Study Shows Majority of Chronic Pain & Mental Health Patients Prefer Cannabis to Opioids

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

A new study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy suggests chronic pain and mental health patients prefer cannabis to opioids. In the study, researchers surveyed 250 patients, of which 63% used cannabis in place of opioids, sedatives, and antidepressants. Patients who substituted cannabis for opioids and benzodiazepines, which were the two primary classes of drugs that were substituted, cited fewer side-effects, better symptom management, and a better safety profile as their top reasons for making the swap. This study has huge implications when it comes to battling the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation today. With fewer side effects and a higher safety profile, patients can feel more in control of effectively managing their symptoms without risking adverse side effects or overdose.

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

How Medicinal Marijuana Can Treat Migraines

Photo Credit: The Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: The Medicinal Marijuana Association

In a study published by in Pharmacotherapy, researchers determined medicinal marijuana effectively reduced the frequency of migraine headaches in 103 of its 121 participants. The ability for cannabinoids to interact with and bind to pain receptors in the brain allow it to mitigate pain perception.  Participants reported inhalation as their preferred vehicle of administration due to the fast onset of its therapeutic effects. They also opted for marijuana with higher concentrations of CBD in order to avoid the plant's psychoactive effects and continue with their daily routines. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

How Effective is Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain Relief?

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

According to a study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids effectively treat chronic pain. Cannabis was proven most effective for treating chronic pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) or chemotherapy. Additionally, cannabis and its cannabinoids helped to manage the muscle spasms associated with MS and the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatments. Researchers have determined THC and CBD are the most favorable cannabis compounds for pain relief, and our bodies naturally receive and interact with cannabinoids using receptors within the endocannabinoid system in order to produce optimal pain relief.  

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

As more states implement medical marijuana laws, and researchers become more interested in understanding the benefits of the medication, we are becoming learning more about the mysteries behind this plant and how it is able to target such a wide range of conditions and symptoms. Many conditions are accompanied by unbearable chronic pain, but now research has shown cannabis is not only an analgesic that provides effective pain relief, but that it does so without the risk of addiction or adverse side effects like its pharmaceutical counterparts. Physicians may prescribe medical marijuana for chronic muscle spasms, neuropathic pain, cancer-associated discomfort, and other pain issues.

Cancer and HIV patients often suffer from nausea and a decreased appetite, which prevents them from receiving the nutrition they need to aid recovery. Medical marijuana, however, has been shown to increase appetite and manage nausea. One of the specific cannabinoids in marijuana, CBD, reduces seizures in severe and treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy. Cannabis might also extend its benefits beyond physical health to mental health in the relief of psychiatric disorders and mental illness. Not only might it relieve anxiety and depression, but studies have found it could also help those who suffer from PTSD by alleviating feelings of fear or panic.

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

The Beginner’s Guide to Consuming Medical Cannabis

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Beginning a medical marijuana regimen can seem like a daunting task. Not only does the efficacy depend on a wide variety of factors, like the cannabinoid composition, vehicle, frequency, and dose of the medication, but the therapy also varies from patient to patient. For patients who don't know where to begin, here are some good tips across the board. Remember to start with a low dose and go slow when considering increasing it. The efficacy of the dosing regimen is highly dependent on the vehicle of administration one chooses. With some vehicles, like smoking, you will be able to gauge how effective your dose is fairly quickly. Smoking is also a fairly inexpensive method to dosing, but combustion can be harmful to the lungs and is not ideal for patients suffering lung damage, asthma, or emphysema. Similarly, vaporization offers almost instant relief, and it's much less harmful to the lungs. 

Other methods, like edibles, can take a long time to take effect, so you may not want to increase your dose until you have waited at least an hour. Once in effect, however, the relief they produce can last for hours. Many thing edibles can be measured at a more precise level than other methods, and they are a great alternative for patients who do not want to inhale their medication. The effects can be radically different from other methods of administration, and can be longer lasting and stronger. Patients should use caution when trying edibles for the first. time. 

