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5 Most Common Misconceptions about Weed

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March 22, 2017 9:00 AM

5-Most-Common-Misconceptions-about-Weed.jpgMarijuana has faced stigma since it first came to the public’s attention. Canada’s House of Commons criminalized the drug in 1923 before it had even earned a widespread reputation. It remained completely illegal for all purposes until the early 21st century, when a court ruling led to Canada’s first medical marijuana laws. Still, cannabis users continue to attract negative attention, even as more Canadians support legalization

This stigma becomes especially problematic when it draws upon misinformation or outright fabrications. False information about marijuana doesn’t just hurt the people who use it recreationally. Medical patients who could benefit from cannabis treatment may not consider the drug due to its poor standing. As a result, they may continue to suffer needlessly from pain, appetite loss, nausea, and other conditions that marijuana can reduce. 

The best way to combat the most common misconceptions about weed is to disprove them. In that spirit, this article will outline just a few of the common myths about marijuana and show why they hold less water than a small bong.

1. Cannabis Is a Gateway Drug

The “gateway drug” myth is so prevalent that many people can’t divorce it from the substance itself. Its guiding principle is that marijuana causes users to develop a taste for its effects, which will ultimately lead them to abuse other, harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Like many marijuana misconceptions, this idea mistakes cause for correlation. It assumes that cannabis causes users to gravitate toward other drugs, when other factors may play a more substantial role in this shift. 

The myth doesn’t even hold up to scrutiny when other drugs are invoked. Alcohol and nicotine usually precede marijuana use, yet neither are criminalized, let alone labeled “gateway drugs.” Marijuana continues to bear the brunt of this falsehood, even though it’s demonstrably inaccurate. 

2. Marijuana Use Causes Violence

Marijuana and criminality have existed side by side in the popular consciousness since the 1930s. What can you expect when a drug is criminalized before the general public even knows it exists? Despite a lack of evidence, cannabis use has long been seen as a harbinger of violent crime. 

While assault and murder have surrounded the marijuana trade in the past, it’s largely due to its status as an illegal drug. A lack of regulation leaves traffickers with little recourse other than violence should something go wrong. There’s little evidence to show that the substance itself actually causes violent behaviour, and recent studies suggest that sites for marijuana trafficking, such as dispensaries, don’t suffer from higher crime rates.

3. Cannabis Is Highly Addictive

Cannabis addiction is a valid concern. Users can come to depend on the drug, especially if they come to abuse. Yet marijuana’s potential for addiction is miniscule compared to other narcotics. 

Nine percent of cannabis users become dependent on the drug, compared to 23 percent of those who try heroin and 17 percent of cocaine consumers. Even legal drugs are more addictive than cannabis. Fifteen percent of alcohol drinkers develop an addiction to it, while 32 percent of smokers suffer from nicotine dependency. These statistics don’t mean that marijuana addiction is insignificant, but they do show that it’s highly overestimated. 

4. Marijuana Severely Alters Your Brain

Common misconceptions about weed aren’t limited to discussions of public safety and addiction. You’re as likely to hear stories about the substance’s negative effects on the brain as you are to hear about its role in criminality. In reality, both are exaggerated. 

Studies do show that marijuana users’ brains differ from those of non-users. Yet the studies’ authors have never claimed that marijuana is the source of these changes. In fact, they’ve even spoken out against this assertion, showing that confusion between cause and correlation still rein when it comes to marijuana discussions. 

5. Cannabis Is Harmless

Most myths about marijuana inflate its negative effects at the expense of its benefits. Unfortunately, many cannabis advocates do the exact opposite, ignoring its harmful effects while singing its praises. This results in more common misconceptions about weed. 

Marijuana still causes addiction in some users, and smoking the drug does create carcinogens that can cause serious health problems. The stigma surrounding marijuana use is excessive, but that doesn’t mean the drug’s harmful aspects should be disregarded.

