Cannabis Basics - Introduction

Let’s talk Cannabis. This is to facilitate education to everyone. I don’t want it to be a political topic, or a discussion of personal beliefs. If we go there, the content will become muddled and no one will benefit. Its meant to be educational for anyone that’s curious about it. Also, any other input by others will help build on ideas, techniques, etc.

I do apologize in advance for the scientific nature of this discussion, but I feel knowledge is power. Even if you do not wish to understand anything beyond the basics, some exposure to the science will aid in your understanding. Don’t get visions of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. That completely discounts how beneficial, important, and medicinal it can be to us.

I may do this is a series of topics depending on the response. Guess we’ll see. There’s so much information that could be discussed, it may be easier to digest and discuss that way.

Also, if anyone wants to send me a private message about any of this, feel free. I respect the confidentially portion of that.

Obviously, I must proclaim beforehand:

This article and any subsequent comments are intended for educational purposes only. I’m not advocating, nor acknowledging the use of any illegal substances. This is not to be taken as medical advice, and you should consult your physician. Know the laws applicable for where you reside. Knowledge or suggestions of any forthcoming topics are in no way indication or admittance of use or abuse and should not be interpreted in that manner.

Medicinal Use of Cannabis – Part 1 Introduction: Example of Available Research.

The Itunes bookstore has a free book – It was a free download when I read it:

“Medical Marijuana and Other Cannabinoids” Mark Arose BS, MA – Course #95170

If you don’t wish to download or don’t have time for a read, there’s a few telling quotes that I will throw out from the literature:

1. Studies have confirmed that THC produces 20 TIMES the anti-inflammatory potency of aspirin and TWICE the potency of hydrocortisone. Unlike NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) it has not demonstrated COX inhibition.

2. CBD produces actions different from THC. It is non-psychoactive and studies suggest beneficial anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain), antipsychotic (yes it actually “competes” with THC essentially), antiemetic (nausea), anxiolytic (anxiety), and antiepileptiform (epilepsy) effects.

3. Other therapeutic mechanisms have been found. Neuroprotective properties such as inhibition of glutamate neurotoxicity and antioxidant activity that surpasses ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and tocopherol (Vitamin E) have been studied.

4. Cannabis possesses over 489 compounds from 18 different chemical classes and at least 100 cannabinoids. The relative concentrations of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in any plant are influenced by strain, soil, climate, and cultivation techniques.

5. Smoking cannabis has been shown to NOT have carcinogenic affects on the lungs as does tobacco. It actually modulates tumor necrosis factor, which is why is it studied for treating cancers.

Medical Use of Cannabis – Part 2 – The Basics

THC (Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) – responsible for greatest psychoactive potency; also expresses the greatest analgesic activity. This is the chemical portion responsible for the notorious “head high” associated with cannabis.

CBD – (Cannabidiol) beneficial effects as listed above. Does not affect memory and actually curtails psychoactive THC effects by competing for the main CB1 receptor site.

Cannabis Sativa – phenotype of cannabis plant highlighted by high amounts of THC, lower (if any) CBD, and primarily producing energetic cereberal highs and analgesia.

Cannabis Indica – Due to generally higher levels of CBD, resulting effects are more of a body relaxation, sedation, and sleepy effect.

Hybrid – Strain of cannabis resulting from pollination of a sativa stain with a Indica one, resulting in a balance of both. Hybrids are usually classified in percentages upon testing offspring strain (80%sativa, 20% Indica/ 60/40%, etc)

Strains – Locations and origins of cannabis. Strains are tracks through an ancestry of pollination attempts in crossing 2 strains or phenotypes to create a completely new offspring. In the past, high THC was the goal to achieve the maximum high and consequently, CBD was “bred out” to a very minimal amount because medical benefits weren’t mainstream as it is becoming today. Medical growers have gone backwards to reintroduce higher CBD levels through selective breeding due to the onslaught of medical demand

Medical Use of Cannabis – Part 3 : Understanding the Terminology

Buds – female cannabis plants grow and produce flowers. The flowers mature and slowly fill resin sacs and create trichomes that contain the aforementioned medication(s). They are smoked via heat combustion which activates the chemicals. Time of onset can be from second to minutes.

Extraction – There are methods to extract the chemicals and cannabinoids to introduce for alternative purposes of consumption (ie. tinctures, vape oils, etc)

Edibles – Any orally ingested food item containing activated cannabinoids. Time of onset can be 1-1.5 hours after ingestion. One downside is that since the liver must metabolize, there is a reduced potency when compared on a weight basis when compared to buds on a gram-to-gram basis. However, due to this metabolism, the resulting effects are often different – a longer lasting effect on the body.

Tincture – Liquid suspension of activated cannabinoids for oral consumption.

Oil – Infused cannabinoids into a type of glycerin suspension for use with a vaporizer/electronic cigarette

Medical Use of Cannabis – Part 4 – Putting it all together

So what does all this truly mean? Understanding the most basic fundamentals of cannabis can be beneficial to understanding enough to use or possess proper education for judgment without having to be an expert. If you look at pipeline drugs like prescription Sativex or medical grades of marijuana recommended for MS, you will find that the ratio of THC/CBD is the prominent factor for treatment effects.

