Medical Cannabis 101

What is Medical Cannabis and How Do You Use It?

There are three kinds of Medical Cannabis – Indica, Sativa, and Hemp.

There are three kinds of Cannabis plants used in the Medical Cannabis industry; Indica, Sativa, and Hemp. There is a fourth, but it is seldom seen in retail stores, and it is called Ruderalis so we will not be discussing it here.

The other kind of Cannabis is called a Hybrid and is what you would think – a combining of Indica and Sativa biologically or mixing the distilled Medical Cannabis liquid (aka Isolate) after harvest and production.

While there are physical differences between the three Cannabis types, the main differences are how they are made and what they do to you. The bottom line is that any Cannabis can be used as Medical Cannabis as long as you are careful to only purchase Cannabis products from Cannabis Brands that understand your health is at stake.

[Note, the Indica/Sativa/Hemp section is for background and to give you an understanding of where Medical Cannabis has been. When you get to the Hybrid and Terpene info later in this article, it will make more sense. That is where the rubber meets the road in today’s Medical Cannabis industry.]

Where It All Began – A Little Background

Historically, we humans have been using some form of Medical Cannabis since the dawn of time. Advancedholistichealth.org notes that around 8,000+ BCE use of Hemp cord in pottery identified at an ancient village site dating back over 10,000 years, located in modern-day Taiwan.

Finding Hemp use and cultivation in this date range puts it as one of the first and oldest known human agriculture crops. The first recorded use of Medical Cannabis as medicine was by Emperor Shen Neng of China in 2,900 BC. Bottom line, Cannabis has been around for a long time and has been in use as a medicine, clothing, and has had many more applications.

Indica (Body)

Indica originated mostly in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. There is an almost equal amount of CBD and THC compared to Sativa (higher THC and lower CBD) or Hemp (CBD and little or no THC). Indica is what we could call a couch-lock plant and is best in the evenings.

That is, there is a warm, fuzzy full-body high that can leave you watching television all night without moving. It can act as a sedative. The amount of CBD in it can act as an anti-inflammatory. Plus, it is the best Medical Cannabis plant to put you to sleep.

The downside is it sedates you, so if you are considering running a marathon, this would not be the best choice. If you have a warm fuzzy evening planned with a significant other and a great popcorn movie, Indica is an excellent choice. Indica supports Muscle Spasms, Aches and Pains, Seizures, Migraines, Stress, Anxiety and paranoia, Appetite Loss, Inflammatory Diseases, Glaucoma, Nausea, Depression, and Insomnia.

Sativa (Mind)

Sativa originated in the tropical climates such as Thailand, southern Africa, and Mexico. Sativa can give you a “happy high” (or psychoactive) and is better for your creative juices. You probably will not be able to sleep much when using it, so it is best during the day or in a creative burst whenever you need it. Typically, there is much more THC than CBD as in Indica. It can be a pain-killer, increase creativity, help make things more social, an antidepressant, and an appetite stimulant.

Sativa acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness, and behavior. For example, time could slow. Colors can be brighter, and sounds can be more enjoyable.

It can also be disturbing if you are too high, so using the MediCannaCare Low and Slow Testing Process makes a lot of sense. But the right amount of Sativa can elevate your mood if you are having a lot of challenges. Sativa supports depression, appetite loss, PTSD, ADHD, nausea, migraines, fatigue, increases focus and creativity, and energize and motivate.

The most psychoactive substance in the world? Caffeine!!! In Western society, at least 80 percent of the adult population consumes caffeine in amounts large enough to affect the brain.

Hemp (CBD)

Think of Hemp as a cousin of Sativa or Indica. They are all a part of the Medical Cannabis family. The significant difference is that Hemp has low levels of CBD and low or almost no THC (by law, less than .3%). Hemp [https://www.britannica.com/plant/Hemp] originated in Central Asia.

Hemp cultivation for fiber was recorded in China as early as 2737 BCE and was used in the Mediterranean countries of Europe early in the Christian era, spreading throughout the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages.

So now you know that the CBD from Hemp and Indica/Sativa are the same and accomplish the same things in your body. Benefits may include natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties, helping people quit smoking or drug withdrawals, Epilepsy, other neurological symptoms, and disorders, fighting cancer, anxiety disorders, Type 1 diabetes, acne, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that CBD does not change a person’s state of mind when they use it.

BTW, until there are laws in place to protect consumers from Cannabis Brands that are unscrupulous, there are reasons why you may want to go to your local Medical Cannabis store, rather than purchase CBD products from a grocery store or on the Web without researching it properly.

Anyway, experts acknowledge that the best source of CBD oil is from organically grown, high-resin, CBD-rich Indica or Sativa Cannabis, not low-resin industrial Hemp.

Is CBD Hemp Oil as effective as Medical Cannabis-derived CBD products? Advocates of Medical Cannabis-derived CBD argue that CBD is most effective in conjunction with other cannabinoids (most typically THC or Terpenes) present in whole-plant varieties – a phenomenon known as the “Entourage Effect.”

Protect Your Medical Cannabis CBD Intake

The purpose of the next couple of paragraphs is to let you know that the chances of getting CBD oil in a grocery store or on the Internet that may not be healthy is, unfortunately, a problem right now. There are few laws in place to make sure that Medical Cannabis Producers and Brands sell you the best, high-quality CBD products.

