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Beginner’s Guide to Medical Marijuana

There are 23 independent medical cannabis regions in the United States currently, a huge advance toward medical freedom that originated in the most aggressive anti-cannabis aka marijuana nation in the world.
There are a few additional states that allow cannabis without THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the compound that has psychoactive effects. It’s known as cannabidoil or CBD. The result is an oil or tincture that produces medicinal effects without the “high”.

There are some confusions with CBD vs THC for medicinal purposes. Very often the more debilitating and chronic diseases ranging from cancer to Crohn’s need some level of THC to create medicinal effects. But there have been CBD only successes with children experiencing neurological disorders.

You can get familiar with all the complete cannabis states’ allowances and restrictions here.

Strains, Cannabinoids, Terpenes and the Entourage Effect

There is also scientific evidence, including preclinical and clinical studies, that suggest cannabis, and specific cannabinoids, offer different benefits for different diseases.

Some studies indicate that either THC or CBD may be better for a certain condition, thus influencing decisions on the THC:CBD ratio. Dosage amounts largely correspond to the severity of disease, with more aggressive conditions usually requiring larger amounts that are gradually achieved after starting low.

This excerpt is from an excellent article by Dr. Malik Burnett featured in Medical Jane, “Medical Marijuana: Much More Than THC and CBD”, which discusses the “entourage effect”:

First described in 1998 by Israeli scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, the basic idea of the entourage effect is that cannabinoids within the cannabis plant work together, or possess synergy, and affect the body in a mechanism similar to the body’s own endocannabinoid system.

This theory serves as the foundation for a relatively controversial idea within pharmacology community, that in certain cases whole plant extractions serve as better therapeutic agents than individual cannabinoid extractions. The entourage effect theory has been expanded in recent times by Wagner and Ulrich-Merzenich, who define the four basic mechanisms of whole plant extract synergy as follows:

1. Ability to affect multiple targets within the body

2. Ability to improve the absorption of active ingredients

3. Ability to overcome bacterial defense mechanisms

4. Ability to minimize adverse side effects. (Source)

Strains are ultimately differentiated by terpene profiles, so deciding which strain is optimal is largely dependent on what terpenes are desired. If someone wants a daytime strain, then having some alpha-pinene and limonene is good. For night, myrcene and linalool are a better choice. Beta-caryophyllene is almost always good as it directly activates the CB2 receptor.

The entourage effect is part of the whole cannabis plant’s wisdom, which is why pharmaceutical cannabis based drugs are not and will never duplicate whole plant extracts. And their side effects will not be so pleasant either.

Different Methods of Using Cannabis

Normal smoking increases absorption of toxic smoke elements while reducing helpful cannabinoids. Using a vaporizer or “vaping” is considered healthier and more medicinally potent. The cannabinoids are heated sufficiently to activate them without damage.

The real barrier buster was due largely to Canadian Rick Simpson’s rediscovering how to create medical cannabis oil, a highly concentrated thick decoction, which he used to cure his skin cancer topically and ingested to eliminate the lingering effects, constant noise in his head, of a previous head injury.

He treated several neighbors without charging them with a range of chronic maladies, including cancer, and the results were amazing. They were all medical mainstream failures in a nation that provides medical care without out of pocket expense to everyone.

After his full length documentary “Run From the Cure” went viral, the oil became a major part of medical cannabis applications, especially for cancer.

Rick claims smoking marijuana will cause its medicinal values “go up in smoke”. Nevertheless, clinical testing in Israel has demonstrated positive results with smoking cannabis for senility, arthritic pain, and other autoimmune deficiencies, even if it’s efficacy is less than vaporizing with a heated element that doesn’t come into contact with the herb.
There are at least 65 cannabinoids in cannabis. One report claims 85 and another over 100. Many of them have medicinal values. For children with epilepsy or post vaccination traumas suffering daily seizures, low or no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content with high CBD (cannabidiol) content has empirically proved very useful.

Growers have breeding techniques to create a variety of THC and CBD content percentages depending on what’s needed for various ailments. Medical marijuana dispensaries in legal states have enough understanding of the various strains to offer advice on what’s needed for many specific ailments.

But the potency of high THC cannabis oil became a priority among cancer patients. It can be ingested in small amounts at first then increased gradually as one becomes accustomed to the “high”.

The process of producing cannabis oil involves heat, which decarboxylates the raw plant THC-A into the more psychoactive THC. This also converts CBDA into more medicinally active CBD.

The oil can be mixed into or used to make cannabis butter (cannabutter) for toast or muffins. Sometimes cannabis oil is placed in capsules. Some who experience displeasure or confusion from the THC “high” eliminate that “side effect” by inserting the oil rectally with the syringe or from suppositories made with the oil.

Cannabis effects from ingested edibles of all types take longer to create an effect and linger longer than the cannabinoids inhaled by smoking or vaporizing. Folks who have a hard time with the THC psychotropic side effects of cannabis oil managed to bypass them with cannabis suppositories or simply inserting the oil rectally with a syringe.

Juicing Cannabis

Dr. William Courtney of Mendocino has used raw non-decarboxylated whole hemp plant juicing to successfully treat some patients who have have been on pharmaceutical medications and getting worse to the point of healing without using any prescribed drugs.

He advocates drinking raw cannabis juice from the whole plant to improve health and prevent diseases without the high. Currently, limitations on home growing cannabis plants amounts in states that allow its use make this approach untenable for most.

Despite those logistical legal limitations, this video from Dr. Courtney is educational and heartwarming.
Below is a chart that will give you some idea of different strains’ known effectiveness with different ailments, with this one caveat:

This chart makes the mistake of listing THCA as anti cancer but not THC. Decarboxylating THCA with sufficient heat creates THC, which is a proven anti-cancer compound present in cannabis oils produced with heat as well as “vaping” or smoking.

Access the list here.

Anecdotal Success Stories with Medical Cannabis

(Click any title that interests you for the complete story with video)

Elderly man with terminal cancer walks out of hospice after cannabis treatment

Seriously debilitating COPD handled by cannabis oil

Curing cancer with an unusual cannabis oil delivery technique

Teen cured Crohn’s Disease with cannabis after all else failed

How two cases used cannabis for curing in medical marijuana prohibited regions

Keep in mind that mixing ANY natural cancer healing protocols with chemotherapy or radiation therapies hinders positive results. It’s like trying to drive on a freeway while depressing the gas pedal and braking at the same time.

Magic bullets such as cannabis alone may create remissions, but total healing should also include lifestyle and dietary changes from what invited the cancerous condition to flourish in the first place.

If you live in a state or Canadian province that has legalized cannabis for medical use, or if you’re considering moving to one, you may need is a list of doctors and clinics that are supportive of medical cannabis. Here is one.

You can get very familiar with all the cannabis states’ allowances and restrictions here.