How To Use Medical Marijuana When Smoking Is Not An Option

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With the stigma of medical marijuana fading quickly, more and more patients are starting the journey to natural pain relief, without the use of opioids or traditional pain medication. But for some, the idea of smoking a product for relief can be intimidating and off-putting. We’ve broken down the most common non-smoking medical marijuana delivery systems so you can decide which one is right for you.

Vaporizers

Vaping has become one of the more popular ways to consume medical marijuana in recent years. With traditional smoking, the plant gets hot enough for combustion to occur and smoke to form, which can be hard for some people to inhale. When vaping, the plant is heated at a much lower temperature, releasing the medical benefits without the smoke. Vaporizers can range anywhere from large home units, to pocket-friendly pens. While you can find some less expensive start-up kits, vaporizers and accessories usually run anywhere from $100-$300 USD.

  • Pros: No combustible smoke. Immediate relief.
  • Cons: Expensive start-up costs. Device needs warm-up time. Device needs to be recharged

Oils and Tinctures

Many people opt to use an oil or tincture as their delivery method. Both are usually ingested under the tongue or along the inside of the cheek. Most are available in a dropper or a spray bottle. For both the oil and tincture, THC and CBD are extracted from the plant by either alcohol extraction or approved extraction machines. For making the oil, the extracted cannabinoid is added to a carrier oil (such as coconut oil). For a tincture, the plant is placed in an alcohol and left to cure for a couple of months. After cured, the liquid is strained. Both oils and tinctures should be placed in a dark bottle and stored in a cool, dark place.

Oils and tinctures are some of the highest and most-potent products available but come with the benefit of being able to control your dosage for more consistency. When starting oils or tinctures, it’s best to try one droplet or spray and wait 10 minutes and then add a dose every 10 minutes to achieve the desired effect. Once you know what dosage works for you, you can drop or spray as needed.

  • Pros: Easy to control your dose. Easy on the lungs. The preferred method for disabled individuals and children
  • Cons: Expensive for those who need a higher dosage

Edibles and Drinks

Edibles go beyond the pot brownies of the 60’s and 70’s. But, the world of edible marijuana has grown more diverse in recent decades, even including world-renowned marijuana food chefs. One of the easiest ways to introduce medical marijuana into your everyday diet is to create a butter or oil and cook your food the way you normally would.

As for drinks, your local medical marijuana dispensary probably sells marijuana-infused juices, smoothies, and teas. You can also make your own at home by steeping a bud, a small piece of wax, or a bit of tincture in hot water and adding it to your beverage of choice.

One thing to remember, the cannabinoids are released through the digestive tract, so it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to kick in. Because of this, it can be hard to ingest the correct dose, so start small and start slow.

  • Pros: Great for stress relief. Long-lasting results,
  • Cons: Can be difficult to calculate dosage. Longer wait time for relief.

Topicals and Patches

For patients that want localized-pain relief without the effects of feeling “high,” topicals are the way to go. Marijuana-infused topicals can include creams, balms, lotions, patches, and even lubricants. They are absorbed through the skin, and though the topical contains THC, most topicals won’t enter the bloodstream, only your cannabinoid receptors. There is some debate over the efficacy of topicals and patches, though many claim to have almost immediate localized pain relief.

  • Pros: Localized pain relief. No “high” feeling.
  • Cons: Does not help with cancer symptoms, epilepsy, glaucoma, or PTSD. The efficacy is debatable amongst the medical marijuana community.

Capsules

For those that want their medicine to look like actual medicine, you can’t get any more traditional than a capsule, or pill. Capsules are able to deliver the most controlled dose on the market and don’t require any preparation or clean up, which is a big plus to new or intimidated consumers.

  • Pros: Precise dosing. No prep or cleanup.
  • Cons: Takes time to achieve the desired effect.

