What You Should Know

Pal•li•ate:

/ˈpalē

/ˈpalēˌāt/ verb

verb

to reduce the violence of a disease; also to ease symptoms without curing the underlying disease; adjective, palliative.

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Cannabis As Medicine

Medical science and history show that Cannabis is an effective palliative, a class of medicines that ease human suffering. Natural and gentle, Cannabis is used to treat symptoms of many diseases and conditions, and some of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

Cannabis As Medicine

Medical science and history show that Cannabis is an effective palliative, a class of medicines that ease human suffering. Natural and gentle, Cannabis is used to treat symptoms of many diseases and conditions, and some of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

Why is medical cannabis still important if cannabis is available recreationally?

How is medical cannabis different from recreational cannabis?

Is medical cannabis covered through my insurance?

History of Cannabis

Cannabis which refers to and is derived from the flowering cannabis plant (Cannabaceae) is also commonly referred to as marijuana.

It grows wild in many of the tropical and temperate areas of the world and according to the National Institutes of Health, people have used marijuana, or cannabis, to treat their ailments for at least 3,000 years.

Lineage of the cannabis plant can be separated into three groups (Strains), Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids.

Indica effects are often described as a calming, sedative feeling on the body, while Sativas provide an energizing, uplifting feeling of the mind. Hybrids are created by crossbreeding both Indicas and Sativas.

History of Cannabis

Cannabis which refers to and is derived from the flowering cannabis plant (Cannabaceae) is also commonly referred to as marijuana.

It grows wild in many of the tropical and temperate areas of the world and according to the National Institutes of Health, people have used marijuana, or cannabis, to treat their ailments for at least 3,000 years.

Lineage of the cannabis plant can be separated into three groups (Strains), Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids.

Indica effects are often described as a calming, sedative feeling on the body, while Sativas provide an energizing, uplifting feeling of the mind. Hybrids are created by crossbreeding both Indicas and Sativas.

Cannabis Leaves
Cannabis Leaves
What Is Cannabis?

The main active ingredients in cannabis are referred to as plant derived cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) and are called tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, commonly known as THC and CBD respectively. They are the most well-known and studied cannabinoids, but there are over 100 different cannabinoid compounds within the cannabis plant. Each compound offers its own array of medicinal applications.

What Is Cannabis?

The main active ingredients in cannabis are referred to as plant derived cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) and are called tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, commonly known as THC and CBD respectively. They are the most well-known and studied cannabinoids, but there are over 100 different cannabinoid compounds within the cannabis plant. Each compound offers its own array of medicinal applications.

Likewise, in the human body, there are already existing endogenous (meaning produced or originating within) cannabinoids as well. These are often called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids produced artificially in the laboratory or pharmaceutically are called synthetic derived cannabinoids such as dronabinol and nabilone. Cannabinoids in general all vary in their chemical structure and effect on the human body.

THC and CBD have both been found to act on specific receptors (CB1 & CB2) within the human body, mitigating and altering neurotransmitter release. With extensive medical potential, cannabinoids like THC and CBD, the key chemical components in cannabis, are extremely effective in treating many medical conditions and provide a wide range of symptom relief.

CBD is non-impairing, and produces anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, and pain relieving effects.

THC is impairing, while improving appetite, boosting mood, and relieving pain, it also works as a sleep aid.

Molecular Structure

Likewise, in the human body, there are already existing endogenous (meaning produced or originating within) cannabinoids as well. These are often called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids produced artificially in the laboratory or pharmaceutically are called synthetic derived cannabinoids such as dronabinol and nabilone. Cannabinoids in general all vary in their chemical structure and effect on the human body.

THC and CBD have both been found to act on specific receptors (CB1 & CB2) within the human body, mitigating and altering neurotransmitter release. With extensive medical potential, cannabinoids like THC and CBD, the key chemical components in cannabis, are extremely effective in treating many medical conditions and provide a wide range of symptom relief.

CBD is non-impairing, and produces anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, and pain relieving effects.

THC is impairing, while improving appetite, boosting mood, and relieving pain, it also works as a sleep aid.

The Endocannabinoid System

Humans naturally produce cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids) that interact with cell receptors throughout the body. Endocannabinoids are like a key, receptors are like a lock, and they fit together to produce effects in the body. This endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in many physiological functions, including inflammation, sleep, pain, memory, digestion, immune function, neuroprotection, and more.

The phytocannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) that are produced by the cannabis plant also interact with the receptors of your ECS. This could partly explain why cannabis seems to have an effect on such a wide variety of symptoms and conditions.

The two types of cannabinoid receptors found within the ECS are called CB1 and CB2. Both are found throughout the body but most are common in the brain and the immune system. When cannabinoids such as THC and CBD activate these receptors, they change the way our body functions. CB1 receptors are responsible for psychoactive effects. They are present in many areas of the brain and play a role in memory, mood, sleep, appetite, and pain sensation.

CB2 receptors are responsible for anti-inflammatory effects. They are found in immune cells and work to reduce inflammation.

What Are Terpenes

10 Most Common Terpenes

Beta-Caryophyllene Aroma: Peppery

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Neuroprotective, Alleviates stress & anxiety, Improves Gut function

Also found in: Basil, Clove, Oregano

Limonene Aroma: Citrus

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Elevates mood, Antibacterial, Immunostimulant, Relieves stress

Also found in: Citrus, Caraway

Borneol Aroma: Minty, camphor-like

Benefits: Uplifting, Calming, Anti-Inflammatory

Also found in: Ginger, Thyme, Sage

Linalool Aroma: Floral

Benefits: Relaxant, Sedative, Anti-Inflammatory

Also found in: Lavender, Sweet basil

Delta-3-Carene Aroma: Sweet, earthy

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory

Also found in: Cedar, Bell pepper, Rosemary

Myrcene Aroma: Peppery

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Sedative, Antispasmodic

Also found in: Lemongrass, Mango, Chamomile

Eucalyptol Aroma: Minty with hints of spice

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Muscle and joint Analgesic

Also found in: Tea tree, Rosemary, Sage

Pinene Aroma: Pine

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Anti-Proliferactive, Antioxidant

Also found in: Pine trees, Rosemary, Juniper

Humulene Aroma: Earthy, woody

Benefits: Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Appetite suppressant

Also found in: Hops, Cloves

Terpineol Aroma: Sweet pine

Benefits: Sedative, Antiseptic, Immunostimulant, Uplifting

Also found in: Pine, Petigrain

What Are Terpenes

  • Terpenes are hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants.
  • Terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste associated with each strain of cannabis.
  • There are approximately 120 different terpenes found in cannabis.
  • Each terpene has a different effect on the body.
  • Terpenes enhance the effects of cannabis in what is called “the entourage effect”.

10 Most Common Terpenes

Beta-Caryophyllene Aroma: Peppery

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Neuroprotective, Alleviates stress & anxiety, Improves Gut function

Also found in: Basil, Clove, Oregano

Limonene Aroma: Citrus

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Elevates mood, Antibacterial, Immunostimulant, Relieves stress

Also found in: Citrus, Caraway

Borneol Aroma: Minty, camphor-like

Benefits: Uplifting, Calming, Anti-Inflammatory

Also found in: Ginger, Thyme, Sage

Linalool Aroma: Floral

Benefits: Relaxant, Sedative, Anti-Inflammatory

Also found in: Lavender, Sweet basil

Delta-3-Carene Aroma: Sweet, earthy

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory

Also found in: Cedar, Bell pepper, Rosemary

Myrcene Aroma: Peppery

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Sedative, Antispasmodic

Also found in: Lemongrass, Mango, Chamomile

Eucalyptol Aroma: Minty with hints of spice

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Muscle and joint Analgesic

Also found in: Tea tree, Rosemary, Sage

Pinene Aroma: Pine

Benefits: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Anti-Proliferactive, Antioxidant

Also found in: Pine trees, Rosemary, Juniper

Humulene Aroma: Earthy, woody

Benefits: Antibacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Appetite suppressant

Also found in: Hops, Cloves

Terpineol Aroma: Sweet pine

Benefits: Sedative, Antiseptic, Immunostimulant, Uplifting

Also found in: Pine, Petigrain

How Can Medical
Cannabis Be Used?

The two primary methods of use are by inhalation and ingestion. If choosing the inhalation route, vaporization over smoking is preferred to get the most medicinal benefit and to minimize potential side effects. Onset of medicinal action by inhalation can occur in as little as 1-3 minutes, followed by 1-3 hours of relief.

Medical cannabis can also be administered through a variety of oral methods for ingestion such as capsules, oil drops, sprays and tinctures. When ingesting cannabis, expect up to a 2 hour onset, followed by 4 to 8 hours of relief. It is always best that in any route of use to start low and go slow.

