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The ABC's of Medical Cannabis

What is medical cannabis

Cannabis is a genus of plant that has 3 major subspecies, Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. Sativa and Indica are the more common subspecies of cannabis long prized for their medicinal and psychoactive effects. In more recent years, less understood cannabinoids like CBD, or Cannabidol, have shown to have previously undiscovered benefits that have led to more mainstream acceptance of medical cannabis within the scientific and consumer communities. Cannabis has undeniably shown it has medical value as it has helped reduce and curb seizures, arrest and decrease cancerous growths as well as provide chronic pain relief to millions of pain sufferers just to name a few medical benefits. Charlotte's Web, Jayden juice and Rick Simpson Oil are just 3 of the now world reknowned products developed to help save lives, especially those of children and the elderly. By 2020, nearly every person in the US could know someone who has been personally affected or helped by cannabis. Often relegated to a miracle or wonder drug, medical cannabis research is only beginning to show us how nature provides.

History of Medical Cannabis

Things to know

As with any industry, learning the terms and nuances are necessary to understand and navigate. A dispensary is a store that carries and dispenses medical cannabis strains and products. There are also delivery services which act as mobile dispensaries delivering medical cannabis products straight to your front door, especially helpful to those who with mobility issues. To obtain medical cannabis from a dispensary or delivery service you must have a doctors recommendation for cannabis. Typically primary care physicians are not educated or willing enough to recommend marijuana over prescription drugs. Once a medical recommendation is obtained, a patient can then join a dispensary or delivery service and order products. At a dispensary, you will become familiar with 'budtenders.' Budtenders are like bartenders and pharmacists in one and in many cases are the only source of information about the strains or products you are prospecting to buy. Budtenders most often do not have access to your medical history so understanding cannabis is important so you are not relying on others information and subjectivity at all times. What works for one person will not necessary react the same for you. That is where classifying the medication comes into play.

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What is CBD and THC?

THC and CBD both are highly beneficial and prized for their particular medicinal characteristics. THC, or Tetrahydrocannbinol, is more widely known for its psychoactive effects the user feels after consuming cannabis, or medicating. THC's real benefits lie in the its ability to attach to the CB1 receptors of your body's endocannabinoid system, affecting balance, speech, coordination and vomiting.1 CBD, or Cannabidol has been the major driving force in medical cannabis legalization in recent years. Starting with a young girl named Charlotte and the fight to save her life using medical cannabis, the highly controversial method worked with nearly miraculous results creating a dominoe effect that has yet to stop. CBD is prized for its counteractive effects of the psychoactivity of THC and THCv and it is believed to work by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD rich strains carry a much less psychoactive effect on the consumer and in some cases, no psychoactivity depending on the ratio.

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Indica Vs Sativa

For decades now it has been believed that we could predict a strains effects largely based on its amount of Indica or Sativa dominance, namely cannabinoid levels. Terpenes have shown to either compliment this or completely have control over how the user effects feel and last. So the long held belief that an Indica will help put you to sleep may have its real roots in its terpene dominance of the subspecies. The actual definitions of Indicas and Sativas lie more in their origins; i.e. cannabis indica was named for its origin in India. The 2 subspecies grow particularly different which is an adaptation of the climate and geology the subspecies developed in. Indica varieties tend to grow shorter with less space in between branches. The grow time is also much shorter averaging 6-9 weeks as opposed to sativas which average 9-12 weeks of flowering time before harvest. Because of their evolutionary adaptations, indicas and sativas have developed different genetic fingerprints which in turn modify the effects of the plant. Sativas, generally higher in THC and lower in CBD have much more uplifting terpenes that lead to more cerebral effects and less body effects. Indicas, on the other hand, and lower THC levels and slightly higher CBD levels with more pain relieving and relaxing or sleepy terpenes. Since their discovery, breeders have been crossing indicas and sativas to create hyrbid strains that carry effects from parent strains to create a new strain. This new strain can have multiple variations, or phenotypes, that can express their parent lineage in different ways, sometimes more indica feeling, sometimes more sativa feeling. To capture and replicate a strain in mass, growers create clones which are exact replicas of the original mother plant and will have the same genetic profile, perhaps with a slight difference if grown differently. So what does this say about strain you find in dispensaries with the same names? Are they the same? Some are, some are not. to truly know you must look at the cannabinoid and terpene levels to see if it truly equates or not. If it has different levels, it will be different. Slight diferences will be just that, slight. Major differences will be noticable. It is for this reason we promote the idea of using terpene analysis to see if your needs are covered or not.

