What is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana refers to the marijuana plant that is used to treat medical conditions to alleviate symptoms.
Active ingredients of marijuana include cannabinoids like THC and CBD. THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is responsible for the psychoactive euphoric effects or “high” that people experience from a dopamine release. CBD (cannabadiol) helps off set the psychoactive component. Both have additional medical benefits. There are four hundred different chemicals in marijuana of which 70-100 are types of cannabanoids.

8 Most Common Cannabinoids

CBD

Cannabadiol was discovered in the 1940’s. It is not psychoactive or addictive, blunts the high, may reduce anxiety, may inhibit cancer cell growth. It may lower blood sugar and blood pressure and promote bone growth. It may protect from neurodegeneration. Over the counter CBD oil available at vape shops must have less than 0.3% THC. CBD may reduce pain and inflammation. It may improve mental health and addiction. CBD helps with seizures. “Charlotte’s Web” is a type of marijuana used with children with epilepsy due to it’s high CBD and low THC ratio.

CBDa

Cannabidiolic Acid is not psychoactive, reduces inflammation and may have antibacterial effects.

CBC

Cannabachromene is not psychoactive, reduces inflammation and pain, promotes bone growth and fights cancer.

CBG

Cannabigerol, also not psychoactive, has antibacterial effects, fights cancer and reduces inflammation.

CBN

Cannabinol is mildly psychoactive as degradation product of THC and produces “couch lock” and sedation.

THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol activates same receptors as endogenous cannabinoid anandamide. It has psychoactive effects and acts as an antioxidant. THC improves appetite and reduces nausea. It may help with pain, inflammation and spasms.

THCa

Tetrahydrocannabinol Acid is available raw and converted when heated to Delta9-THC. It is responsible for reducing inflammation, muscle spasm and cancer growth.

THCv

Tetrahydrocannabaviran, primarily from Africa, may help suppress appetite and improve diabetes.

How do you administer medical marijuana?

Different means of administering medical marijuana include oral, inhalation and topical. In Florida, edibles are not legal. Instead it is recommended to put a drop of liquid solution on your favorite food. The oral solutions come as capsules, tinctures or concentrates and may be used sublingually or swallowed. The inhaled forms are vaporized or nebulized. The topical forms are creams and nasal spray.
Oral forms have a slower onset of action with inhaled forms being more immediately bioavailable. Sublingual administration reduces the first pass effect of the liver metabolizing much of the active ingredients.

The Endocannabanoid System

The endocannabanoid system is known to have diverse and diffuse effects in response to cannabanoids made naturally by the body, or endocannabanoids. They are vital to sensory input, appetite, coordination, responses to pleasurable and painful stimuli, as well as memory and concentration. They even effect the sense of time passing.
CB1 and CB2 receptors are G coupled receptors. CB1 receptors are found in the brain and responsible for the psychoactive component. CB2 receptors are found peripherally in the body effecting pain perception and inflammation. These receptors help regulate mood, sleep, energy. They also help prevent brain fog or inflammation that effects memory and cognition common to autoimmune diseases.
Fatty Acid Amide Hydroxylase or FAAH is an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter anadamide.