Fortunately, if you're just starting out with medical marijuana and fear experimentation, our tool can help you along the process. As you begin to experiment with your regimen, you can keep track of it by journaling on a daily basis so that you can monitor what does and does not work for treating your symptoms. You can use our Medical Officer approved base guidelines for specific symptoms, and then titrate your dose until they adequately meet your needs. This post has been provided in part by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Conditions Medical Marijuana Could Help

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Medical cannabis is full of chemical compounds called cannabinoids and terpenes that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. The different concentrations of compounds allow the plant to have a wide array of different effects, which make cannabis suitable for many different conditions and symptoms, or even combat the side effects of other treatment regimens. For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, cannabis can alleviate side effects associated with the treatment like fatigue, nausea, pain, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Similarly, HIV/AIDS treatment regimens produce similar side effects that can be alleviated by medical cannabis. 

Patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis experience neurological problems and muscle spasms. Medical Cannabis can help alleviate these symptoms, which can allow patients to gain control over their muscles, regain bladder control, improve vision and mobility, and thereby improve their overall quality of life. Cannabis can help those with epilepsy by reducing the frequency of seizures and even, at times, eliminating them all together. Studies have found CBD is an effective treatment option even in those who suffer from forms that had previously proven treatment-resistant. Chronic pain accompanies a wide range of conditions, but research has found cannabis can be as effective as pharmaceutical options. This offers patients a safer alternative to dangerous pharmaceuticals like opioids. Lastly, some patients with depression or anxiety could benefit from the relaxing properties high-CBD strains of cannabis. 

This information has been brought to you by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

Some Symptoms Marijuana Alleviates

Photo: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Even when medical marijuana doesn't treat the root cause of a disorder, the medication can be extremely helpful in alleviating symptoms of the disorder or the side effects of its traditional treatments. Patients who suffer from cancer of HIV/AIDS can benefit from medical marijuana through its reduction of the nausea and vomiting that coincides with their treatment methods. Medical marijuana can also offer a viable alternative to opioid painkillers. Their analgesic properties produce effective pain relief without the risk of addiction or harmful side effects. A variety of illnesses and side effects often cause patients to suffer from insomnia, but medical marijuana may be able to help by inducing sleep, and enhancing the quality and length of sleep.

This information has been brought to you in part by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

3 Pain Conditions Medicinal Marijuana Can Treat

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

For those who suffer from debilitating pain and want a safe option for relief, they may want to look to medical marijuana for pain relief without the addictive or harmful side effects of opioids. Medical marijuana can treat a wide range of pain conditions, including the pain caused by HIV/AIDS and cancer treatments, chronic pain, and pain caused by damaged nervous systems. Cannabidiol and delta-9-THC are already used in an oral spray called Sativex that is used to relieve severe cancer pain. Along with cancer patients, cannabis can also help HIV/AIDS patients by relieving pain, nausea, and increase appetite, and improving overall quality of life. In these cases, cannabis should not replace traditional treatment methods, but rather supplement them.

Patients who suffer from chronic pain can also benefit from cannabis use, and studies have found test subjects who take daily doses of medical marijuana report no ill-effects on their kidneys, livers, or hormonal function. They also report that cannabis is a successful treatment even when conventional therapies fail. Patients who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other debilitating disorders could benefit from medical cannabis. Lastly, cannabis helps those who suffer from pain in their central nervous system by treating the pain itself, but also by targeting other symptoms like sleep and anxiety.

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.

Marijuana 101: Understanding the Parts of the Cannabis Plant

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

It is extremely important that medical marijuana patients understand the chemical makeup of their medical marijuana strains. Because the composition of therapeutic cannabinoids and terpenes vary from strain to strain, the efficacy of their symptom relief can vary widely as well. The cannabinoids THC is responsible for producing psychoactive effects. THC can also stimulate appetite and reduce nausea, making high-THC strains useful for HIV/AIDS and cancer patients. CBD, on the other hand, is a cannabinoid that can produce symptom relief without psychoactive side effects. CBD is thought to help in a wide range of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and epilepsy.  