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

The Beginner’s Guide to Consuming Medical Cannabis

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March 15, 2017 9:00 AM

The-Beginners-Guide-to-Consuming-Medical-Cannabis.jpgMedical cannabis is an effective treatment for a wide variety of ailments and helps alleviate symptoms for patients across the globe. This beginner’sguide to consuming medical cannabis is meant to help new patients and their loved ones understand the many different ways medical marijuana can be administered and how to create a tailored treatment plan.

Start Low and Go Slow

If you are inexperienced in taking medical marijuana, the best rule of thumb is to start with a low dose and take it slow. The dosage needed will vary based on the type and severity of your condition, how much experience you have with consuming medical cannabis, and your method of delivery of the drug into your system. Consult with a healthcare professional to find out the minimum dosage you should be taking and make sure to research interactions with other drugs before starting treatment.

If smoking or using a vaporizer, wait for a few minutes between inhalations to gauge the strength of the strain. If consuming medical cannabis as an edible wait at least an hour to judge the full effects and wait at least four hours until taking a second dose.

Experiment with Strains and Methods

Finding the right medical marijuana strain for your needs can be difficult. You will likely need to experiment with different strains, to find the perfect treatment plan that works for you,fits your lifestyle, and most importantly, is optimal in relieving your symptoms. Finding the ideal delivery method for you can also be difficult.

Here are the main ways of consuming medical cannabis:

Smoking

Generally considered the most traditional way of consuming medical cannabis, this involves packing a small amount of dried cannabis into a pipe, water pipe (bong), or rolling paper, then burning it and inhaling the smoke.

PROS:This method produces instant relief and makes it easy to regulate the dosage; it is an inexpensive method and allows the user to transport the drug as a rolled joint wherever necessary.

CONS: Smoke may be harmful to your lungs and may not be the ideal option for patients with lung damage, asthma, or emphysema. This method also generates a lot of smoke that can make both you and your surroundings smell like marijuana.

Vaporizing

Dried cannabis is inserted into a preheated vaporizer and heated to a temperature hot enough to release its medicinal compounds.

PROS: It offers optimal use of your medical marijuana and will deliver instant relief with less harsh effects on your lungs when compared to smoking. There is very little smell and the amount of marijuana needed to produce the same effects as smoking is much less.

CONS: Good vaporizers can be very expensive and smaller handheld units need to be charged and take time to fully warm up when needed.

Edibles

Eating cannabis is an effective way to treat pain and can provide hours of relief. Today you can find all types of edible foods such as cookies, popcorn, lollipops, and chocolate bars all with precise dosage.

PROS: Long-lasting relief and a great alternative for patients who would rather not inhale marijuana smoke. Not only is it a delicious treat you can take anywhere, but dosages can be carefully administered.

CONS: The effects of edibles can take anywhere from half an hour to several hours to fully kick in and, if not made by a reputable manufacturer, dosages can be difficult to determine. It’s also important to take it slow if new to edibles as the effects can be radically different compared to smoking. Talk to your doctor to find your dosage before experimenting with edibles.

Other methods such as tinctures, patches, and topicals are also available, generally providing a low dose for patients who want to strictly control the dose and stay away from inhaling or ingesting medical cannabis.

 

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

Can Medical Marijuana Help with Depression?

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March 08, 2017 9:00 AM

Can-Medical-Marijuana-Help-with-Depression.jpgThere’s no easy fix when it comes to treating depression. You can’t solve the issue by simply taking two pills and calling your doctor in the morning. Instead, you’ll probably need to take some form of psychopharmaceutical medication and undergo some form of therapy. Since every case is rooted in different chemical imbalances and psychological processes, finding the right treatment option for your specific issue can require extensive time and effort. This can be demotivating, and it may fill you with further doubt or dread. 

As a result, many depression patients look elsewhere for relief. Some turn to marijuana to treat their conditions, claiming that it helps relieve negative symptoms. However, the internet contains numerous conflicting reports about cannabis’s efficacy in treating depression. Some argue that the drug is promising, while others believe that it can actually make psychological problems worse. 

So who’s right, and what do you need to know if you’re considering medical marijuana as a treatment option for your depressive mood disorder? This article will outline just a few facts that you should know before committing to the drug.