Suppositories

Suppositories, though not the first choice for the consumers are actually the most efficient way to deliver the benefits of medical marijuana. Because it is administered rectally, it is absorbed into the bloodstream much quicker and delivers around 80% of the medicinal effects. This is due to a lack of interaction with the liver, which metabolizes THC before it reaches your bloodstream. Suppositories will not give you the high of traditional marijuana and have no known side effects. There are also vaginal suppositories meant to relax muscles around the ovaries, cervix, and uterus, without any psychotropic effects.

  • Pros: Highest efficacy of product. Immediate and long-lasting effects.
  • Cons: Can be difficult or embarrassing to administer. Must be refrigerated.

Are you using a form of non-smoking medical marijuana? Have you noticed a difference in your pain levels, or how you feel after taking your dosage? We’d love to hear from you!

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on February 15, 2018.

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Do You Have One Of These Common Medical Marijuana Ailments?

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With the many changes happening with medical and recreational marijuana, it can be hard not to be curious. Many patients are hoping to move to a more natural approach to pain relief and relief from constant sickness. It can be hard to determine whether or not medical marijuana is a good fit for your condition. We’ve put together the most common ailments that doctors prescribe medical marijuana for.

Cancer and Cancer Treatment-Related Symptoms

One of the first non-disputed ailments used to treat the symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments, the general term applies to more than 100 conditions. Each has their own characteristics, but symptoms usually include fatigue, substantial pain, fever, cough, severe weight loss. Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery often lead to pain and a whole host of other side effects. THC has been proven to reduce nausea and vomiting and helping the patient regain their appetite.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disorder that debilitates your central nervous system and is often fatal. Symptoms include painful joints, headaches, muscles spasms and tremors, bowel issues, and painful headaches. The current course of treatment for MS can lead to heart damage and cause sufferers to be more susceptible to infections. Medical marijuana has been shown to reduce pain and seizure-like symptoms.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder that causes patients to convulse and in some cases lose consciousness. While the cause of epilepsy is unknown, in many cases it is the result of infections, tumors, and brain damage. Side effects of traditional medications used to treat epilepsy include difficulty sleeping, changes in mood, double vision, and general unsteadiness. Some Epilepsy sufferers use medical marijuana in conjunction with traditional medications. Some find that medical marijuana helps to control their convulsion so well, they no longer have the need for traditional medication.

Major Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Just like those suffering from cancer or AIDS, depression and anxiety are medical conditions that can affect the way someone goes through everyday life. Sufferers of extreme anxiety can have intense reactions such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating. People with depression can feel these symptoms while also including, insomnia, feelings of apprehension or dread, restlessness, and an inability to concentrate.

Many treatments are available for both issues, though for some it had be hard to determine which one. Medical Marijuana has been shown to reduce extreme anxiety, as well as produce a calming effect, leading to someone suffering from anxiety and/or depression to continue their everyday activities. A CBD-heavy strain is usually the first course of action with medical marijuana.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease affecting the eyes which lead to ocular pressure, vision problems, and eventually blindness. Severe pain, vomiting, nausea, and tunnel vision are a few of the symptoms that an estimated three million sufferers endure. Traditional treatments such as surgery are used to lower the intraocular pressure.

In 2003, The American Academy of Ophthalmology stated that medical marijuana and its derivatives can lower the intraocular pressure of the eye when administered by an IV, or orally. This reduction in pressure results in a slower progression of the disease.

AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the final stage of HIV. It causes a severe breakdown of the immune system, making it very difficult for the body to combat other diseases and infections. Even though there have been significant advances in treatment options, the disease is almost always terminal. Throughout the course of the disease, patients may suffer from extreme weight loss, vomiting and nausea, excessive fatigue and weakness, chills, and fever.

Medical marijuana has been shown to increase appetite, combating what is known as “wasting syndrome,” and allowing the patient to receive nutrients through food again. Medical marijuana also reduces nausea and vomiting, and relieves pain. Many AIDS patients who use medical marijuana find they no longer need to take opioids to decrease their severe pain.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disease that affects a person’s ability to move. It is estimated that about one million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s disease. Typical signs of Parkinson’s range anywhere from a subtle tremor to increased jerking or shaking movements, and can cause partial paralysis of the body. As the disease progresses, the patient may begin to suffer from dystonia, changes in speech, difficulty swallowing, hunched posture, and loss of fine and gross motor skills.

