Medical Cannabis FAQs
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Click On A Question or Scroll Down For All Answers
The words cannabis and marijuana are used interchangeably. Cannabis, named after the plant genus, is the internationally recognized term so experts prefer to call it medical cannabis. You will notice the term marijuana often used in the recreational or illicit context. Medical cannabis has become a socially acceptable option in many states as thousands of patients are experiencing dramatic health improvements with cannabinoid therapeutics.
When you purchase medical cannabis at a dispensary you can be certain that all of the products were lab tested for pesticides and other toxins. At the dispensary, you will have a variety of options. Most cannabis sold on the street is in the form of dried flower buds. At the dispensary, you can purchase cannabis in many forms including dry flower, oils, tinctures, capsules, and topical preparations.
Yes, you will have many options at the dispensary. In Maryland, dispensaries will sell products that are consumed by inhalation, vaporization, sublingual and topical absorption.
No, patients can purchase products that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and very low in delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD products are non-psychotropic and offer an abundance of medical benefits. Please see below for more details on THC and CBD.
To fully understand the science of cannabis, one needs to look at the discoveries of Dr. Mechoulam and his team of researchers during the 1960s in Israel. Dr. Mechoulam was the first scientist to isolate and synthesize THC. THC is a chemical compound or cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. His team of Israeli scientists also discovered that THC binds to receptors in the brain which explains some of the medicinal effects of cannabis. Prior to this discovery, the reasons for the psychoactive and euphoric effects of cannabis were unknown. Thus, the discovery of THC led to the discovery of an entire physiological system in the human body. The scientists named it the endocannabinoid system (ECS) after the cannabis plant that led to its discovery. It is an endogenous (internal) homeostatic regulating system found in all vertebrates. The ECS is a complex system responsible for multiple physiological processes which include modulation of pain, seizure threshold, appetite, digestion, cognition, and mood. Scientists believe that the main role of the ECS is to help the body maintain homeostasis or balance.
The cannabis plant produces over 400 chemical compounds, more than 65 of which are unique to the cannabis plant (called cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids). Phytocannabinoids are compounds which hold medicinal value and the most well-known are THC and CBD.
The federal government considers cannabis a Schedule 1 drug. Thus, cannabis is not available by prescription since physicians can’t “prescribe” and pharmacists can’t dispense Schedule 1 drugs. There are synthetic versions of THC (i.e. RX called Marinol) available by prescription but these products are very different than what you can buy at a dispensary.
Cannabis is an herbal medication with over 400 compounds. These compounds interact with each other and produce medicinal benefits. Thus, an extraction of a single compound will not necessarily result in the full range of therapeutic effects or may produce unwanted side effects that usually do not occur when the whole herb is administered.
Understanding how to dose medical cannabis can be challenging. Since cannabis has many chemical compounds and not one single active ingredient it is very different than traditional pharmaceutical products. Start low and go slow is a basic rule of thumb you may hear at a dispensary.
Since there is limited scientific research available about dosing regimens, ANANDA Medical has compiled information from patients and cannabinoid physician experts to help you find an optimal dose. Please contact us if you need guidance regarding dosing and administrative methods.
One of the most well-known effects of cannabis use is appetite stimulation. However, studies on the effects of cannabis use in patients with cachexia (“loss of weight, wasting, fatigue, weakness, and significant loss of appetite in someone who is not actively trying to lose weight”) and anorexia (loss of appetite), often experienced by patients with HIV/AIDS and cancer, often show that cannabis use does not increase body weight.
Additionally, research has shown that cannabis users have a lower body mass index (BMI) than non-users, meaning that cannabis users tend to weigh less for their given height than non-users. This is fascinating given that THC is an appetite stimulant and people often consume more calories when using cannabis. Further research is needed to understand the relationship between cannabis and weight.
Medical cannabis can cause undesirable side effects, which increase with higher doses. The most common side effects are associated with the THC compound found in medical cannabis.
These side effects include:
There is a large variation of tolerated doses with clinical studies showing a range from 2.5mg to 120mg daily of THC. Since THC has a relatively narrow therapeutic window, most side effects can be prevented by starting treatment with a low dose, taken in small quantities throughout the day.
Our team at ANANDA Medical can educate you about optimal products, dosing, and administrative methods so you can avoid potential unpleasant side effects.
Responsible use of medical cannabis can provide relief for a variety of debilitating conditions. When considering the risks, keep in mind:
Research suggests that certain patient populations may not benefit from cannabinoid medicine.
For most patients, the benefits of using cannabis greatly outweigh the risks.
Patients all over the world have experienced a multitude of benefits including appetite stimulation, migraine relief, seizure reduction, nausea reduction, pain relief, sleep aid, anti-inflammatory, libido elevation, and mood elevation.
Therapeutic effects on the body and the smell and flavor of the cannabis flower. Many patients prefer to buy a variety of strains since they affect everyone differently since each person has varying amounts of endocannabinoid receptors. There are ongoing research studies and anecdotal evidence identifying cannabinoid ratios and terpenes for specific medical conditions. Please contact ANANDA Medical to help you find the best options for your condition.