There’s Currently a Lack of Research on the Topic

While cannabis users may swear by the drug’s therapeutic properties, scientific research has yet to back up these claims. That’s due in part to a lack of research on the topic. As this Harvard Health Publications article notes, there are very few credible reports regarding marijuana’s general medical benefits, let alone specific studies on its use in treating depression. In the rare cases where medical marijuana is prescribed, it’s often used when other treatments won’t suffice. 

While anecdotal reports suggest that the substance may combat depressive disorders, it’s just as likely to worsen them. The Harvard article argues that while the drug has relieved mood disorder symptoms in animals, it may still have a negative effect on human patients. Ultimately, more conclusive research is needed before medical marijuana can represent an effective treatment option for depressive mood disorders.

The Chemical Components Are Promising (But Not Conclusive)

Cannabis may not have the medical establishment’s full approval yet, but some strains do have the potential to help patients. New strains include terpenes, which may have chemical and aroma-therapeutic benefits.

The linked article mentions how marijuana can have a negative effect on patients’ emotional capacities. However, it also offers some promise for patients whose negative thought patterns are based in low self-esteem or over-empathy. As with most of the other points on this list, this doesn’t seem promising for generalized treatment, but it still demonstrates that cannabis may be effective in some cases.

The Drug May Treat a Depressive Disorder If It’s a Symptom of Another Illness

Doctors have prescribed marijuana to treat terminal and debilitating illnesses for years. Patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and more have used the drug to reduce symptoms and side effects. This has allowed them to lead better, more fulfilling lives in spite of their illnesses.

While it’s rarely discussed, depressive mood disorders often go hand-in-hand with these disorders. That’s why Health Canada allows patients to use cannabis to reduce these symptoms. If you suffer from a similar chronic issue, you may be able to use marijuana to help brighten your mood.

The Bottom Line

Marijuana is not necessarily the most credible way to treat depressive mood disorders. It still suffers from stigma and a lack of authoritative research. However, in the specific cases listed above, cannabis may have a role to play in alleviating mental health issues. 

As always, it’s important to consult a doctor before making a definitive decision regarding medicinal cannabis.

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

Which Medical Cannabis Strains Are Right for Me?

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March 01, 2017 9:00 AM

Which-Medical-Cannabis-Strains-Are-Right-for-Me.jpgIt’s not always easy to find medicine that’s good for what ails you. Conventional medications may not work for conditions like chronic pain, epilepsy, or anxiety. For other disorders like cancer or HIV/AIDs, treatments themselves can create negative side effects that can make life almost unbearable for patients. That’s why medical marijuana has become so popular in recent years. The drug can alleviate negative symptoms and side effects and help users live more functional, productive lives. 

But getting the right medical cannabis strains isn’t as easy as it may seem. Each variety has different properties that significantly alter the drug’s effects. Choose the wrong strain and you may suffer from further discomfort. Patients need to know which strains will best suit their circumstances, which can involve a lot of trial and error. This can be frustrating for those who want immediate relief, but there are ways to learn without sampling too many different varieties. 

For instance, this article will outline just a few medical cannabis strains that are popular among patients. These results are categorized by disorder/symptom, so you can narrow down your search with ease.

Pain

Chronic pain doesn’t just leave patients in constant discomfort. It also robs them of their ability to perform everyday tasks. Medical marijuana can help them regain these capabilities, but the wrong strain can sap their energy and leave them feeling drowsy and lazy. 

That’s why it’s important to choose the right medical cannabis strains. Generally, sativa varieties will help patients feel energized and relatively focused, while indicas will relax them. 

Green Crack is a sativa that’s commonly used to treat pain. It leaves users feeling refreshed and focused while still reducing discomfort. Sour Diesel generally produces similar effects, while the Blue Dream hybrid offers a blend of relaxation and revitalization. Pain patients will have to adjust based on their unique tastes, but these varieties represent good starting points.

Nausea/Appetite

In isolated cases, nausea can be treated relatively easily. But it’s a different story when this condition develops due to chemotherapy or HIV/AIDS treatments. In these cases, the treatment is necessary, but the discomfort and loss of appetite it produces can further weaken patients. Fortunately, medical marijuana has shown promise in reducing these problems.

