Cannabis is a plant that produces chemical compounds called cannabinoids and terpenes. Many of these compounds interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system to create various physical and mental effects. As a result, cannabis can be consumed to treat certain ailments as well as for recreational enjoyment.
WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS ARE OUT THERE?
Cannabis flower can be smoked, vaporized, or used to make extracts, concentrates, edibles, and a number of other products. Each product type has unique characteristics both in physical and chemical properties and may affect users in unique ways.
These include wet flower, dry flower, and hemp.
These include kief, bubble hash, rosin and other solventless extracts.
These include distillate, isolate, shatter, wax, crumble, and other solvent-based extracts.
Marijuana Infused Products
These include edibles, drinks, tinctures, topicals, lotions, transdermal patches, and suppositories.
MEDICINAL USE OF CANNABIS
Current research supports the potential use of cannabis as an aid in the treatment of a variety of symptoms and conditions. Cannabis has been used to help patients cope with chronic pain, diabetes, epilepsy, PTSD, cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and many more.
Because there are logistical difficulties surrounding research on cannabis and the compounds therein, there is no official agreement on which conditions may be aided by different cannabis treatment options. If you would like to learn more about the medical effects of medical marijuana, please browse the cannabis review. If you reside in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or another state with progressive marijuana legislation, you can speak to your physician regarding your condition or symptoms and whether MMJ or cannabis is a viable treatment option.
THE CHEMISTRY OF CANNABIS
Found in cannabis and other plants, cannabinoids are a range of naturally occurring chemical compounds that interact with specific chemical receptors in the brain and nervous system. These receptors make up the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate important functions such as appetite, pain, mood, and memory. As such, the amounts and combinations of cannabinoids found in different strains of cannabis are what create physical and emotional effects felt from using various cannabis products.
Testing cannabis products and determining a cannabinoid profile allows patients and doctors to more accurately predict potential effects of different products. This enables patients to select a strain or product that can address their particular needs or treat specific symptoms.
Another class of compounds found naturally in cannabis plants are terpenes. These are the compounds partially responsible for creating the smell and taste of cannabis, but they have also been noted to interact synergistically with cannabinoids to have their own health benefits and treatment applications. The combination of physical and mental effects that result from the interplay between cannabinoids and terpenes is known as the “entourage effect.”
Looking at a terpene panel in addition to the cannabinoid profile provides a clearer indication of the potential effects that may result from using a particular cannabis product.
Due to physiological differences from person to person, the varying compositions of cannabinoids and terpenes found in different strains of cannabis may affect each individual in a unique way. When selecting a strain, be sure to inquire about the expected effects and discuss what symptoms you’re attempting to treat with your provider. Look at the potency profile that should be present on the label and note how that strain affects you when using a controlled dose.
Because the science surrounding cannabis is still new, there is no sure-fire way to predict how a strain will affect you before trying it yourself. You’ll need to adjust dosage and stay aware of which combination of cannabinoids and terpenes works best for you when using a given method of consumption.