NEW TO CANNABIS - READ ABOUT BENEFITS, CONSUMPTION & MORE...
Inhalation There are two different methods of inhalation - smoking and vaporizing - both of which provide a rapid onset and similar effects. While both involve heating cannabis so that cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs, they are two very different methods. Smoking cannabis involves lighting dried cannabis flowers with fire in a method known as combustion - this includes using pipes and joints.
The healthier delivery system, vaporizing, uses a stream of heated air to vaporize the active ingredients in cannabis without combustion. Unlike smoking, both cannabis concentrates and dried flowers can be vaporized.
Ingesting cannabis produces much stronger and more psychoactive effects than other delivery systems. When digested, cannabinoids are broken down in the gastrointestinal tract and then passed through the liver before entering the bloodstream. As a result of this process, the cannabinoids pass through the blood-brain barrier more effectively, thereby increasing potency by making them more likely to bind with the endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body. It may take 30 minutes to two hours to feel the full effects of ingested cannabis.
Edible cannabis affects everyone a little bit differently, depending on body size, metabolism, and experience. Many people associate edible cannabis with the traditional ‘pot brownie’, but that hardly gives this method the credit it deserves.
Truly medicinal cannabis is grounded in ingestable applications of cannabis - like most traditional medical applications, specific cannabinoids can now be reduced to pill form, capsules, tablets, and liquid form. These new forms allow for very controlled and repeatable dosing events - like traditional pharmaceutical medicines, you can now take a pill that contains precisely 5 mg of THC or CBD and so on.
Absorption Cannabinoids can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream from three different areas inside the mouth - under the tongue (sublingual), on the tongue, and all other mucosa tissues lining the entire mouth.
The full effects of using this delivery system will be felt more quickly than by ingesting, but less quickly than with inhalation. The cannabinoids will be absorbed most quickly when held under the tongue. Most commonly, cannabis is consumed orally with infused mints, lozenges, and breath strips. In this method of delivery, the effects will be felt within 10 to 60 minutes.
Topical medical cannabis products come in a variety of forms including lotions, balms, creams, salves, and patches. Topical medical marijuana products are applied to the outside of the skin and can provide localized relief from inflammation, pain, skin irritations, and more.
In all forms of topical application other than patches, cannabinoids react with receptors under the skin, but they do not reach the bloodstream. As a result, most topical medical cannabis products do not provide psychoactive effects. Some transdermal patches, however, are able to transfer cannabinoids into the bloodstream.
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ALTHOUGH THERE WILL ALWAYS BE NEGATIVES TO POSITIVES. HERE ARE A FEW POSITIVES ABOUT CANNABIS & BENEFITS. - It Could Help You Lose Weight If you’re an avid Green Flower reader, then you’re already aware that cannabis users have been shown to be slimmer, on average, than non-users. That’s because cannabis helps the body regulate insulin production, and manage caloric intake more efficiently.
- It Appears to Help Regulate and Prevent Diabetes Because cannabis helps regulate body weight, it only makes sense that it would help prevent and regulate Diabetes. Again, you can thank the herb’s ability to regulate insulin production for this medical breakthrough.
- It Fights Cancer This is the big one that everybody’s been talking about. Both scientists and the federal government have released a good amount of evidence showing that cannabis fights certain types of cancer. It doesn’t get much more substantial than that.
- It Can Help Depression
Research is important, but so are the voices and smiles of those whom cannabis actually helps! Depression is one of the more widespread, yet least talked about medical conditions in America. And research is showing that cannabis can help relieve people. “Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression,” said Samir Haj-Dahmane, who is spearheading the research at Buffalo University – research that is only just now beginning to ramp up.
- It’s Showing Promise in Treating Autism Like many other high-profile disorders, autism may be a prime target for cannabis-based treatments. Science is digging into it, but in the meantime, some parents are using it to help manage violent mood swings in autistic children.
- It Provides a Safer Alternative to Other Drugs and Alcohol Cannabis can be harmful if you use it irresponsibly, but it’s nowhere near as destructive as alcohol for example. With wider availability, cannabis can and will become a substance of choice – and likely save a lot of lives (and livers) in the process.