Many of the typical medications prescribed for Parkinson’s come with significant negative side-effects. Medical marijuana can offer a combination of anti-anxiety, antioxidant, and pain relief. Medical marijuana is currently available to Parkinson’s patients in 28 states.

Medical marijuana has shown to be effective for treatments of over 100 more ailments in a variety of different states. If you want to know if your ailment is covered in your medical marijuana state, contact your local dispensary for a complete list of what’s available to you.

Are you currently using medical marijuana to treat your symptoms? How has it helped you in your journey? We would love to hear from you.

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on February 7, 2018. 

 

The Need For “Organic” Marijuana

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When taking medication, consumers want their product to be as clean as possible. With the continued rapid growth of not just medical marijuana but recreational marijuana, growers are looking for ways to cut the expense of pesticide “cleaning” and eliminate future potential lawsuits.

States and Pesticide Removal

The State of Colorado brought up the concern of cannabis being grown with pesticides in 2012, but could not receive guidance for funding for research from the federal government due to marijuana federal illegality. In combination with this and growers opposition to changes in the decontamination process, the state of Colorado has kept inspections at low priority. While many entrepreneurs have taken this opportunity to pivot into becoming “cleaning” services for growers, some growers and retailers have continued with their original practices, leaving them susceptible to lawsuits.

But Colorado is not the only state with concerns. The State of Oregon recently counter 900 failures of pesticide removal from marijuana, including one instance where 370 batches had to be recalled due to excessive pesticide levels. And, in 2016, the City of Seattle issued alerts to consumers of the potential risks of pesticide ingestion when inhaling.

What Happens When You Inhale Pesticides

While the known effects of inhaling pesticides are limited due to lack or research, it is known that pesticides when smoked enter your bloodstream similarly to being injected. Currently, the medical community is relating the effects of pesticide smoke inhalation to those that have had overexposure to pesticides in other forms, most notably field workers and people that have ingested high levels through food.

  • The minor effects of overexposure can lead to: abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, as well as skin and eye problems.
  • Long-term effects of overexposure can lead to: Cancers including, leukemia, lymphoma, brain, kidney, breast, prostate, pancreas, liver, lung, and skin cancers. Neurological issues and limited brain functions. Reproductive issues including birth defects, fetal death and altered fetal growth, and impaired fertility in males.

The Need For “Organic” Weed

Companies like Clean Green provide certification to growers that use clean, sustainable, natural and organically-based practices. Because the term “organic” is federally regulated by the USDA, and marijuana is not yet a federally recognized crop, it cannot legally be recognized as organic, no matter how environmentally friendly the cultivation process is.

In May of 2017, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington signed a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Ann Rivers, paving the way for Washington to create what is believed to be the first system in the United States to certify marijuana as organic. The new law creates “a voluntary program for the certification and regulation of organic marijuana products.”

Sen. River said to the media “This is consumer-driven. As we have moved forward in the legal marijuana market, we’re hearing people say, ‘We don’t want any pesticides, fungicides, none of that stuff in our weed.’”

What are your concerns regarding pesticides and marijuana? Let us know!

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on January 7, 2018.

Why The Weed Industry Needs More Diversity

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As the marijuana industry continues to grow, growers and retailers are looking for ways to become a more diverse community and business. The marijuana industry is especially inclusive in regards of age, but is somewhat lacking with regards to women and people of color. But, with the introduction of professional networking groups like Minority Cannabis and Women Grow, that is on the road to change.

Women In the Marijuana Industry
A recent survey from the Cannabis Consumers Coalition has stated that a number of women consuming marijuana is now roughly equal to that of men. Jane West, cannabis entrepreneur and founder of the group Women Grow believes women should be flooding the marijuana industry.

“First, I want every woman to know that there’s a place for you in this industry, and there will never be a better time to find it,” West says. “The legal cannabis industry doesn’t have the entrenched patriarchal power structures that dominate most of professional life, and the sector is growing fast, so jump in and find a way to apply your skill set. Create your vision, and think big.”