Finding this information isn't necessarily easy. Many dispensaries still neglect to provide lab testing for their marijuana products, and when they do the testing can be inaccurate. Strains from one provider may have a different chemical makeup than strains of the same name from another provider, so without testing there is no way of knowing if it will have the same effect. We believe this information is necessary in ultimately finding the perfect dosing regimen. If you have access to this information, keep track of it in your journal so that you can easily look back and see what has been successful and what has not.

This information has been provided in part by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Marijuana Strain Guide for Treating Medical Conditions

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Medical marijuana is being touted as a miracle drug for a variety of conditions, but not all strains are created equal. While the cannabinoid composition of one strain may work for treating certain symptoms and conditions, this does not necessarily mean that same strain will be effective in treating others. Cannabis is known to be effective for treating chronic pain, both general and localized. Research has shown that strains containing both CBD and THC are able to provide an entourage effect that is most effective when treating pain.

High THC strains, or strains containing both CBD and THC, are effective in reducing nausea and increasing appetites, which is especially beneficial for AIDS/HIV or cancer patients undergoing traditional treatments like chemotherapy. Patients treating epilepsy may want to look to High CBD and low THC strains for therapy. This is especially helpful for children who want to reduce seizure frequency without experiencing any psychoactive high. High CBD strains are also effective in treating mental illness and psychological symptoms, like depression and anxiety.

This information has been brought to you by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

What are the Best and Healthiest Ways to Consume Medical Marijuana?

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

For new medical marijuana patients, discovering the appropriate way to do dose isn't easy. Not only does a patients need to find the perfect cannabinoid composition, dose amount, and dosing frequency, but the patient is also faced with a wide variety of administration methods. Most patients are most familiar with smoking marijuana, but this may not be the healthiest vehicle. One similar inhalation method that is less harmful to the lungs is the vaporization method. Vaporization heats marijuana to form a vapor, reaching just below the point of combustion so as to eliminate the release of smoke filled with harmful toxins and carcinogens.

Another way you can use medical marijuana is through consuming an edible. Edibles involve infusing a butter or oil with cannabis and then using that to create another food. Edibles make it easy to portion out dosages, but it is always recommended to start slow and small as the effects don't kick in immediately and then last a while. Patients who want to target specific areas may want to consider cannabinoid topicals. Topicals can be applied to acute pain areas, as opposed to offering a full body effect, and they will not produce psychoactive effects either. The last method to discuss is the tincture, which is an alcohol infused with cannabinoids. A patient can then use a dropper to administer the recommended dosage underneath the tongue. This allows for regulated relief, like that of smoking, without any of the harmful effects that accompany smoking. 

Whether or not you're experiencing successful relief with a certain vehicle, be sure to document it in your journal! In this way, you can look back to see which methods work and which methods are inadequate. This information will be entered into our anonymous database, so that you can help other patients who are hoping to treat similar symptoms through our Chief Medical Officer approved guidelines. This information has been provided in part by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

3 Smoke-Free Ways of Consuming Medical Cannabis

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

For some patients, smoking marijuana can be harsh and painful on their lungs. When combustion occurs while smoking the dried plant, carcinogens and toxins are released that are not necessarily the healthiest on the lungs. There are other forms of consuming medical marijuana, however. If you'd like a method of intake similar to smoking but less harmful, you might consider vaporization, of which temperatures heat just below the point of combustion so that it releases steam instead of smoke. Vaporizers have little odor, and they are more efficient in releasing their therapeutic chemicals so that you may find yourself using less marijuana than before. 

Another way to consume marijuana is by eating it via the edible. Edibles usually require marijuana infused oil or butter that then seeps into whatever food is being created. It takes longer to feel the effects of an edible, and it is often considered stronger, so it is recommended to start low and gradually increase until you find the dose that works for you. Because it is food and its ingredients can be measured easily and distributed evenly, it should be easy to portion out fairly accurate doses. The last method of intake we will discuss is the tincture, which is a cannabinoid infused liquid that can be taken orally by placing a few drops underneath the tongue. It only takes a few minutes before the effects start to kick in. 