- It Helps Regulate Seizures for a lot of People Using medical cannabis to regulate seizures is another one of the more high-profile findings coming out of medical science. For folks with disorders like Epilepsy, cannabis is showing immense promise.
- CBD Can Apparently Help Broken Bones Heal Faster Science shows us how CBD can help broken bones grow back faster and stronger. Can you believe that cannabis can actually mend broken bones? It’s true, as CBD evidently reacts chemically with collagen, spurring along the healing process. Another very exciting find.
- It's Helping People with ADHD For those with serious trouble concentrating, or who have children suffering from ADD or ADHD, cannabis might be the treatment you’ve been waiting for. It’s safer and more effective than medications like Ritalin or Adderall.
- It Can Help Treat Serious Addictions We already mentioned that cannabis can be a viable, safer alternative to substances like alcohol and tobacco, but did you know that it can also be used as a treatment for addictions to these substances, and more? Individuals addicted to serious drugs like heroin, opiates, and cocaine, are showing promise in ridding themselves of their addictions through cannabis therapy. Of course, it’s entirely possible to develop a dependency to marijuana, also – so responsible and mindful use is key.
- It Treats Glaucoma One of the first big medical issues that cannabis was shown to effectively treat is glaucoma. Ingesting cannabis helps lower the pressure in the eyeball, giving patients at least temporary relief.
- It Can Improve Lung Health You probably never saw this one coming – especially since pot is commonly associated with smoking, and smoking with chronic lung problems. But some conditions, including lung cancer and Emphysema, have been shown to regress when cannabis is thrown into the mix.
- It Helps Anxiety in Correct Doses Be careful. Too much cannabis can make your anxiety worse. Fact: cannabis can actually cause anxiety but there are ways to potentially avoid that. And it’s also true that for many people, cannabis can help alleviate anxiety disorders.
- It Appears to Slow the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease Cognitive degeneration is pretty much unavoidable as we age, and Alzheimer’s disease falls under that umbrella. The good news is that studies are showing cannabis can stop the progression of Alzheimer’s, which may lead to longer, richer lives for millions.
- It Helps M.S. Patients Cannabis helps alleviate many of the symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis, most notably the tremors, spasms, and pain.
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- It Can Relieve Muscle Spasms We’ve mentioned M.S. and seizures, but general muscle spasms are an ailment that affects millions. Cannabis can help calm those muscles, stop them from twitching and deal with the pain associated with spasms.
- It Could Help with Eating Disorders A common use of medical cannabis is to help regulate eating patterns. Whether you eat too much, or too little, cannabis can help. This is especially helpful for people suffering from disorders like Bulimia and Anorexia.
- It Relieves Arthritis Cannabis can offer serious relief for arthritis. Another common ailment that cannabis is used to treat is arthritis. THC and CBD – as well as other cannabinoids – help sufferers deal with the pain, especially when using quality cannabis creams and balms.
- It’s Helpful for Those with PTSD With so many veterans in need of effective treatments for PTSD after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the discovery that cannabis is a viable option is fantastic news. Now, the trick is to get the VA and doctors to actually prescribe it. And of course, not all PTSD is combat-related. All sorts of traumatic experiences can put that fight-or-flight response into overdrive, and cannabis is the only medication to address that.
- It Could Help Regulate Your Metabolism We touched on how cannabis helps your body process and deal with food and obesity. This plays into how it also helps maintain and regulate your metabolism. That not only means sticking to an ideal weight level but generally being healthier and happier!
- It Helps People with AIDS/HIV Cannabis can’t directly cure the AIDS virus, but it can and does help those living with it cope. Specifically, cannabis helps those living with AIDS/HIV maintain their diets and handle associated pains and aches.
- It’s Proved Effective for Treating Nausea Next up on our list of marijuana facts: is nausea. This is a relatively common feeling and one that is brought on by any number of things. Some people live with constant bouts on a daily basis, and as you can imagine, it can be debilitating. How does cannabis come into the picture? Chemical compounds in cannabis react with brain receptors to regulate feelings of nausea. This is a particular boon for chemotherapy patients.
- It’s an Alternative Treatment for Headaches Do you know you could potentially treat that headache with a non-psychoactive cannabis product? Lots of people experience headaches every day, and taking the typical medicines – be it acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) – can take its toll on your body, leading to ulcers, liver damage, and other complications. Cannabis offers a natural alternative and one that won’t chew through your stomach lining.