Many of the most common anti-nausea strains tend to contain relatively high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Patients must be careful, though; if they use too much, they may develop cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which will only make the nausea worse.

Popular beginner strains include Jillybean, a hybrid that creates a joyous feeling, and Durban Poison, an energizing sativa.

Epilepsy

Marijuana’s efficacy as an epilepsy treatment is still in question, but anecdotal reports are promising. Specifically, the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) have reduced seizures when the compound is isolated from the drug itself. This National Geographic feature even profiles a group of families that moved to Colorado so they could treat their children’s epilepsy. 

Adult epilepsy sufferers in Canada can generally find high-CBD, low-THC strains through their licensed producers. These varieties create a relaxed, stable mood for users without the psychoactive symptoms associated with most marijuana strains. Cannatonic is among the most popular of these strains, as it features up to 17 percent CBD content.

Anxiety/Depression

While cannabis is no substitute for therapy and/or prescription medication, it can play a role in treating mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. The relaxing effect of CBD-heavy strains can help calm anxiety sufferers, while sativas and hybrids like Pineapple Express, Jack Herer, and Girl Scout cookies can help ease depression patients’ minds.

 

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Topics: Marijuana Strains

Do You Suffer from a Condition Medical Marijuana Can Help?

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February 22, 2017 9:00 AM

Do-You-Suffer-from-a-Condition-Medical-Marijuana-Can-Help.jpgIt should come as no surprise that cannabis has medical applications. A few of the substance’s chemical components have been synthesized into medications that treat everything from loss of appetite to neuropathic pain and more. But medical marijuana itself has become more prevalent since the mid-1990s. California famously legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in 1996, and a court decision in 2000 paved the way for the Canadian Medical Marijuana Access Regulations the following year. 

While many states and countries have adopted some form of medical marijuana legislation, relatively few people consider it as a viable way to treat their symptoms. This may stem from stigma surrounding the drug or logistical concerns that arise from specific jurisdictions. 

Either way, more patients need to understand that cannabis may help combat symptoms associated with a variety of severe disorders. These are just a few of the illnesses medicinal cannabis can help treat.

Cancer

Chemotherapy is a notoriously difficult process for cancer patients. It often constitutes a necessary part of a patient’s treatment plan, but it can severely impair his or her living standards. Affected parties may suffer from fatigue, nausea, pain, insomnia, and more. 

Medical marijuana may help reduce this discomfort for certain patients. It can counteract all of the symptoms mentioned above and help patients achieve a feeling of normalcy again. While reports that marijuana can treat or cure cancer are often exaggerated, the drug still represents a promising way to take the edge off certain symptoms.

HIV/AIDS

Chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS treatments share many of the same side effects. They can both produce nausea, pain, headaches, fatigue, and other problems in patients, all of which can make life extremely unpleasant. As with cancer treatments, medical marijuana represents a viable solution for these problems. Patients can take a range of different medicinal cannabis strains to achieve a greater degree of relief from these side effects.

Multiple Sclerosis

As with HIV/AIDS, there’s currently no known cure for multiple sclerosis. The disorder affects patients’ brains and spinal cords, which ultimately results in neurological problems, muscle weakness, and more. It can be treated, but available medications may not eliminate all of the side effects associated with the condition. 

Again, medical marijuana can’t treat multiple sclerosis itself, but it can reduce symptoms to the point where everyday life becomes more manageable for patients. Those who use medicinal cannabis for this purpose often gain greater control over their bladders, mobility, vision, and more.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy can severely disrupt sufferers’ lives. Inopportune seizures impede patients’ quality of life, and conventional treatments can’t always prevent them. Fortunately, medicinal cannabis can offer relief.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that isolated cannabidiol (CBD) can severely reduce the number of seizures a patient experiences. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has also been known to prevent convulsions, so marijuana may prove to be greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to epilepsy treatment.

Chronic Pain

From damaged nervous systems to constant headaches, medical cannabis can relieve a wide range of chronic pain. THC is often considered to be an effective anti-inflammatory, but it can also distract patients from the constant discomfort these conditions can bring. As a result, it may represent an effective alternative to opioids and other dangerously addictive prescription medications.