This information has been brought to you by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Why Medical Marijuana Is Being Used to Treat Addiction

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Medical marijuana is starting to be used to treat various forms of addiction, helping relieve symptoms related to prescription drug, alcohol, and opioid abuse, as well as helping manage drugs and alcohol withdrawals and curbing the use of pharmaceutical medications or more potent drugs. Because medical marijuana is not addictive and produces few side effects, it is beginning to be looked at as a superior recovery drug. It also reduces withdrawal symptoms, which in turn reduces the possibility of relapse.

Additionally, prescription drugs often produce unwanted side effects like constipation, nausea, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness, all of which can be a detriment to the recovery process. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, produces minimal side effects and has the ability to treat these other side effects a patient may be experiencing. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Does Marijuana Actually Help Relieve Pain?

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Medical marijuana is being touted as a powerful analgesic that is as effective as traditional pharmaceuticals and opioids but with a much higher safety profile. Marijuana is effective in treating both acute and chronic pain, and it is a good alternative to traditional treatment options for those who are looking for a long-term solution and new pain management option. Pain is often a symptom of other conditions, so medical marijuana could be helpful for those who are looking to treat pain as a result of MS, migraines, diabetes, and epilepsy. Medical marijuana can change one's perception of pain, affecting how the brain interprets it and how the body reacts to painful stimuli. 

Medical marijuana is able to provide these therapeutic benefits thanks to its chemical properties like cannabinoids and terpenes. The chemical makeup and composition of specific medical marijuana strains determine the effects of the medication, which can range from stimulating bone growth, killing cancer cells, controlling muscle spasms, increasing appetite, and reducing nausea. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Some Conditions Medical Marijuana Can Help Treat

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

The Medicinal Marijuana Association has compiled a list of the top five symptoms patients seek to alleviate using medical marijuana therapy.

Medical marijuana is an analgesic, and it is most commonly prescribed to treat pain. This includes neuropathic pain, AIDS, and spinal cord injuries. In addition to treating pain, medical marijuana shown to be as effective as pharmaceutical pain killers, but with a much higher safety profile, so it is equally effective in treating and reducing addiction brought on by pain killers by allowing patients to ween off of and replace these medications. Because marijuana receptors in the brain are responsible for regulating anxiety and stress, medical marijuana (especially CBD-rich strains) can be beneficial for those who suffer anxiety disorders. Marijuana can also help those who suffer from fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, and pain fall asleep, stay asleep longer, and experience higher quality of sleep.  

Medical marijuana also helps lower levels of depression with fewer side effects than anti-depressants. The medication also helps treat nausea, which is especially effective for cancer and AIDS patients. By reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and inducing appetite, medical marijuana can fight cachexia and help patients to gain weight. This also makes medical marijuana effective for those diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which irritates the small intestine. Medical marijuana therapy can reduce pain and diarrhea while increasing appetite and weight gain. Medical marijuana is also effective in treating muscle spasms and stiffness typical of multiple sclerosis. This helps MS patients improve sleep, walking, and other daily activities that would otherwise interfere with quality of life. 

This information has been provided by Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

3 Methods of Consuming Medical Cannabis

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

If you're new to medical marijuana, you may still be trying to figure out which vehicle of administration works best for you. Most patients are familiar with smoking marijuana, but they may not know that there are a wide range of healthier alternatives that could be just as effective for treating specific symptoms. Today we will discuss three methods: vaporization, ingesting edibles, and using tinctures. 

Some symptoms are best relieved through inhalation, but smoking marijuana can produce harmful toxins and carcinogens through combustion. One alternative that provides similar relief is vaporization, in which the plant is heated at a lower temperature so that it does not reach the point of combustion, so steam as opposed to smoke is inhaled. Edibles are another vehicle for administering cannabis. Edibles usually involve using cannabis infused oils and butters, and because the medication is ingested rather than inhaled, and therefore takes time to absorb through the gastrointestinal tract, the effects on the body are vastly different. Relief from edibles take longer to take effect, last longer, and they are more potent, so using caution and starting at a low dose is recommended. Lastly, one method of quick consumption is the tincture, involves allowing ethanol to absorb cannabinoids. This method is administered under the tongue by a dropper, and takes little time to take effect.