- It Looks like the Herb Can Treat Certain STDs It’s true – cannabis has been found to be at least somewhat effective in the treatment of a handful of sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes and chlamydia.
- It Could Help with Speech Problems If you, or someone you know, have an issue with stuttering, cannabis can help. Research is by and large still lacking, but in the same way that cannabis helps calm spasms and twitches, those with speech problems can potentially benefit from its effects.
- It Can Improve Skin Conditions Who would’ve thought that cannabis could be a viable treatment option for skin conditions like eczema? The only issue? Smoking won’t do much good, as smoking actually harms your skin. A quality cannabis topical, on the other hand, can do wonders.
- It Can Help You Get Through Chemotherapy This is another extremely popular use of medical cannabis. Those suffering from cancers and its treatments – like chemotherapy – have found comfort in cannabis’s soothing effects.
- It Could Help with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Those living with OCD might also use cannabis as a therapeutic option. CBD, which effectively regulates anxiety to some extent, is the main active ingredient that helps those with OCD get a handle on the disorder – and live more functional lives.
- Cannabis Can Calm Asthma Attacks Some forms of cannabis act as a bronchodilator. You probably never saw this one coming. Cannabis and asthma? They’re apparently compatible, or so says science. Again, it has to do with cannabinoid receptors which help control coughing fits as well as the herb’s ability to act as a bronchodilator. Smoking is obviously not the best method of delivery here, as that will likely only make things worse.
- It Can Replace Viagra for Some Men How about a natural cure for erectile dysfunction? This is another one of the many benefits of marijuana. No more hiding that Viagra in the back of the medicine cabinet, merely stick to cannabis. The research is ongoing, but there is evidence that cannabis can help men overcome this frustrating issue.
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- It Can Lower Your Blood Pressure Smoking and low blood pressure are rarely synonymous. Thankfully there are several other ways to ingest cannabis, which can help with hypertension and other blood pressure issues. Although if you have serious heart issues, caution is advised because we still have a lot to learn about cannabis and the heart.
- It’ll Calm Your Panic Attacks in Proper Doses As mentioned, calming anxiety is one of cannabis’s more sought-after effects. As a result, it can help people control panic attacks. Of course, it’ll depend on several physical factors, and what specific strains you use.
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The Economic Benefits of Cannabis - It Can Be Used as a Food Source Despite the fact that cannabis is hard to find at your local grocery store, throughout history, it’s been a dietary staple for many civilizations. Hemp has often been cultivated as a source of protein, and even today is used to create protein powders or seeds that can be purchased for consumption. On a large production scale, hemp can feed a lot of hungry people if prohibitive laws are overturned.
- It Makes for an Attractive Investment Want to make green, from green? Lots of venture capitalists are starting to see the explosive potential in the cannabis industry, and as a result, are dumping money into cannabis-based startups and businesses. Cannabis capital summits are even popping up, attracting investors and entrepreneurs.
- It Can Help Fight Climate Change If we are able to get large-scale cannabis farms into production, it could help curb emissions, and fight climate change. This would happen in a number of ways, from providing more carbon-absorbing plants across vast farmlands to trading off emission-producing animal farms for greener, cleaner cannabis grows.
- It Creates Jobs The creation of literally tens of thousands of jobs in the wake of legalization in places like Colorado and Washington is hard to ignore. And in an economy that has been in slow-recovery mode since 2009, looking at any opportunity to add more jobs can’t be overlooked.
- It Generates Revenue for Schools and Public Health Programs More money for schools is a great thing. Instead of having money funnel into the hands of low-level street dealers, or even cartels on the other side of the border, legal marijuana markets are putting money to work in local communities through tax revenue. Marijuana is now supplying millions to schools and public health programs, among other things.
- Legalizing Cannabis is Getting People Out of Jail A big point of contention in the U.S. recently has been the large rate of incarceration, and the amount of money flowing to the prison industrial complex. Legalization is clearing out prisons, and freeing up time and resources for law enforcement.
- It’s Creating New Industries We mentioned that cannabis is creating a lot of jobs, and that’s because it’s creating new industries which house them. Cultivation, processing, sales outlets – there are numerous facets to the cannabis industry, and as legalization spreads, it’ll continue to grow.