Anxiety/Depression

The links between mental health and cannabis use can be difficult to accurately portray. However, certain strains of medicinal cannabis can reduce patients’ depression or anxiety. That’s because CBD produces relaxing effects that can help mitigate the mental discomfort that these patients face. While this treatment option doesn’t work for everyone, it may give some users temporary relief.

 

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Topics: medical conditions

5 Medical Cannabis Strains for Anxiety

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February 15, 2017 9:00 AM

5-Medical-Cannabis-Strains-for-Anxiety.jpgAnxiety can make every day feel unbearable. Whether it’s a side effect of another medical issue or a mental illness all its own, it can have a severe impact on your ability to lead a normal life. Common interactions can take on an unhealthy significance, you may live in fear constantly and your body could maintain a tension that you just can’t relieve. 

Thankfully, there are options for sufferers. Medication and counselling are two of the most common routes to mental health. If these avenues don’t work, medical cannabis strains with low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high percentages of cannabidiol (CBD) have proven effective at combatting this issue. The chemical make-up of these varieties help patients relax, which eases the physical and mental discomfort associated with anxiety. 

Before patients can take advantage of this medicine, though, they need to know which strains will help them. A poor decision could leave a user feeling even more panicked before. The following are just five of the many anxiety-relieving strains available through major Canadian licensed producers.

1. Bedrocan Bedrolite

Medical cannabis strains’ effects vary depending on their type. Sativas tend to create a more energized, thoughtful effect, while indica users usually feel sleepy or relaxed. Bedrolite falls into the former category, but it won’t necessarily result in the racing thoughts associated with anxiety. Its THC content falls below one percent, while its CBD levels rise above nine percent. Since THC represents the psychoactive component of marijuana, it won’t necessarily result in the impairment for which other strains are known. Instead, users may find that this strain relieves their anxiety and helps them relax.

2. CanniMed 1.13

CanniMed Ltd. caters to those who suffer from long-lasting or even terminal illnesses. Their 1.13 strain has been used to treat everything from neurological issues to anxiety and depression. This variety only contains about one percent THC, so it’s unlikely to generate panic or excessive worries in users. 

If anything, its 13 percent CBD content should help calm patients down without making them feel too drowsy or lethargic. Members of the medical marijuana website CanvasRx report that medical cannabis strains like 1.13 made them feel both relaxed and focused, so users should be able to carry out their daily tasks without too many impediments.

3. Peace Naturals Nina

Unlike the previous entries on this list, Peace Naturals’ Nina represents an even split between THC and CBD. It contains between six and nine percent of the former, as well as five to ten percent of the latter. The strain is a sativa-indica hybrid, with the sativa maintaining a slight dominance. If you’re already acquainted with medicinal marijuana’s effects and don’t mind the extra THC, Nina might be the strain for you.

4. Mettrium Green No. 1 & 2

Mettrum offers two different Green strains that can help with anxiety. No. 1 has roots in Afghanistan, Mexico and Columbia. It contains about five percent THC and 10 percent CBD. Green No. 2 is even stronger and more concentrated than its variant. Its THC level reaches six percent, while its CBD content tops out at about 12. Like Nina, these strains represent a viable option for those who are already familiar with marijuana’s effects.

5. Tweed Argyle

Unlike the other strains on this list, Tweed’s Argyle is predominantly an indica strain. It contains over six percent THC and nearly nine percent CBD, so it’s a more balanced option. Again, this isn’t necessarily ideal for beginners, but experienced patients may not mind the THC content.

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Topics: Marijuana Strains

What Are the Best Medicinal Marijuana Strains for Anxiety?

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February 08, 2017 9:00 AM

What-Are-the-Best-Medicinal-Marijuana-Strains-for-Anxiety.jpgMental restfulness is important to your quality of life. You need to rest once in a while if you want to function at your best. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done for anxiety sufferers. This disorder can severely impair your mental and even physical health. Uncontrollable worry can wear down your energy and your ability to concentrate, which may affect aspects of your personal and professional life. 

