There are many things to think about when you want to consider medical marijuana as treatment for a health condition that you or your family member has. The vast amount of information that you will find about it might overwhelm you. This article would provide an initial summary of what medical marijuana is, how and why it works, medical information about it, and how to access it.
This guide only seeks to serve as an informative document where you can gain important information so that you will have a basic idea about it and what to expect. At the end of the day, you still need to speak with your doctor should you wish to actually proceed with medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is part of the female cannabis plant that flowers (i.e., the flowering “bud”). You shouldn’t think of it as treatment for all kinds of illnesses. It is not a “cure.” Rather, it is a medicinal plant that is used for alleviating the symptoms caused by various illnesses and health conditions.For some kinds of diseases, the traditional medications are not sufficient. In such cases, medical marijuana may help. Medical marijuana can only be supplied legally by manufacturers licensed by Health Canada. There are comprehensive prerequisites and conditions on security, safety, and quality that a manufacturer must satisfy and continuously comply with in order to get a license.
The human body is composed of various systems. Some examples of the common ones you are probably aware of are the circulatory system, digestive system, respiratory system, nervous system, etc. Another important system of the body is the endocannabinoid system. This system is in charge of a number of very important physiological processes such as memory, mood, pain sensation, and appetite.
It naturally generates chemicals comparable to those found in medical marijuana. These said chemicals serve as messengers between the human brain and the other parts of the body through receptors and neurons. If the endocannabinoid system doesn’t function well, which sometimes happen if the person is suffering from some medical condition, it can result in the manifestation of several symptoms of the condition.
If a person takes medical marijuana though, the marijuana will generate cannabinoids referred to as “phyto-cannabinoids” that could help relieve those symptoms by supplying the endocannabinoids that your body normally produces on its own, and supports your body’s endocannabinoid system all together.
This is how medical marijuana basically works.
As mentioned, medical marijuana produces chemicals called cannabinoids. There are over one hundred various kinds of cannabinoids identified by scientists, but normally, the focus is on two kinds: “THC” and “CBD.”
THC is the medical acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the chemical found in medical marijuana that causes psycho-active effects. To put it simply, it is what makes the person feel “high.” It has been shown from anecdotal evidence and substantial scientific research that THC is effective in helping patients suffering from pain, inflammation, and insomnia, decreasing the vomiting and feeling of nausea resulting from chemotherapy, stimulating appetite in patients with AIDS or HIV, and relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
On the other hand, CBD, medical acronym for “cannabidiol,” does not result in any psycho-active effects. Studies indicate that it is very promising in alleviating the symptoms of epilepsy, including Dravet’s Syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy that affects children, mainly infants. In addition, CBD has had great success in helping patients that suffer from nausea, pain, inflammation, ischemia, anxiety, panic attacks, and hereditary brain disorders. It also makes the “high” feeling caused by THC easier to endure, and limits the possibility of patients experiencing anxiety, panic, or paranoia due to the THC.
As mentioned earlier, not everyone should use medical marijuana. Furthermore, it should not be thought of as a cure for any kinds of illnesses. Majority of the supporting evidence that backs the healing effect of medical marijuana are obtained from anecdotal reports. However, the number of published academic studies about the effect of medical marijuana is increasing continuously, which give medical practitioners a higher level of comfort and confidence in prescribing it.
Some of the known health conditions that medical marijuana has been proven to help treat are the following:
A lot of patients have also reported that using medical marijuana helped in reducing or eliminating their intake of opioids and painkillers, which are very addictive and have major side effects.
The two primary kinds of medical marijuana products that majority of licensed manufacturers sell are:
1. dried marijuana, and 2. edible marijuana oil.
At Ganja, we have chosen seven types of dried marijuana products to accommodate an extensive array of health needs. The name of each type is based on its concentration of CBD and THC, so that both physicians and patients would immediately know what concentration is used.
Last January 2016, the kinds of marijuana products that can be legally sold to patients have been expanded by Health Canada to include edible marijuana oil. In our manufacturing process, we do not use any waste materials or leaf trimmings. Water and alcohol is removed, and the remaining concentrated marijuana extract is blended with olive oil. Next is the decarboxylation, which refers to the process where the said blend is heated so that the medical ingredients will be activated. Lastly, the final product is generated by adding more olive oil to the activated mixture.
When dosing marijuana oil for the first time, a patient should be extremely careful. Unlike smoked or vaporized medical marijuana, where the psycho-active effects take place just minutes after inhalation, the effects of marijuana oil take place much longer—usually one hour or more after ingestion. Furthermore, the effects could last a lot longer if it is ingested orally, because the liver metabolizes it.
We highly recommend that marijuana oil therapy be done at home, at night if possible. Go slow and start low.
The process a patient must go through in order to access medical marijuana has been changed by Health Canada in April 2014. It has been made more efficient.
The rules and regulations that govern the medical marijuana industry are collectively referred to as “Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations” or simply “ACMPR.” This was established by Health Canada and according to it, the only ones who can prescribe medical marijuana are authorized healthcare practitioners.
These include physicians of any specialization, such as your family doctor, a rheumatologist, oncologist, or even a general practitioner. Technically, nurses are also “authorized healthcare practitioners” but at present, no provincial nursing association or college has permitted their members to prescribe medical marijuana.
Prior to your appointment with your physician, you should do as much research as possible on medical marijuana as a supplementary treatment for your illness. It will be very useful to have any supporting information or evidence available, such as anecdotal reports of other people with the same illness as yours who have gotten better because of medical marijuana. The best evidence includes academic studies and scholarly journals. However, blog posts and testimonials from other patients can also help.
You should specify explicitly the symptoms of your illness that you believe can be alleviated by medical marijuana. Write down a list of all the therapies, medications, and treatments you have already tried, and mark the ones that have worked for you and those that didn’t.
Usually, a doctor prescribes medical marijuana when the traditional medications being taken aren’t enough. Some of the questions that you should ask your physician during your appointment are the following:
If your physician is not comfortable in prescribe medical marijuana for you, ask him or her if he or she can refer you to another specialist instead.