- It Lowers Crime Rates Yes, making a previously illegal product legal lowers the crime rate – but it goes deeper than that. Numbers show that states in post-legalization status are seeing drops in crime, and perhaps most importantly, violent crime.
- It Leads to Safer RoadsTraffic deaths have gone down in Colorado after legalization, which is fantastic news. This could be due to the substitution effect, people choosing pot over alcohol.
- It Makes Law Enforcement Cheaper and Easier Law authorities shouldn't waste their time with cannabis. Why would they? In legalized states, police no longer need to spend time chasing marijuana offenders, which also clears up the courtrooms for more serious cases. This makes things easier for everybody, and cheaper for the taxpayers.
How Cannabis Can Improve Your Daily Life
- It Can Keep Your Pets Healthy Cannabis, in some forms, can make for a healthy supplement for your pets. And for animals that are sick, or living with chronic pain, cannabis-based treats can offer some relief.
- It Can Stop Nightmares Plagued by bad dreams? Try cannabis before you hit the sack, and see if it makes a difference. For some people, it’s doing the trick. For others, particularly those with PTSD, it can also eliminate dreams completely. The reason, it turns out, is that cannabis impacts REM sleep – the part of the cycle during which you dream.
- It Can Bring Your Energy Levels up A lot of people are tired. But a small subset of individuals suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – a disorder that is effectively treated with certain cannabis compounds and strains. Just make sure you’re picking the right ones if you want to avoid fatigue.
- It’ll Help You Sleep On the flip side, you can use cannabis to help you get to sleep. Again, though, it’ll depend on what specific strains you’re using, and your physical and psychological makeup. You may have to experiment a bit to get the desired effect.
- It Can Help You Get Through the Work Day A lot of people use cannabis to enhance productivity. Too much though could have the opposite effect. No matter what kind of job you have, cannabis can probably give you a boost in some way – be it mentally or physically. Even consuming after work can be a help. If you do decide to experiment with cannabis at work, be careful not to let things get out of hand. Be mindful of what works and what doesn’t. And if you’re operating machinery or driving? Abstain. Better to get high AFTER work.
- It Can Make You More Productive If you can get your cannabis regimen just right, productivity could increase significantly. For a lot of people that may be due to the medical benefits gained from cannabis, or the inspiration, or simply because they’re happier. On the other hand, productivity can also take a complete nosedive if you’re not careful. What we do know is in medical cannabis states employee absenteeism is down.
- It Could Make You More Creative Surprise, surprise – cannabis can help you be more creative. There’s still some debate as to how or why this happens, but cannabis does inspire lateral and divergent thinking, an important mindset for innovation and progress.
- It Can Protect Your Brain Cannabis as a brain protector? It’s true. Scientists are finding that chemical compounds found in cannabis actually help protect our brains.
How might cannabis be useful as medicine? Currently, the two main cannabis from the marijuana plant that is of medical interest is THC and CBD.
THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems. Unlike THC, CBD is cannabis that doesn't make people "high." These drugs aren't popular for recreational use because they aren't intoxicating. It may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating mental illness and addictions.
Many researchers, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are continuing to explore the possible uses of THC, CBD, and other cannabis for medical treatment. For instance, recent animal studies have shown that marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others. Evidence from one cell culture study with rodents suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors. Research in mice showed that treatment with purified extracts of THC and CBD, when used with radiation, increased the cancer-killing effects of the radiation.
Scientists are also conducting pre-clinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions, such as Diseases that affect the immune system, include:
multiple sclerosis (MS), which causes gradual loss of muscle control
substance use disorders
Read more about the NIH’s cannabis research:
What medications contain cannabis? Two FDA-approved drugs, dronabinol, and nabilone, contain THC. They treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and increase appetite in patients with extreme weight loss caused by AIDS. Continued research might lead to more medications. The FDA approved a CBD-based liquid medication called Epidiolex® for the treatment of two forms of severe childhood epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
The United Kingdom, Canada, and several European countries have approved nabiximols (Sativex®), a mouth spray containing THC and CBD. It treats muscle control problems caused by MS, but it isn't FDA-approved.