According to Statistics Canada, about five percent of Canadians will experience general anxiety disorder over the course of their lives. The problem can be caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. Treatment options vary from person to person, but most physicians recommend some form of medication and/or counselling. 

Thankfully, you may be able to seek other options. Over 38 percent of medical marijuana users in California take the drug to relieve anxiety. While reports are mixed about cannabis’s medical effects on mental health, anecdotal evidence suggests it may work in some cases. If you suffer from anxiety and want to try a new treatment option, this drug might be the answer you’re looking for. Here are a few medicinal marijuana strains to help get you started.

Cannatonic

Cannabis is an acquired taste. Most long-time users gain a sense of relaxation from consuming medicinal marijuana, which contributes to the drug’s reputation. However, new users may find that cannabis actually makes them feel more anxious. This is likely due to the high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in many strains. 

If you don’t have much experience with marijuana, Cannatonic may be an ideal starting point. The cultivators of this strain emphasize cannabidiol (CBD), the relaxing component of marijuana, over THC. This may give anxiety sufferers the calm, cool and collected feeling they seek.

Purple Kush

Indicas may be your safest bet if you’re an anxiety sufferer who uses marijuana regularly and doesn’t mind the effects of THC. These strains often put patients into a restful, euphoric state, which may sound ideal for those who suffer from excessive worry. 

Purple Kush is a common variety that can help wear away patients’ stress and put them to sleep. While a few users report experiencing headaches, most just experience a dry mouth and eyes.

Purple Urkle

If you seek the effects of purple Kush but want to feel slightly more inspired, there’s purple Urkle. This indica kicks in quickly, and is often used to wear away both worry and pain.

Sour Diesel

Anxiety patients are used to living inside their own heads, which is why many tend to avoid the energizing effects of sativas. However, Sour Diesel is the exception to the rule. It relaxes patients while maintaining their energy. Most indica users find it difficult to be active after consuming these medicinal marijuana strains, but you won’t have that problem if you take Sour Diesel.

Girl Scout Cookies

Life is rarely black or white, and so is medical marijuana. Cultivators often fuse indica and sativa strains to get the best of both worlds. For anxiety patients, this manifests in Girl Scout Cookies. This hybrid allows you to relax while without tiring you out. It’s an excellent all-around option for those who want to maintain some level of activity in their day.

Granddaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple actually descends from the Purple Urkel phenotype, and its effects resemble the hybrid medicinal marijuana strains discussed earlier. It treats a wide variety of physical symptoms like appetite loss and muscle spasms, but it’s also an excellent stress reliever.

Lemon Haze

This citrusy sativa will help animate your day while soothing your worries. Most patients use Lemon Haze to reduce stress and depression, both of which are commonly linked to anxiety. Like any of the strains on this list, the results will vary depending on the individual user, but with a doctor’s permission, you may be able to improve you condition in ways you never thought possible.

 

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Topics: Marijuana Strains

3 Symptoms You Can Alleviate by Consuming Medical Marijuana

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February 01, 2017 9:00 AM

3-Symptoms-You-Can-Alleviate-by-Consuming-Medical-Marijuana.jpgMedical marijuana generally allows users to cope with extreme health complications. The drug can alleviate the nasty affects associated with disorders such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and more. In other cases, it can help relieve the drastic side effects of treatments for illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. While cannabis usually treats the symptoms and not the root cause of a disorder, they still bring relative comfort to patients’ lives. 

Unfortunately, many Canadians still don’t realize that marijuana is a viable option for managing their symptoms. Cannabis users still face negative stereotypes, even if they use the drug medicinally. Currently, marijuana lacks a drug information number (DIN) from Health Canada, which could cause many companies to refuse claims for it. This would make the drug inaccessible to those who couldn’t afford to pay for the drug out of pocket. 

Education is the only way to find out if consuming medical marijuanawill work for a given patient. Cannabis may offer some relief to those who sufferfrom any of the following symptoms:

1. Nausea and Vomiting

It’s hard to lead a normal life when you’re constantly nauseous. Feeling sick to your stomach decreases your ability to function properly, while the constant threat of vomiting can further restrict your lifestyle. This plight is familiar to many patients who suffer from cancer or HIV/AIDS. Their medicine is essential to treating their illnesses, but it can also take a toll on their immediate well-being. 

