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Medical Marijuana Guide
If you are considering Medical Marijuana, you are not alone.
Over 225,000 Pennsylvanians have enrolled in our state's medical marijuana program.
patients have their medical marijuana card.
States and D.C. have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana in some form. And that list is growing.
Commonly Asked Questions
WHAT IS MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
Marijuana has a long history as a medicinal plant, likely dating back two millennia, and is one of the world’s oldest cultivated plants. In 1985, pharmaceutical companies received approval to develop THC preparations for therapeutic use, and as a result, cannabinoids were reintroduced into the mainstream healthcare system.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Medical marijuana works by impacting the endocannabinoid system we all have in our bodies. “Your body already makes marijuana-like chemicals that affect pain, inflammation, sleep and many other processes. Medical marijuana mimics those naturally occurring compounds in the body, and can produce therapeutic effects.” says Laura Borgelt, PharmD, of the University of Colorado.
WHAT IS CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound that is found in the marijuana plant, and is one of the main cannabinoids. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a study that concluded CBD reduces nausea and vomiting, suppresses seizures, treats psychosis, treats inflammation, combats neurodegenerative disorders, prevents the growth of tumors and cancer cells, and can help manage anxiety and depression.
WHAT IS THC?
THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is in a class of substances called cannabinoids and is the main psychoactive substance in marijuana. THC has been found to have several therapeutic applications such as management of mild to moderate pain, appetite loss, insomnia, depression and nausea.
WHAT IS A STRAIN?
You may have heard the terms, Indica, Sativa or Hybrid when it comes to medical marijuana. These are the main classifications used to categorize the marijuana plant, based on how the plants grow and generally the type of compounds they contain. Indica strains are said to effect the body and be sedative, Sativa strains are said to have energetic or uplifting effects, Hybrid strains are a mix of both Indica and Sativa, and can provide a more balanced effect. Since these strain classifications are very general, always speak to a pharmacist to determine which products might be best for you.
WHAT ARE THE FORMS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
There are a variety of ways to take medical marijuana. A medical marijuana pharmacist can help you select the appropriate form for you and your symptoms by providing a consultation at a dispensary. These forms include: Flower, Vaporizable Oils, Tinctures, Topical Creams, Capsules and Concentrates.
WHAT MAKES MARIJUANA MEDICINAL?
Marijuana is full of compounds called cannabinoids and terpenes. Medical researchers usually focus on the health effects of two of them, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the substance that can make you feel euphoric, while CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that doesn’t have psychoactive effects. Terpenes also play a leading role in medical marijuana, as they determine the aroma, flavor and greatly influence the medicinal properties.
How Do You Get Medical Marijuana?
Register online with the Pennsylvania Patient and Caregiver Registry
Obtain a physician’s recommendation.
Pay for the application/medical marijuana ID card.
Visit a state-licensed dispensary and purchase medical marijuana.
What is the Endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors compromised of a set of signaling molecules in the central and peripheral nervous systems that help regulate processes of the body such as appetite, pain, mood, and memory.
A signaling molecule is a chemical that passes information from cell to cell. The chemical make-up of endocannabinoids and the responses they elicit are mimicked closely by marijuana, which is sometimes recommended to trigger an increase in appetite, a lessening of pain, and a lifting of mood.
RECEPTORS ARE FOUND ON CELL SURFACES
CB1 receptors are primary found in the brain and central nervous system, and to a lesser extent in other tissues.
CBD does not directly “fit” CBD1 or CBD2 receptors but has powerful indirect effects still being studied.
CB2 receptors are mostly in the perepheral organs especially cells associated with the immune system.