People of Color in the Marijuana Industry
A recent investigation from Buzzfeed found that of the 3,600 storefront marijuana dispensaries, only around 1% are black-owned companies. Many believe this to be a direct result of the increased likelihood of marijuana-related arrests in the black community. According to a 2013 report from the American Civil Liberties Union, marijuana use is roughly equal amongst black and white individuals, though black individuals are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. While over half the United States have some form of legalized marijuana, some of these states bar people who have been convicted of drug crimes from owning, working, or investing in legal marijuana businesses.

While issues like diversity and decriminalization are controversial topics for the marijuana industry, more people of color are speaking out through conventions, panels, and the media to make sure their voices are heard.

Marvin Washington, New York Jets defensive lineman and cannabis investor thinks minorities have an historic chance to turn around the industry, and the perception of people of color within the industry, around. “We have the opportunity to do this right and make sure the people that suffered when cannabis was in the black market . . . have the opportunity to participate in the upswing,” he said.

Why Diversity Matters
The inherent value of bringing new cultures and perspectives to an industry is only a small reason diversity in the legal marijuana industry is important. Removing the negative social stigma of marijuana, as well as easing some of the legal barriers that inhibit marijuana dispensary expansion, will bring more jobs and more economic growth, especially in minority communities. Danielle Schumacher at THC Staffing Group, a business dedicated to helping diversify the legal marijuana industry agrees.

“Diversity is far more than just a moral issue,” Schumacher noted. “In the 21st century, it’s a business and economic necessity.”

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on November 8, 2017.

How Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Can Increase Home Values

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It’s no secret that medical and recreational marijuana have a striking amount consumer benefits, but here’s a surprising benefit you might not be aware of — increased home values! A recent study published in the academic journal Real Estate Economics concluded that homes within 0.1 miles of Denver’s 103 marijuana dispensaries saw increased home valuations by up to 8.4%. Based on average housing prices in those areas, the value was estimated to be $27,000 for a typical, single-family home.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Georgia, and California State University, these claims are based on real estate appreciation since January 1, 2014, when recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado.

What This Means For State Governments

Researchers and politicians from states that have enacted or are looking to pass marijuana legalization bills are now looking to factual, statistical evidence from cities like Denver on the benefits of having a local dispensary. For example, local San Francisco lawmakers have been making great strides to keep marijuana retailers in already zoned locations, despite the plea of the city’s Chamber of Commerce to do just the opposite.

Moussa Diop, a leading researcher of the study states, “The presence of retail marijuana establishments clearly had a short-term positive impact on nearby properties in Denver. This suggests that in addition to the sales and business taxes generated from the retail marijuana industry, municipalities may experience an increase in property taxes.”

Others suggest that it’s not only the prospect of growing and legally using marijuana that is causing the increased demand for housing but the job prospects associated in those legalized states.

“The legalization affects both the demand and the supply in the residential housing market,” says economics professor Cheng Cheng, an author on the study. “Areas where it’s legal are “going to attract more home buyers, including marijuana users as well as entrepreneurs and job seekers.”

What This Means for Politicians

Many of our current lawmakers (and some real estate investors with serious cash) have feigned concern over whether marijuana dispensaries will damage local property values. But, with these long-term, factual based statistics proving just the opposite, politicians and lobbyists alike have the opportunity to spin what constituents are already asking for into a positive for them — “I’m pushing for legalization because it’s good for my community.”

If you live close to a legal dispensary and have seen first hand the increase of your home valuation, we’d love to hear from you!

Originally posted at www.medicalmarijuana.com on October 25, 2017.

Branding Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana

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As more states are voting to legalize recreational marijuana, growers embarking on new businesses are looking into how to brand their products. Some are confused on where to begin. If you’re lucky enough to be in one of the legalized states and are thinking of opening a dispensary yourself, we have some branding tips to get you started.