How Can Medical
Cannabis Be Used?

The two primary methods of use are by inhalation and ingestion. If choosing the inhalation route, vaporization over smoking is preferred to get the most medicinal benefit and to minimize potential side effects. Onset of medicinal action by inhalation can occur in as little as 1-3 minutes, followed by 1-3 hours of relief.

Medical cannabis can also be administered through a variety of oral methods for ingestion such as capsules, oil drops, sprays and tinctures. When ingesting cannabis, expect up to a 2 hour onset, followed by 4 to 8 hours of relief. It is always best that in any route of use to start low and go slow.

2 Primary Methods Of Use

1

Inhalation

Onset: 1-3 min
Duration: 1-3 hrs

(Vaporizing)

2

Ingestion

Onset: 30 min - 2 hrs
Duration: 4-8 hrs

(Capsules, Oils)

2 Primary Methods Of Use

1

Inhalation

Onset: 1-3 min
Duration: 1-3 hrs

(Vaporizing)

2

Ingestion

Onset: 30 min - 2 hrs
Duration: 4-8 hrs

(Capsules, Oils)

How Do I Use Medical Cannabis?

Typically, dried cannabis is consumed orally or inhaled. Health Canada recommends vaporizing over smoking. Below are the three most common methods of consumption.

1

Smoking

Smoking refers to the burning of dried cannabis in the form of filtered and/or unfiltered joints, bongs, or pipes. This method has come under scientific scrutiny due to the harmful effects of smoking but is often preferred by patients because of the speed at which the effects are felt. A recommended alternative to patients who choose to smoke is to use a vaporizer; this way patients reduce the harmful effects of smoking while maintaining the medicinal benefits.

1. Smoking

Smoking refers to the burning of dried cannabis in the form of filtered and/or unfiltered joints, bongs, or pipes. This method has come under scientific scrutiny due to the harmful effects of smoking but is often preferred by patients because of the speed at which the effects are felt.


A recommended alternative to patients who choose to smoke is to use a vaporizer; this way patients reduce the harmful effects of smoking while maintaining the medicinal benefits.

2

Vaporization

Vaporization is the process of inhaling medical cannabis by heating a small amount to a temperature below its combustion point. This method releases cannabinoids in a vapor form without producing irritating toxic and carcinogenic by-products that are released when cannabis is burned (smoked).

Vaporization is arguably one of the most effective and safest methods for administering medical cannabis. Little to no smoke is produced and a cooler temperature vapor can be inhaled, thereby reducing the irritating and harmful effects of smoking and eliminating second-hand smoke and odour. Moreover, less material is typically required to achieve a given level of medicinal effects compared to other common methods.

The devices needed for vaporization are available in a wide range of products from small electronic devices, ideal for discretion and portability, to larger more expensive stationary devices kept in the home.

2. Vaporization

Vaporization is the process of inhaling medical cannabis by heating a small amount to a temperature below its combustion point. This method releases cannabinoids in a vapor form without producing irritating toxic and carcinogenic by-products that are released when cannabis is burned (smoked).

Vaporization is arguably one of the most effective and safest methods for administering medical cannabis. Little to no smoke is produced and a cooler temperature vapor can be inhaled, thereby reducing the irritating and harmful effects of smoking and eliminating second-hand smoke and odour. Moreover, less material is typically required to achieve a given level of medicinal effects compared to other common methods.

The devices needed for vaporization are available in a wide range of products from small electronic devices, ideal for discretion and portability, to larger more expensive stationary devices kept in the home.

3

Oral Ingestion

Orally ingesting medical cannabis is most commonly associated with cooking cannabis to make edibles such as baked goods and desserts, although it can be mixed with healthy meal options as well. Oral ingestion of cannabis through edibles is not recommended given its variability in cannabinoid concentration in these products. Cannabis consumed orally through oils, capsules and milled product are recommended given its ease for dose titration and monitoring. Orally ingesting cannabis can take up to an hour to take effect, so it is recommended to start low, go slow.

3. Oral Ingestion

Orally ingesting medical cannabis is most commonly associated with cooking cannabis to make edibles such as baked goods and desserts, although it can be mixed with healthy meal options as well. Oral ingestion of cannabis through edibles is not recommended given its variability in cannabinoid concentration in these products. Cannabis consumed orally through oils, capsules and milled product are recommended given its ease for dose titration and monitoring. Orally ingesting cannabis can take up to an hour to take effect, so it is recommended to start low, go slow.

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