Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids

Understanding Cannabis Science for Effective Treatment

Marijuana and Medicine

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued report a that examined potential therapeutic uses for marijuana. The report found that: "Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation; smoked marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances. The psychological effects of cannabinoids, such as anxiety reduction, sedation, and euphoria can influence their potential therapeutic value. Those effects are potentially undesirable for certain patients and situations and beneficial for others. In addition, psychological effects can complicate the interpretation of other aspects of the drug's effect." (Institute of Medicine. 1999. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/6376)

Signs and Symptoms

Researchers have written thousands of articles that can help people treat various medical conditions/symptoms such as acne, pain management and PTSD. Learn more about at least 64 medical conditions/symptoms that are treatable with cannabis related products.

MEDICAL RESEARCH

Get the Facts

Before you treat your symptom or medical condition, it is important to understand the science behind finding an effective cannabinol or cannabis strain as the possible answer. Get the facts through exploring and reading scientific research in medical journal writing and researchers. According to research, cannabis use can be effective for the various medical conditions  symptoms and/or medical conditions. 

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Health Benefits

Medical Facts

 Marijuana’s effects on the brain

The most commonly known effects of marijuana use are the psychoactive and euphoric effects on the brain. This effect is caused by the THC found within certain strains of the plant. Researchers are studying the how THC may impact some illnesses including cancer and Multiple Sclerosis; as well as its effect on pain.


20 years ago, scientists identified areas in the brain known as cannabinoid (CB) receptors. Cannabinoids regulate how the brain sends, receives and processes information, slowing down the communication between cells.


The body naturally produces its own chemicals that act on these receptors – Anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol. These two chemicals, along with the receptors form what is known as the endocannabinoid (EC) system.


How does THC effect the EC system?

If a person smokes marijuana, THC moves quickly into the brain, attaching to the cannabinoid receptors. Unfortunately, THC overwhelms the EC system and prevents the natural cannabinoids in your brain from working properly. This can impact different parts of your brain and cause a variety of changes, not all of them good.


To begin with, weed slows your reaction time. This can be especially dangerous if you’re driving a car or operating machinery. That’s one reason why all U. S. States prohibit driving under the influence of marijuana.


Other effects of THC are a mixed bag of good effects like reducing pain, nausea and increasing the appetite for critically ill patients, and bad effects like impaired memory function, panic or paranoia, and negative changes in judgment and thinking. Dangerous, mind-altering, side effects at higher doses can include delusions, hallucinations, and psychosis.

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Endocannabinoids System (ECS)

Definition of Endocannabinoids  

Endocannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with a system of receptor cells located all over our body. The body makes its own cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). Cannabinoids are also found in the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids)


Endocannabinoids are the chemical messengers that tell our body when to get these functions moving and when to slow them down. You could say that the ECS acts as a dimmer switch (turns the lights up/down), up-regulating or down-regulating many of the physiological systems of the body as the need arises, keeping it in a state of homeostasis.


Cellular Receptors

The endocannabinoid system consists of cellular receptors that are found in very large amounts all throughout the body, and endocannabinoids—internally synthesized chemical compounds that entice these endocannabinoid receptors.


Receptors of the Endocannabinoids System   

These cellular receptors are responsible for our body’s reaction to endocannabinoids, but also to active compounds found in marijuana.There are main two distinct types of cannabinoid receptors, and they can be considered as “locks” that are present on the membranes of different types of cells in our body.All cannabinoids act as “keys” which trigger a specific response from these cell, upon entering the “lock” of the receptors. 


CB1 receptors

CB1 receptors are mostly located in the central nervous system.


CB1 receptors are the most abundant cannabinoid receptors in the body, and they are mostly located in the central nervous system (CNS), more precisely the brain and the spinal cord.

In the brain, the largest quantity of CB1 receptors is present in the:

  • Frontal cortex (where thinking happens)
  • Hippocampus (in charge of memory)
  • Cerebellum (in charge of movement)
  • Basal ganglia (associated with voluntary movement learning, cognition and emotion)


Other than the central nervous system, CB1 receptors are found in the vital and reproductive organs, various glands, gastrointestinal and urinary tract, white blood cells and connective tissues.


CB2 receptors

CB2 receptors are the second most prominent cannabinoid receptors and are mostly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where the most of the body’s immune system is located.


Large concentrations of CB2 receptors are also found in the tonsils and the thymus gland, and both sections of the body are also valuable assets of the immune response.


CB2 receptors are (just like CB1) also expressed in some neuron cells (like the microglia) in the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, but in much smaller quantities than CB1.


Another captivating attribute of the ECS is that both cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids get synthesized in the body on demand.


This basically means that when our body “senses” that an additional receptor will return our organism into a state of balance, it produces that receptor along with a compound that activates it. Studies have shown that this trait of ECS occurs in situations like nerve injury, inflammation and tissue damage.


2019. The Endocannabinoid System: Here’s How it  Keeps You Healthy and Happy. February 18. Accessed March 11, 2019.  https://greencamp.com/endocannabinoid-system/.


Learn More About Dosing

The exact effects one gets from cannabis will depend on the dosage, type of cannabis, method of use, and the individual. Different strains can produce different effects. If you aren’t sure whether cannabis is right for you, speak to your doctor about your options.

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The Facts About Cannabis For Medical Use

What is Medical Cannabis or Medical Marijuana?