The Medical Side of Branding

For those that treat medical marijuana as part of their overall wellness, the branding and advertising of such strains are just as important as those who are using recreationally. Medical marijuana patients are looking for labeled, specific information. What symptoms does this strain help treat? What are the side effects? For many, this is as clinical as picking up any other prescription, so why not treat it as such.

Advertising and branding should focus more on the results and medicinal aspects of the strain. By law, medical dispensaries have a strict code regarding language. Staying away from terms like ‘bong’ and ‘pot’ help to destigmatize the drug, as well as make well-deserving patients feel less intimidated.

The Recreational Side of Branding

While the image of recreational marijuana is beginning to turn favorable, the imagery of marijuana can sometimes give way to the old stoner stereotype. The question is, in today’s world of advertising, how do you make a marijuana ad as appealing and modern as a liquor ad?

Think about what your consumer base might look like. For some, this will be their first experience with marijuana. Without the overhead of the medical community, language and imagery can be more lax and whimsical, but you should still focus on informing the consumer on how’s and why’s of your particular strains. Turn your knowledge and expertise into a learning experience. Customers new to marijuana, and even those with some experience will appreciate your forward thinking approach, turning new customers into returning customers.

Watch The Laws Carefully

The first thing to think about are your local laws. For example, the state of Colorado has banned all edibles resembling animals, or fun shapes. While those types of edibles may be less intimidating for new consumers, your business is not worth the risk. Consult local businesses and trusted local law enforcement for a review of the do’s and don’t of your area. As always, document everything!

Are you a legal supplier, medical or recreational? What have you found most helpful when it comes to marketing your product. We’d love to hear from you!

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on August 30, 2017.

Cannabis Skincare: Just a Fad, or Here to Stay?

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Every year it seems there’s a new lineup of skincare products promising to do wonders for your skin. They claim to be clinically-tested miracle solutions for various skin issues ranging from acne to eczema and even wrinkles, but they are rarely live up to the hype. So, it’s natural to be skeptical about cannabinoid products and their usefulness in improving your skin.

Marijuana topicals comprise a wide range of balms, lotions, salves, creams, and oils that have been infused with cannabis. When absorbed through the skin, they can provide targeted relief for various forms of pain and inflammation. For those concerned about any psychoactive effects or “high” often associated with marijuana, it’s important to note that although topicals contain cannabinoid elements, they are non-psychoactive.

There’s still plenty of debate around the efficacy of these products, and results may vary depending on the individual user. So, Do Cannabis Skin Care Products work? Logically, one would expect that they would. Biologically speaking, your body has something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) when is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors in your brain and throughout your nervous system. This system is involved a number of physiological processes and can help regulate things like your appetite, mood, and even your level of physical pain. In other words, your ECS helps maintain homeostasis throughout your body.

Cannabis-based skincare products may be limited in their efficacy due in part to the fact that it mostly affects anatomical structures within 1 centimeter of your skin. Deeper issues such in your muscular or skeletal system may be too “deep” to be actively relieved by a topical cream or balm.

However, your skin itself is an organ—the largest organ in your body, actually. And your skin performs a lot of functions that may not readily occur to most people. Your skin cells have the ability to synthesize vitamin D, it protects your internal organs, and can help regulate body temperature. So keeping your skin healthy is key to an overall healthy body.

The antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in cannabis topicals can help combat dry skin and rashes which can lead to other long term skin problems such as persistent wrinkles. In addition, these products are often combined with other scientifically proven analgesic compounds such as menthol, capsaicin, or camphor.

So are cannabis skincare products the latest “fountain of youth” we’ve all been searching for? Well, they say that beauty is only skin deep, so if you’re trying to improve the look and feel of your skin, it might be worth a shot. Will it stick around for a while? The odds seem good, and we’ve already become accustomed to seeing hemp oil used in various shampoos, lotions, and other body care products. So it’s not difficult to envision a future in which we are all stocking up on cannabis topicals to improve our epidermis. Whether or not it will work for you in treating a pesky skin issue, you may just have to try it out for yourself, and as always, consult a physician for serious skin issues.

Originally published at www.medicalmarijuana.com on August 4, 2017.