That’s why cannabis is such a blessing for the patients who use it. Consuming medical marijuana has shown promising results in alleviating harsh side effects associated with these treatments. In many cases, doctors must prescribe a cocktail of drugs that can cause gastrointestinal problems and pain. Cannabis treats chemotherapy’s side effects without creating these problems. While some users may experience headaches when they use medical marijuana, it may prove less obtrusive than other drugs.

2. Pain from Neuropathic Disorders, Cancer and HIV/AIDS Treatment

Treating neuropathic pain is tricky for many physicians. On the one hand, patients may suffer from chronic problems that restrict their ability to lead normal lives. However, treating this pain may require the use of opioids, which are very addictive and present a high risk of overdose. Over 285,000 people in Ontario have taken opioids between 1997 and 2010, and federal Health Minister Jane Philpott even called the problem a “national public health crisis,” according to the CBC.

Medical marijuana may be the solution to this complex problem. It has proven useful in alleviating pain for cancer and HIV/AIDS sufferers, as well as those suffering from neuropathic problems. However, doctors aren’t eager to prescribe the drug because they lack specific directions from Health Canada. As a result, consuming medical marijuana to control these types of pain remains a fantasy for many patients.

3. Insomnia

Like many of the conditions on this list, patients offer suffer insomnia as a result of other illnesses and side effects. Chronic pain, HIV/AIDS and cancer treatments can all contribute to many sleepless nights. This can take a serious role on sufferers’ health, as they need sleep to help recover. Unfortunately, the multitude of drugs prescribed to deal with this condition can often create further complications. 

Medical marijuana isn’t widely prescribed, but it has shown promise in helping patients wind down for the evening. Some even claim that it can help reduce anxiety and therefore lead to a better night’s sleep, though there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Until further studies become available, these results will remain murky.

 

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

3 Pain Conditions Medicinal Marijuana Can Treat

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January 25, 2017 9:00 AM

3 Pain Conditions Medicinal Marijuana Can Treat.jpgLiving in pain can severely compromise one’s life. It makes everyday tasks feel monumental and prevents sufferers from enjoying simple pleasures. Lynn Cooper, the president of the Canadian Pain Coalition, notes that chronic pain patients maintain worse quality of life compared to those who suffer from lung and heart disease. This can have a devastating effect on patients, and suicide rates are twice as high among chronic pain sufferers than they are among the general public. 

Statistics Canada reports that chronic pain affects 16 percent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 64, yet many still fail to receive the treatment they need. This doesn’t just cost patients, but also businesses and taxpayers. The federal government loses up to $60 billion in medical costs and reduced productivity due to pain-related causes.

So how can patients reduce their pain and live fuller, happier lives? There are many treatments available, but if these options prove ineffective, medicinal marijuana represents a viable alternative. For over 15 years, eligible patients have used cannabis to regulate pain and discomfort stemming from a variety of sources. Today, marijuana is available in many different forms, which allows patients to choose strains and intake methods that best suit their lifestyles.

The following are just a few of the conditions that medicinal marijuana can treat. In the right doses, this treatment can make pain patients healthier and happier.

1. Cannabis Can Alleviate Pain Caused by Cancer or HIV/AIDS Treatments

Cancer and HIV/AIDS patients have played a significant role in shaping Canadian cannabis policy. The first medicinal marijuana regulations explicitly approved the drug to treat pain associated with these disorders, as well as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and others. It’s important to note that cannabis doesn’t cure these conditions, but rather manages pain associated with them.

Current research indicates that cannabinoids have promising, pain-reducing effects for certain patients. Cannabidiol and delta-9-THC are already used in an oral spray known as Sativex, which has played a crucial role as a non-opioid means of relieving severe cancer pain. Still, cannabis’s analgesic properties differ from person to person, so effects may vary for individual patients. HIV/AIDS patients have also used marijuana to treat pain, nausea and reduced appetite. While the extent of these effects may be in dispute, anecdotal reports suggest that cannabis may play a role as a supplementary drug to improve patients’ quality of life during treatment.