How does medical cannabis or medical marijuana relieve pain? What types of pain does it help with?  


Medicinal

Cannabis as medicine can have a range of health and wellness benefits for patients suffering from many different injuries or illnesses. Marijuana can soothe anxiety and help manage chronic pain. It can also alleviate depression, as well as symptoms of HIV, MS, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C, PTSD, and arthritis. It can also help cancer patients manage pain and increase their appetites during chemotherapy treatments. 


Effects

Different people have different experiences. One individual may feel stress release, while another feels over-stimulated and stressed, while another feels energized and on-task. There are many factors that impact the effect:

  • Amount used (dosage)
  • Strain of cannabis used and method of consumption
  • Environment/setting
  • Experience and history of cannabis use
  • Biochemistry
  • Mindset or mood
  • Nutrition or diet
  • Types of Cannabis


Types of Medical Cannabis       

Though cannabis is biologically classified as the single species Cannabis Sativa, there are at least three distinct plant varieties: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis, though the last is rare. There are also hybrids, which are crosses between sativa and indica varieties. Cannabis used for fiber is typically referred to as hemp and has only small amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, usually less than 1%.


Genetic “breeders” of the cannabis seed have developed thousands of different strains of cannabis from these three varieties. There are marked differences between sativa, indica, and hybrid. Today, we mostly find hybrids. It can be difficult to find pure indica or sativa.


All types of medical cannabis produce effects that are more similar than not, including pain and nausea control, appetite stimulation, reduced muscle spasm, improved sleep, and others. But individual strains will have differing cannabinoid and terpene content, producing noticeably different effects. Many people report finding some strains more beneficial than others. For instance, strains with more CBD tend to produce better pain and spasticity relief. As noted above, effects will also vary for an individual based on the setting in which it is used and the person's physiological state when using it.


Go Slow and Go Low

Cannabis and its extracts, like CBD oil, can be consumed in an astounding number of ways. Everybody processes cannabis and cannabinoids a little differently. The diversity of human experience means that finding your ideal form of cannabis consumption will take some experimentation. See the forms of consumption under How To Safely Dose With Cannabis.





Using Cannabis as Medicine

Good Greens Dispensary focuses strictly on medicinal cannabis. Information on our website is meant to give patients insights into the medical and scientific aspects of Cannabis sativa L. and how this plant fits in the chain of therapeutic options. 

safely using cannabis

How To Safely Dose With Cannabis

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Inhalation: Smoking and Vaping

Vaporization- Inhalation method that eliminates irritants and carcinogens produced by combustion (smoking) Vaporization of cannabinoids occurs at 356-392°F. Terpenes vaporize at 259 °F. 


Smoking- Fastest and most cost effective way to medicate. Smoke is produced by combustion, which also creates carcinogens. Smoking any substance has health risks. Water pipes / bongs are less irritating than a joint of blunt. Avoiding tobacco products commonly with cannabis is advised. 


Onset: Seconds to minutes.

Dose: As little as a puff may be necessary. A typical joint is 0.3 - 1.0 grams of cannabis.

Distribution: Affects the lungs immediately, then the heart and brain, then is distributed fairly evenly throughout the body.[1]

Duration: Most effects, including psychoactivity, subside after 2-3 hours.

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Edibles/Capsules

Edibles- Food product containing cannabis.

Full effects may take up to 2 hours to onset.

New users are advised to dose no more than 5 miligrams of THC 


Onset: 1-2 hours.

Dose: The  threshold for mild psychoactive effects is 3 mg THC in most new users. Doses of CBD-rich products  range from 5 mg to hundreds of milligrams. 

Distribution: Absorbed through the gut  and modified in the liver, then spreads fairly evenly throughout the body.

Duration:  Psychoactive  effects subside after about 6 hours in most people. Other effects may last up to 12 hours.

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Under the Tongue / Sublingual and Oral-Mucosal Tinctures

Tinctures- Sublingual (under the tongue)

Glycerin tinctures are sweet and can be cooked or cold pressed. Alcohol tinctures may burn under the tongue but can also be cooked or diluted for easier consumption. Adding tinctures to liquids such as coffee or juice can also be effective Onset: 15 minutes to an hour.


Dose:   2.5-5 mg of THC and CBD is a common starting dose. This could cause a slight high in new  users.

Distribution: Absorbed into the bloodstream in the mouth, then distributes evenly.

Duration: After 6-8 hours, most of the THC and CBD has been metabolized or eliminated from the body.

More Ways To Use Cannabis

Understanding the Human Body

One of the great aspects of cannabis is that there are many ways to use the medicine effectively. Here are additional ways to use medical cannabis.

Body

Suppositories- Can be used vaginally and rectally. Rectal suppositories should be inserted 1-2 inches in order for the medication to bypass the veins leading to the liver.  

Topical- Applied to the surface of the skin. Transdermal patches, lotions and other bath products. Transdermal literally means across the skin. are being used to treat certain skin conditions and for localized muscular or joint pain. The typical dose forms include creams which are applied to the skin surface or a mucous membrane; and, transdermal patches which are a medicated adhesive patch applied directly on the skin. A specific do dose is then administered gradually over a set time.

Oral

Juicing- Non-psychotropic (not intoxicating) 

Useful for autoimmune disorders.

Whole plant can be juiced for medical benefits.