Medical Marijuana Information

The term Medical Marijuana is applied to any cannabis (marijuana) product that is consumed by patients in order to relieve the pain and symptoms as the result of a disease or to mitigate the side effects of other forms of treatment.

The Latin name for Marijuana is Cannabis and is often used in lieu of the word Marijuana.

There are more then 60 different types of Cannabinoids, which are the chemicals that occur naturally in cannabis plants that may have some function in the relief of symptoms associated with certain medical conditions.

Several different varieties or strains of cannabis exist and they contain varying degrees of cannabinoids that make up their chemical composition. The majority of these strains can be used for medical purposes to relieve a patient's symptoms and suffering.

To Smoke or Not to Smoke

Several of the active ingredients in cannabis can be extracted in fat and alcohol, which can be used in turn to create baked goods and tinctures that can offer relief of symptoms to those patients who are unable or unwilling to inhale marijuana smoke. The ‘Bud’ or flower of the plant contains the cannabinoids and is the most potent portion of the plant. The leaves, often referred to as ‘Shake’, and the stems have much less potency. The Bud of the plant is most often used when smoking because less quantity is required to obtain the desired effect and minimize potential respiratory irritation due to the excessive inhalation of burnt plant material. The Shake is most commonly used for baking because it is more cost effective and the potency is increased through ingestion. Shake can be utilized to produce tinctures or teas and stems may also be used to produce teas.

Effects from the smoking of Cannabis can be felt within the first 10 minutes of consumption and can last roughly 30 minutes to three hours. Marijuana is often smoked in a rolled cigarette or ‘joint’ form or through the use of pipes, water-based pipes or ‘bongs’, or through the use of a vaporizer, which minimizes the amount of burnt plant material inhaled.

Effects from the ingestion of Cannabis can be felt within the first 15 minutes to two hours and can last from roughly two to eight hours. The effects produced from the ingestion of baked foods or tinctures can depend on the type of cannabis that was used for preparation of the products, however, all effects can vary form person to person.

How is Medical Marijuana Available Through Health Canada?

Health Canada, through the assessment of current available resources, has suggested that the average daily usage by an individual cannabis user averages to one to three grams of dried cannabis per day for medical usage regardless of it is consumed orally, inhaled, or a combination thereof.

According to 1997 World Health Organization records, an average marijuana joint can contain about 0.5 to 1.0 grams of marijuana plant material. An average daily dose of approximately three grams would constitute roughly three to six joints being consumed per day. The definite amount of THC absorbed through smoke inhalation cannot properly measured, however, it is believed that 20 to 70% of the THC content is transmitted through smoke inhalation.  Some reports have suggested that a daily intake exceeding five grams may increase health risks with regards to pulmonary, cardiovascular, immune, and psychomotor function including a possible risk of narcotic dependency.

A patient who has been authorized to receive medical marijuana has the option to order marijuana from Health Canada. Through this choice the patient can receive a tested and standardized medical marijuana product that is cultivated through a contract from Health Canada. This product is composed of flowering heads and female plants that have a THC level of 12.5 + 1.5%

Patients who have been authorized can also have the opportunity of growing marijuana for themselves or having a designated grower produce it for them. The number of marijuana plants that are legally allowed for cultivation is determined by the daily amount of dried marijuana that is outlined in the patient’s application. For example, a daily recommended dosage of three grams is approved for indoor cultivation of 15 plants and a storable amount of 675 grams of marijuana.


Is Marijuana Safe?


Marijuana has been used both therapeutically and recreationally for roughly 3000 years. To this date there has not been a single reported mortality as a consequence of treatment or use of cannabis and there have been no reported incidents of lung cancer that can be solely attributed to the inhalation of cannabis.


Why Ingest Orally?

The active ingredients of Cannabis are fat-soluble, which means that Cannabinoids bind to fat cells and can be broken down with the use of solvents. Hence, products high in fat like oil, butter or alcohol can be used to extract and distribute cannabinoids to the patient’s body. Oil-based cannabinoid products, like olive oil or cookies, are broken down through the stomach and duodenum and then processed by the liver after ingestion. The potent alkaline created through this process is 11-hydroxy THC, a cannabinoid with more powerful psychotropic effects then straightforward THC. It can take 30 to 120 minutes for this process to take effect and can limit the control of the dosage and a small dose can be very effective.

Tinctures (alcohol-based products) when ingested use the alcohol as a mechanism for delivery, which bypasses the digestive system by being directly absorbed into the bloodstream via the pharynx and stomach lining. Therefore, alcohol-based products can act quickly, within 15 to 45 minutes, but don’t tend to have as long lasting effects.

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