But you can protect yourself with a little research. After you read this, go back to “5-Steps to Safely Use Medical Cannabis” web page and reread the “Ask the Medical Cannabis Brand for Their Products’ Certificate of Analysis (Also Known as the COA)” section. For more information about choosing the right CBD products, see [link to CBD-Only Products].

Note: Why do you see Hemp Hearts at Costco or in Hemp milk in your local grocery store? Hemp seed and Hemp seed oil are different from CBD-rich oil extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant. Oil pressed from Hemp seed contains no CBD, no THC, no plant cannabinoids to speak of, but it is excellent for making varnish, paint, soap, protein-enriched food supplements, and much more.

The Hybrid Medical Cannabis Curve Ball

Today Medical Cannabis has changed considerably based on new techniques for Hybridization. Once upon a time, there was only Indica, Sativa, and Hemp plants. Back in the 60s, people were happy if they got any Cannabis, much less cared what it was named. That was then. Given how much humans have altered the landscape and changed things mostly for the better; you can guess that we would develop Medical Cannabis too.

While you can still get single-origin Indica or Sativa Medical Cannabis flower to smoke, vape, in edibles, or whatever; it is no longer the norm. What has happened is this – people started changing Medical Cannabis. Just like we have with wheat and corn; we mixed diverse types of Medical Cannabis with features that we liked to improve the results. In this case, it has changed how the Medical Cannabis affects us.

This alteration is known as a Hybrid or Hybrid Cannabis. Whether something is Indica-oriented or Sativa-oriented is less critical today than it was even five years ago. That is because most Medical Cannabis plants and products being sold today are Hybrid. That is why today you can purchase Medical Cannabis for a particular use or feeling rather than taking a chance on what a Medical Cannabis product could do for you because it is merely Indica, Sativa, or even Hemp.

Terpenes

Whole-plant Cannabis is an incredible source with many amazing benefits. One of those is Terpenes (or the dried version is Trichomes). There are over 100 identified Terpenes in a Cannabis plant, and they can be sweet, sour, spicy, or bitter. They can offer tasty citrus, diesel, woody, pine, skunky, coffee, spicy, herbal, or tropical flavors to your palate.

All plants create Terpenes to protect the plant from insects and animals. The most fantastic part of Terpenes is that all plants have them and you have experienced them without even knowing.

Many plants you already know have Terpenes. For example, sniff a lemon. The Limonene Terpene is found in lemons. It is also found in Caraway, Dill, and Orange peel. Chili Peppers and Paprika have Capsaicin, which is a Terpene.

Talk about protecting the plant! Interestingly enough, humans are affected by Capsaicin, and it keeps some of us from eating Chili Peppers, but not birds and lizards. They don’t have the Capsaicin receptors (can eat) and we do (cannot eat without pain).

But terpenes do more than provide flavor and aroma. They also support THC and CBD by helping them create the physiological, cerebral, and medical effects that make Cannabis what it is. There is a connection between cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other parts of the plant. This is known as the “Entourage Effect,” and it is the reason Medical Cannabis Brands add Terpenes back into Medical Cannabis products.

Terpene Health Benefits courtesy of weedmaps.com.

Hybrid Medical Cannabis Has Opened Up New Opportunities

As we said earlier, Hybrid Medical Cannabis can meld some of the best characteristics of both Indica and Sativa, but things also get a little messy in terms of what it can deliver. If a Hybrid leans to Sativa, you will know it is bright. If it leans toward Indica, you will know that it will have a calming effect.

The other good news about Hybrids is that the Medical Cannabis Brands can add flavors from Terpenes like Blueberry, Berry, or Sweet.

Reviews from Medical Cannabis budtenders can provide information about how this product makes them feel – happy, relaxed, euphoric, uplifted, and creative. Hybrids also allow safe Medical Cannabis Brands like Fairwinds Cannabis to add Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal formulas alongside clean, high-potency cannabis concentrate to enhance the positive effects and provide an excellent, safe Medical Cannabis product.

In the future, when you see a description like this on Leafly, you will have a better idea as to what this Cannabis strain can do for you:

Blue Dream, a Sativa-dominant hybrid originating in California, has achieved legendary status among West Coast strains. Crossing a Blueberry Indica with the Sativa Haze, Blue Dream balances full-body relaxation with gentle cerebral invigoration. Novice and veteran consumers alike enjoy the level effects of Blue Dream, which ease you gently into a calm euphoria. Some Blue Dream phenotypes express a more Indica-like look and feel, but the Sativa-leaning variety remains most prevalent. With a sweet berry aroma redolent of its Blueberry parent, Blue Dream delivers fast symptom relief without substantial sedative effects. This makes Blue Dream a popular daytime medicine for patients treating pain, depression, nausea, and other ailments requiring a high THC strain.

BTW – Special thanks to By Senate Labor & Commerce (sponsored initially by Senators Rivers, Palumbo, and Wellman), Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA), and Fairwinds Cannabis Senate Bill 5298 was passed on April 23, 2019. This bill allows additional information on the labels and labeling of Cannabis products to assist consumers in making purchases of these products.