made using cannabis oil. Edibles take a much longer time to kick in and typically have stronger effects, so proceed with caution.
Cannabis can be concentrated into an oil, which is then ingested orally. It can be dropped directly on the tongue or added to foods and drinks. Due to the high concentration of the drug, this method can be quite strong and, just like edibles, can take a long time to kick in.
For those who are interested in the pain-relief aspects of cannabis, lotions and balms containing cannabis can be applied directly to the area. This use has no psychoactive effects, but can be effective to fight sore muscles and inflammation.
Marijuana & You:
If you are interested the medicinal effects of marijuana, contact us to talk to one of our doctors. They will help you navigate your options, so you can have a positive and safe experience with cannabis.