These different methods affect how your body absorbs the medication, so the vehicle you choose could have a drastically different effect on your symptoms. By journaling everyday on our app, you will be able to see how changes in your dosing regimen ultimately affect your symptom relief, and therefore you can discover which method works best for you. This information has been provided in part by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Medical Marijuana for Fatigue and Depression

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

The use of medical marijuana in the treatment of depression is controversial, but some studies do suggest the medication could be beneficial in its treatment and the treatment of its associated symptoms like fatigue, pain, stress, and anxiety. One study from the University of Buffalo suggests marijuana may be able to positively alter chronic stress, of which depression is linked to. Stress chips away at endocannabinoids in the brain, so it is suggested cannabis may be able to restore these chemical compounds in order to return to homeostasis and create a balanced mood. The study was originally conducted on animals, but the study's authors have since continued exploring these results for verification. 

The findings from another study from McGill University in 2007 creates a clear discovery of how marijuana mimics the effects of endocannabinoids, and how those endocannabinoids directly influence serotonin, which is a vital chemical in the fight against depression. The authors determined marijuana could benefit depression, as long as patients don't consume too high of a dose. 

This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

How Medicinal Marijuana Helps Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

People have long claimed marijuana may be able to relieve stress and help those who suffer from anxiety, but we are now living in a time when scientific research is beginning to back up and provide insight into these anecdotal experiences. One study conducted by Vanderbilt University was among the first to discover a direct correlation between marijuana use and temporary effects on the amygdala in mice. The amygdala sits in the temporal lobe and is responsible for many key functions, one of which is anxiety. The amygdala is responsible for panic attacks and unease, so targeting this area of the brain is crucial in combatting anxiety. 

Another study coming out of the National Institute of Health, the University of Calgary, and Rockefeller University, suggests that a reasonable dose of medical marijuana can reduce the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety, even for anxiety disorders. The study attributes this effect to medical marijuana's ability to regulate and modulate abnormal brain levels that contribute to stress and anxiety. 

That being said, some caution is recommended as medical marijuana does not work the same for everyone, and certain medical marijuana strains could actually exacerbate symptoms of anxiety. This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

 

Should Medicinal Marijuana Be Used to Treat Addiction?

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

With all of the studies coming out suggesting medical marijuana reduces the need for harmful opioids, one of the big questions developing is whether or not medical marijuana can and should be used to treat addiction. One study released in 2016 and published in the Journal of Pain suggests cannabis' analgesic properties allow patients to mediate and ween off of addictive and at times dangerous medications like opioids. The study suggests many patients prefer medical marijuana to their prescription counterparts, but it also suggests medical marijuana has a high safety profile, making it one of the safer long-term options when it comes to managing chronic pain or other symptoms. Another study coming from Columbia University in 2015 not only suggests medical marijuana is an adequate substitute for certain stronger pharmaceuticals, but also that medical marijuana's THC can alleviate withdrawal symptoms, which is one of the more serious aspects of drug addiction that often leads to relapse. 

Even physicians strongly support the notion of using medical marijuana in place of highly addictive medications, as has been revealed in various articles that discuss the opioid epidemic with physicians. This information has been provided by the Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

How Medicinal Marijuana Can Help with Chronic Pain

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Photo Credit: Medicinal Marijuana Association

Mounting evidence suggests marijuana has therapeutic effects for those who suffer from chronic pain. Those who suffer from migraines have witnessed these benefits, and in a study from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 103 of 121 people examined experienced a reduction in migraines as a result from the medication. Patients witnessed a reduction from 10.4 average headaches a month to as low as 4.6 headaches a month. Scientists believe this can be attributed to activation of the CB2 receptors and marijuana's ability to reduce stress. 

Another study from McGill University involving 21 patients with chronic neuropathic pain administered marijuana of varying potencies and placebo over the course of 5 days, and found the potency of marijuana made recordable differences in pain levels, with placebo having the lowest impact. Researchers from Oxford University suggest THC decreases signals from the brain that produce painful sensations. 

This information has been provided by Medicinal Marijuana Association and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.