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Understanding Cannabinoids


  • Tetrahydrocannabinol - THC - Delta 9-tras-tetrahydrocannabinol - Delta 9 THC is the prime psychoactive component of the plant. Medicinally, it appears to ease moderate pain and to be neuroprotective. THC occurs naturally in the fresh plant at very low concentrations. The fresh plant produces the acidic version called Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THCA is a potential cannabinoid treatment for type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders. When marijuana is exposed to heating, oxygen, and/or light, it is then converted to their neutral counterparts. THCA is then quickly converted to THC at a higher concentration.
  • Cannabidiol - CBD - CBD also occurs in almost all strains and is the second most interesting cannabinoid in regards to medial cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD lacks noticeable psychoactive effects. Nevertheless, CBD has valuable medical properties. CBD appears to work synergistically with THC, bolstering its medical effects while moderating its psycho-activity. It is also thought to improve wakefulness and to enhance THC's activity against pain. Taken by itself, CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-epileptic, sedative, and neuro-protective actions. It is also a potent anti-oxidant, protecting against chemical damage due to oxidation. Studies have suggested that CBD could protect against the development of diabetes, certain kinds of cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, brain and nerve damage due to stroke, alcoholism, nausea, inflammatory bowel disease, and Huntington's disease. In order for CBD to affect the euphoria commonly referred to as a "high," THC must be present in quantities ordinarily psychoactive. CBD can contribute to the "high" by interacting with THC to enhance or antagonize (interfere or less) certain qualities of the euphoria. 
  • Cannabinol - CBN - The third most common cannabinoid is CBN. The plant does not produce CBN per se. It is the degradation (oxidative) product of THC. Fresh samples of marijuana contain very little CBN but poor curing, poor storage, or processing can cause much of the THC to be oxidized to CBN. CBN seems to enhance THC's disorienting qualities. One may feel more dizzy, "drugged" or generally "messed up" but not necessarily euphoric. High levels of CBN in medical marijuana is not desirable since it represents a loss of 90% of the psychoactivity of its precursor THC.
  • CannabichromeneCBC - CBC is minimally psychoactive in pure form but its thought to interact with THC and CBD to enhance the "high", causing a different medicinal response. Evidence has suggested that it may play a role in anti-inflammatory effects, and may contribute to the overall analgesic effects of medical cannabis.
  • Cannabicyclol - CBL - CBL is a degradative product like CBN. Light converts CBC to CBL. 


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Medical Marijuana, proven by modern research, benefits a wide range of conditions. 

The following includes the ranges of conditions that medical cannabis has been proven by research to benefit: 

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Rheumatism
  • HIV (AIDS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Wasting Syndrome (Cachexia)
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Chronic Pain 
  • Diabetes
  • Severe Pain
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Lou Gehrig's Disease
  • Tourette's Syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypertension
  • Hepatitis C
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Depression & Bipolar Disorder
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Inflammation
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Nerve Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Incontinence 
  •  Appetite Stimulation
  • …and more


Cannabinoids and the High: 


Sativa vs. Indica


The "high" is a subjective experience based on the individual and one's personality, mood, disposition, experience with the drug, and method of ingestion. Medicinal marijuana comes in two basic types - sativa and indica. Which type you choose will determine the effects you feel. Each type has its own distinct set of characteristics. 


The sativa effects ("high") is often characterized as uplifting and energetic. The effects of sativa marijuana are mostly cerebral. They give a feeling of optimism and well being, as well as providing a good measure of pain relief for certain symptoms. Sativas are very rich in THC content with less CBDA/CBD. They are known to have a quite spacey, or hallucinogenic, effect. Most feel sativa strains are a good choice for daytime consumption. 


The indica effects ("high") is often described as a pleasant body buzz. Indicas are great for relaxation, stress relief, and for an overall sense of calm and serenity. Indicas are also very effective for overall body pain relief, and often used in the treatment of insomnia. They are the late - evening choice of many smokers as an all night sleep aid. Indicas are generally more of a blend of cannabinoids - often rich in CBDA/CBD. A few indica strains are very potent in THC, enabling the smoker to simply sit still and enjoy the experience of the smoke. 


Medical marijuana strains are available in the entire spectrum, from pure sativa strains to pure indica strains, and in every combination in between. 



Terpenes


Terpenes are the major components of resin, and of essential oils and extracts produced from resin. Terpenes function as smell and taste molecules, and also as bio-synthetic building blocks for the plant. About 10-29% of marijuana smoke resin is composed of terpenes. The percentage of terpenes and the ratios in which they are found vary from plant to plant variety. Age, maturation, collection methods, climate, and weather all affect terpene and flavonoid production. Terpenes are produced in the tricomes, the same glands where the THC is produced. 


