The Cannabis Plant
The history of marijuana cultivation and use dates back thousands of years. The first written account of medical cannabis cultivation was found in Chinese records dating from the 28th century B.C.E.
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The general consensus is that there are three species within the genus mainly: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis
Cannabis is an annual, dioecious, flowering herb and can be used in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, as a medicine, as a fiber producing plant for making paper and clothing, and as a food source and for making oils and fuels.
The cannabis plant produces a variety of different chemical compounds that interact with our body and thus produce the different effects one experiences.
Origins of cannabis is believed to be in Central to South West Asia, and it is currently cultivated throughout the globe.
When stored correctly, the degradation of the primary cannabinoids in properly cured cannabis is negligible. The main reason for any potency decrease is exposure to air, light and high temperatures. Cannabis should be stored in:
- A cool/dark area
- An air-tight container
- A refrigerator/freezer (for long term storage)
Temperature control can also help with handling and administration. Low temperatures can make a medication with really sticky consistency more amenable to handling, whereas warming medications such as Rick Simpson’s oil, can help with dispensing.
Om’s methodology and approach for successful cannabis use
There are 3 major concepts a cannabis user can familiarize themselves with which will help fine-tune and individualize their experience with this medicinal plant.
The ratio between the two major cannabinoids can make a dramatic difference in the individual’s experience. THC can help with insomnia and pain, whereas CBD can help with inflammation and anxiety. Depending on the patient and what one is trying to accomplish a patient can choose if THC or CBD would work best for them. A naive cannabis patient would normally want to start with CBD, as its effects are easier to handle.
Methods of Administration
The method of administration is one of the major ways a patient can control their experience with cannabis. Please see the “Methods of Administration” page for more detailed information.
In general, one should think of ingestion as long lasting and inhalation/sublingual (under the tongue) administrations as fast acting. Knowing the difference between these allows a patient to manipulate how they achieve relief from their symptoms. Familiarize yourself with the different times of effect, the extent of effect, metabolism and bioavailability of the different methods.
Layering the methods of administration is a very important concept for any cannabis user. Depending on what symptoms a user has, one can manipulate the dose, the timing of the effect experienced and the ratios of the cannabinoids for best results.
Dosing and Titration
The dose and how to titrate the dose of cannabis is the third major concept for our patients. A dose is a specific amount or weight of a medication. A dosage attaches time to a dose. Because of the safety and efficacy of cannabis, one can feel comfortable when learning how much of the difference cannabinoids should be put in their bodies.
Titration is the process of determining the medication dose that reduces symptoms to the greatest possible degree while avoiding possible side effects.
Cannabis is a very safe substance, much safer than coffee and sugar let alone medications like opioids. Because of its safety profile, a patient can take control, and there is no wrong answer when deciding how to find a dosing schedule that meets your needs. As a new patient, realize that there are a lot of parameters one can manipulate in order to achieve maximum efficacy for themselves.
Start with low doses, be methodical with your approach, have a log book and enjoy the process of healing.
Side effects of Cannabis use:
Like any medication, cannabis has side effects. Here are some issues a new patient should be aware of:
-The intensity of the psychoactivity (euphoria or anxiety/paranoia)
-Dizziness especially important for elderly patients (potential fall risk)
-Red eyes and eye irritation
-Potential drug to drug interactions (especially for patients with a compromised liver, or patients that have brain issues such as epilepsy)
-Attention and short memory issues
-Bronchitis (if smoked)
Anytime a patient starts a new medication, they should start on a day they have nothing else to do and be sure they are in a safe environment and the people around them know what is going on.
Do not use cannabis and drive.
Examples of cannabis dosing and titration:
Example 1: A patient who wakes up with pain can start the day by vaporizing and eating at the same time. For the initial 90 to 120 minutes, inhalation or a tincture takes care of the pain. As its effects are leaving the body, the edible is coming onboard and the patient is covered for the next 8 to 10 hours. If any pain breaks through, a quick inhale will take care of it. If needed, after 6 to 8 hours, the patient eats again to maintain an appropriate cannabinoid level throughout the day.
Example 2: A patient has insomnia and usually gets up after 1 to 2 hours of sleep. In this case one would eat an hour before sleep, and smoke to go to sleep. When the patient would usually be waking up, the edible will take effect and the patient remains asleep. If the patient wakes up 3-4 hours after initiation of sleep, then both ingestion and inhalation should be done at the same time, just before going to bed.