2. Marijuana Has an Effect on Chronic Pain

Marijuana doesn’t just play a promising role as a supplement to cancer and nausea treatments. Studies have also found that it can have positive effects for chronic pain patients who have used the drug before. Test subjects who took daily doses of medical cannabis reportedly suffered “no ill-effects on their kidney, liver or hormonal function,” and the treatment worked in environments where “conventional pain therapies had not been effective.” This may come as good news for those who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other debilitating disorders.

3. Cannabis Can Reduce Pain from Damaged Nervous Systems

Patients who suffer from pain in their central nervous system can often find it difficult to maintain productive lives. Cannabis has shown encouraging results in treating this pain, as well as other side effects such as sleep, anxiety and more. They also represent a viable, less addictive alternative to opioids, as some Canadian researchers have noted

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

Marijuana 101: Understanding the Parts of the Cannabis Plant

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January 18, 2017 9:00 AM

Marijuana-101-Understanding-the-Parts-of-the-Cannabis-Plant.jpgCannabis is more than the sum of its parts. When you consume marijuana, you absorb a variety of chemicals that have physical and psychoactive effects when consumed in tandem. Adding or removing these substances from the plant would cause drastically different results, lowering the efficacy of the plant. Therefore, if medical marijuana patients want to get the most out of the drug, they must know the chemical make-up of the specific strain they plan to take. 

Sometimes, this is easier said than done. The drug is often characterized under broad classes such as sativa, indica or hybrid. This describes the strain’s general phenotypes and effects, but it also obscures the true effects of that specific variety. Resources such as Leafly sometimes offer chemical breakdowns of specific strains, but these are broad estimates. Substance levels can vary, and the same strain from two different producers can contain different amounts of THC, CBD, and other components. 

This article will briefly introduce some of the prominent chemicals found in marijuana, as well as the way they interact with the human body. With this knowledge, medical cannabis patients should be able to find strains that best suit their treatment and recovery plans.

Cannabinoids

Many of the components found in marijuana are known as cannabinoids. They interact with neurological receptors in the human body in the same way that some naturally occurring chemicals do. In some cases, the body even produces its own set of endocannabinoids, suggesting that cannabis can have a significant role to play in regulating normal bodily functions. Cannabinoids can affect everything from one’s immune system to one’s ability to remember details in the short and long term. As more research is done, cannabinoids’ full effects will become more apparent.

Tetrahydrocannabinol

When people say that they’re feeling “stoned” due to marijuana consumption, they often have tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to thank. THC is the component that produces psychoactive effects that range from racing thoughts to paranoia. While these psychological effects may seem to show that the drug has little benefit outside of recreational use, there’s actually more to THC than meets the eye. 

That’s because recent anecdotal evidence has suggested that the substance could potentially be effective in several medical applications. Researchers believe that it could help relieve pain in many patients. In a time when prescription opioids are creating a drug abuse epidemic, THC-based treatment options could offer a healthier alternative. Furthermore, while joking about the munchies is one of the oldest marijuana clichés in the book, doctors may be able to put that effect to good use. Patients suffering from cancer or HIV/AIDS can use THC to boost their appetites and eliminate any uncomfortable nausea that their treatments provoke. With so many potential benefits to offer, THC research represents a promising solution to many complex medical problems.

Cannabidiol

Though many people associate marijuana exclusively with its psychological effects, it’s important to remember that it contains substances that can still produce medical benefits without any impairment. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one such component. It doesn’t contribute to the “high” that patients get when they consume marijuana, but it does have a relaxing effect. Although CBD and THC produce very different feelings, they share a promising reputation for medical researchers. 

Patients suffering from disorders such as multiple sclerosis or PTSD may find some relief at the hands of CBD. Anecdotal reports suggest that it is also extremely efficient at reducing daily seizures in those with epilepsy. While further concrete research is needed to substantiate these claims, the potential marijuana offers is still astounding. 

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Topics: Medical Marijuana

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