You may maximize the medical benefits of cannabis by breaking up the bud prior to heating it and inhale the aromas, this releases the volatile terpenes by rupturing its resin glands within the bud. Deeply inhale through your nose and wait at least five minutes. This may maximize the benefits of the medicine. 


Terpenes and their interactions with each other and effects on brain activities is a fascinating territory, and another level of exploration. By learning more about odors of the terpenes, you may be able to predict the medicinal properties each lend to a bud. 


Cannabis also contains over 20 flavonoids, a family of chemicals common to plants. Some of these flavonoids, known as cannaflavins, are unique to cannabis. Flavonoids are thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and may help protect against cancer and other diseases. 

"Effectively blocked [the] progression of arthritis." - Malfait et al. 2000. The nonpsychoacticannabis constituents cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine. Journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97:9561-9566.

"Even tons of Oxycontin can't cut my never-ending nerve pain, and won't control the constant muscle spasms in my legs. Medical marijuana brings instant relief, and I can live a more normal life now - working full-time, paying taxes like everyone else. Medical marijuana makes all the difference for people like me."  - Jeff Swenson, computer support specialist 1998 car crash paraplegic

"…safer than most medicines prescribed every day. If marijuana were a new discovery rather than a well known substance carrying cultural and political baggage, it would be hailed as a wonder drug." -Lester Grinspoon, Harvard Medical School, emeritus professor of psychiatry, coauthor of Marijuana, the Forbidden Medicine.

"Cannabinoids- the active components of Cannabis saliva and their derivatives - exert palliative effects in cancer patients by preventing nausea, vomiting and pain and by stimulating appetite. In addition, these compounds have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumor cells…Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional chemotherapies." - Guzman, 2003. Cannabinoid: potential anticancer agents. Nature Reviews: Cancer Volume 3, October 2003.


Modern research documents that marijuana compares favorably to other medicines. Many patients report dramatic reductions in their need for other riskier and more expensive prescribed medication when using medical marijuana. After literally thousands of years of continuous use by people of all cultures and eras, there exists not a single recorded incident of death or overdose caused by marijuana.



Marijuana Relieves Pain

Name the cause and type of pain, and chances are that recent double-blind research and/or decades of anecdotal information from patients shows that medical marijuana provides effective relief. This includes chronic pain resulting from severe injuries and conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, EDS, neuropathy related to Diabetes, HIV, and other conditions. Where pain is connected to inflammation, research has found that medical marijuana delivers site-specific anti-inflammatory relief. Most patients report that marijuana doesn't reduce their ability to function normally the way opiates do, and that they can reduce dramatically or even eliminate their need for opiates and similar risky pain-relievers when using marijuana. 



Marijuana Reduces Suffering from Joint Pain

Double-blind research documents that medical marijuana significantly improves pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep, inflammation, and intensity of pain. Other research has found that marijuana effectively blocks the progression of arthritis.



Smoking NOT Required

Research supports that vaporizers completely eliminate the negative effects of smoking. Patients also can administer medical marijuana by eating it cooked in many ways - in butter, cakes, cookies, sauces, etc. Patients report medicinal benefits from drinking medical marijuana in teas and from administering via compress or tincture. Smoking isn't the only way to receive this medicine - but smoking or vaporizing are the  easiest ways for patients to feel beneficial effects almost immediately, and to realize their greatest ability to make delicate adjustments in dosage.  


Medical Cannabis (Marijuana)


All information contained within this site is for general knowledge purposes. EDSers United does not promote the use of any illegal substances. Please read EDSers United's Disclaimer Information before proceeding.

Cannabis In the News

  • Patient's Corner - Pat Cavanaugh explains in an issue of ReLeaf (pg.4) how medicinal cannabis helps him manage his EDS Symptoms
  • Bill would let states oversee Marijuana - Source: CNN; Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul launch an effort to end federal enforcement of marijuana laws. CNN's Brian Todd reports.
  • Medicinal marijuana goes public - George Washington used it for toothaches. Queen Victoria used it for menstrual cramps. And in 1996 Brenda Rochford uses marijuana to relieve the chronic pain of a rare, debilitating disease. Marijuana has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries, and is gaining prominence as "buyers clubs" spring up across North America. But Today marijuana is against the law federally. Unlike George and Victoria, Brenda Rochford has been arrested twice. CBC's The Health Show takes a look at medicinal marijuana.