There is a push for strains of equal distribution of THC/CBD or lower THC/higher CBD preferred depending on what your focus of treatment may be.

Why do I mention “activating” the cannabinoids? Believe it or not, if you simply ate a tremendous amount of marijuana buds, you wouldn’t experience much effect at all.

Depending on the reaction to this topic, we can delve into many specifics and possibilities depending on your achieved goal or preferred choices for medicating.

Cheers

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17 Replies

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  • First of all Chris, thank you very much for taking the time to post all the information for us to use at our own discretion. It is obviously a topic that is very close to your heart. I think that if cannabis had not been labelled as a band substance here in the uk, and the medication companies had been able to use it legally, no one would have been any wiser, and some people particularly those people suffering with terminal cancer would have been able to benefit. It's the stigma behind it that everyone over here as a problem with. It's a shame it cannot be used for the good of people. Blessings Jimeka

  • Hey Jimeka,

    I believe Sativex (cannabinoid mucousal spray) was approved in the U.K. A few years ago for certain conditions. Could be a potential avenue for those across the pond.

  • I applaud you for taking on this unnecessarily controversial topic. Even those who are in opposition to mj for political or any other reason need to be educated. Lack of adequate information perpetuates stereotypes and unnecessary biases. As patients with MS we should all look at the subject with the same lens as we would any other potential treatment, not through the lens of stigma and stereotype. This can only come through education on the specific chemical actions of the ingredients and you have done a great job with that. When skeptics understand that there is science involved and it isn't "just for stoners" minds will begin to change. I look forward to future updates and the day when the stigma is finally erased. Please interject if you feel to the contrary about the issue. It helps to understand how the opposition thinks, that way we have a chance to change it.

  • Thanks Tracy. There's an unlimited amount of money available to be made by those who control the stigma - and that's not a conspiracy theory. Once you are exposed to the benefits, it doesn't take long for the conversation of why medicinal cannabis isn't available for anyone suffereing with a chronic illness to materialize.

    I cannot turn a blind eye to informing or educating others for sake of disagreement over fundamental personal views as I would feel as a selfish hoarder of information. I'm not Golum with the ring. The empathy I have for everyone here pushes Me forward to make it a talking point.

    My quality of life has been completely overhauled. I'm not trying to change anyone's perspectives or beliefs. If I can share information that leads to the same for even 1 person, then I have done my part for our community.

    Or that is, at least, my sincerest hope.

  • Thanks for the information Chris! Information is power and having any chronic disease/condition takes power away from us. Any information we can get can give us some power back. Keep it coming.

  • I am so glad that you personally have benefited from the limitless potential of the oldest medicine on earth. Documented by the Chinese centuries ago in the Pharmacopeia (a list of medicines and their uses) it has only been stigmatized since the 1930s. The stigma was driven by the wealthy newspaper and timber industry moguls, since hemp is a far better substance to make paper with because it grows so much faster than trees. But the newspaper and timber industry were thick as thieves and weren't about to let that money go to hemp farmers. So they began a campaign to make marijuana illegal so that hemp would also be illegal to grow. That guaranteed their wealth. Nowadays newspapers are barely surviving, and news channels and apps are the way we get our info. Why hasn't the ban on hemp fallen away too?

  • Also available in its entirety including citations at the following link (if you don't have an i-tunes device):

    netce.com/coursecontent.php...

  • Thank you Chris, You have given this community knowledge which they can use to maybe free themselves from some of the MS pain. I live in Washington were it is legal and my Doctor has written a prescription for me. I agree that cannabis has been very effective for many symptoms. My question for you, how can I avoid the head high. CBD oil does not seem to be as effective on its own for me and I still need to work and drive. Has a standard been set for the amount of THC to CBD in certain hybrids that can be trusted?

  • The truth is that some THC really needs to be introduced with CBD for the true medical benefits to manifest. Obviously, a lower THC will keep your head more clear generally.

    As far as the rating of a strain, usually the grower or seedbank has laboratory testing done for the chemical breakdown of a strain.

    Have you tried anything yet, or are you gearing up to explore?

  • I have been growing for years but the named starts are not always accurate. I see on the internet that in Europe they have named strains but I don't trust what I will get or how to get.

  • Do you grow from clones or from seed? There's always going to be some variation with seed depending on nutrition and methodology even if it is the correct strain.

  • Seeds have become hard to come by so the last couple of years I have used clones. I would like to develop a strain for my micro climate but without male plants it is a no go.

  • i understand your position, entirely. I may have some info for you soon... we can discuss that on a PM (private msg)

  • Great information!

  • Chris, you've whet my appetite for greater understanding of cannabis. I'd be interested in learning more!

  • Feel free to ask what you're interested in learning so I can know what to elaborate on.

  • Chris- are you familiar with the patents held by the Dept of Health Human Svc? It is quite interesting that the govt has been obtaining patents on a substance that it continues to claim has no benefit since 1999.