For centuries people have been using cannabis as medicine. Recent studies have shown that it has an even greater potential in treating more medical conditions than we initially thought possible. So whether you are a student looking for information on cannabis research or someone curious about how cannabis can be used to treat their condition, read on–this guide is for you. We will cover everything you need to know about using cannabis as medicine, including the legality of cannabis, how to purchase cannabis for medicinal purposes, and the benefits and differences in each strain.

The Beginning of the Legal Medical Cannabis Journey

The history of medical cannabis dates back as early as 2737 B.C. when it was cited as medicine in the world’s first book on pharmacopeia. Shen Nung, a mythical emperor and famous Chinese herbalist cited the benefits of cannabis in his book “Pen Ts’ao Ching – The Classic of Herbal Medicine”.

However, as time went on and politics came into play, cannabis became outlawed around the world–despite its medicinal benefits. In the U.S., prohibition lasted over 80 years throughout the 1900’s which led to mass incarcerations targeted towards the Black and Mexican communities. In 1996 California passed Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, a law that allowed patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation or a designated Primary Caregiver to purchase, possess, and grow marijuana for medical use. Once the California state government passed the first medical marijuana legislation with Proposition 215. It started a snowball effect that has led to similar measures being approved in over 36 other states across the nation.

How to Purchase Medical Marijuana

Once you have established that your condition or illness qualifies you to join your state’s medical marijuana program, the next step is to locate a doctor or clinic that can give you a recommendation. Each state has its own unique medical marijuana card or certification, so be sure to research your state’s requirements. Many states, including California, require that you have your medical marijuana recommendation renewed on a yearly or bi-annual basis. Additionally, most dispensaries will need you to bring in your valid recommendation every time you visit.

What is the Difference Between Cannabis Strains?

While some claim that indica-dominant strains offer a more body-weighted effect and Sativa-dominant strains provide more of an invigorating cerebral experience, this is not always the case. It’s actually the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes that are responsible for how a strain makes you feel.

How did indica-dominant strains acquire the stigma of causing users to feel “couch-locked”? The most probable reason is that, in general, indica-dominant strains have greater amounts of terpenes like myrcene or linalool. Whereas Sativa-dominant strains get the reputation for being invigorating thanks to high amounts of terpenes like alpha-pinene, limonene, and beta-caryophyllene.

Indica-Dominant Effects

The strong body high we all know and love is produced by the indica strain. For some, indica’s tend to provide “couch lock,” or a degree of drowsiness. Indicas are also well-known for causing hunger and reducing bodily discomfort and pains. Many people like to smoke indica-dominant strains before going to sleep to help relax and fall asleep quicker.

Sativa-Dominant Effects

Sativa’s, on the other hand, are popular for producing a “head high.” They are designed to help boost your mood, focus on tasks, and spark creativity. Sativas are most well-known for delivering an overall sense of well-being and happiness.

Hybrid Effects

Hybrids are strains that combine indica and sativa genetics, producing a combination of effects. Consumers generally consider hybrids pleasurable as they may either energize or calm you down, depending on the strain’s family history. Connoisseurs choose hybrids for their various therapeutic effects, ranging from lowering anxiety and stress to treating chemotherapy or radiation-induced problems.

What is THC?

delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the most common therapeutic compounds found in the cannabis Sativa plant. THC has become the most popular for its intoxicating, psychoactive effects.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating, highly therapeutic compound found in the cannabis Sativa plant.

The key difference between THC and CBD is that CBD will not make you feel high. In fact, some studies have shown CBD can actually help mitigate negative side effects like anxiety, hunger, and sedation if you miscalculate your dose and consume too much THC. Since these two cannabinoids have an almost identical chemical makeup they tend to work together to compound their benefits.

A cannabis sativa plant can be classified according to its CBD and THC production potentials:

  • Type I cannabis sativa contains more than 0.3% THC and less than 0.5% CBD.
  • Type II cannabis sativa contains more than 0.3% THC and 0.5% CBD.
  • Type III cannabis sativa contains less than 0.3% THC and more than 0.5% CBD.

Type I and type II cannabis sativa are considered marijuana while type III is classified as hemp.

CBD can be derived from any type of cannabis sativa plant, but it’s legal throughout the U.S. only when it comes from hemp specifically

The Medical Benefits of Cannabis

It’s important to note that medical research on cannabis is very limited as the plant is still considered a Schedule 1 drug. Therefore, budtenders are not legally allowed to provide you with medical advice, but rather recommendations for products that could potentially help with things like:

  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Pain and inflammation
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Opioid withdrawal
  • Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Minimizing side effects from cancer treatments

With so much to learn about cannabis, it can be hard to know where to start. We hope this guide helped give some insight into using cannabis as medicine. Be sure to check out our other articles to learn more or click here to enroll in our free demo: Effectively Communicating as a Dispensary Tech

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