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Other Cannabinoids

The are over 400 compounds in cannabis and over 40 different cannabinoids, most we are just discovering. THCa, CBDa, THCv, CBG, CBC, CBN and several others are the basis of much research and development within the industry.

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Get A Medical Cannabis Recommendation Or Card

Find doctors in your area or online

Obtaining a medical cannabis card is a relatively simple task and one that should not be considered embarassing. States have designated conditions that medical cannabis is acceptable to treat and if you fall into that category, you should not feel shy about asking your physician about cannabis. Chances are they will not be highly educated on cannabis yet and will recommend you visit an evaluation center or clinic for more information. In California, recommendations may be obtained online through a digital face to face with a physician. You can also use the doctor locator to find a medical cannabis evaluation clinic near you.

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Different cannabis products and ways to consume

Smoke, eat, drink, rub, insert?

Cannabis can be consumed in so many different ways, it can be hard to see where to begin, especially if you have never smoked or consumed cannabis before. Cannabis products typically fall into 6 categories: Strains, Edibles, Topicals, Concentrates, Infused Products and Premanufacture Products. As the patient, it is ultimately up to you which path you choose to try. If you have fear, it is always recommended to have someone nearby the first time to help guide you through the experience, however that is not an option for everyone. An easy way to start is to target the relief you are seeking.

If you have pain, it may be able to be treated topically using a CBD or THC blend.

If larger scale or all over relief is required, then topicals will not be the best option, edibles may be though. Edibles can provide all over relief with more precise effects. However, as stated in the previous passage, the onset of effects can range from 1-2 minutes to 90 plus minutes depending on your metabolism and edible type. They can also last much longer due than smoking or vaporing.


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Effects And Benefits Of Medical Cannabis

Use our effects and benefits filters to find strains and products that meet your needs

Cannabis has a variety of effects and medical benefits, some we are just discovering. The effects of cannabis can range from psychoactivity (feeling high) to an increase in appetite or feelings of euphoria. The effects of cannabis mostly depend on the strain you choose. A strain high in limonene and pinene will produce uplifiting feelings and increase energy levels while strains higher in Linalool and Myrcene tend to relax your body, aid sleep product and couchlock effects. No one expects you to understand all the differences cannabis compounds have but knowing the effects and benefits you are requiring is necessary and fruitful for your experience with cannabis as a whole.

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The Endocannabinoid System

Your body's cannabinoids

Our bodies have specific receptors that cannabis attaches to. These receptors are located inside our aptly named Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, which helps regulate many physiological processes including appetite, pain, mood and memory as well as the psychoactive effects of THC and THCv. These endocannabinoid receptors called the CB1 and CB2 receptors are a perfect fit for cannabis compounds to enter our bloodstream. Wihtout them, cannabis would have no effect on us. Understanding the ECS is essential to mitigate and undesired effects. The CB1 receptor is mostly affected by THC, THCv and CBN which all produce psychoactive effects. The CB2 receptor on the other hand, is a perfect fit for CBD, CBG and most terpenes, producing no psychoactive effect yet retaining medical benefits.

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Cannabinoids And Terpenoids

The 'entourage effect'

The effects and benfits of medical cannabis can be attributed to the cannabinoids and terpenes inside the plant. Each compound has its own effects and benefits that work in conjuction with other compuds to create the 'entourage effect.' This synergistic relationship helps the compounds work together in many ways and provide fortified benefits such as imporived blood flow, antimicrobial properties or anti-proliferative effects.

Cannabinoid ProfilesTerpene Profiles

Which Strains and Products Are Right For You?

Use our strain explorer to find strains that fit your needs.

Understanding the true differences is as important as deciding between headache medicine (Think Advil vs Excedrin) which have different relieving effects. While Advil works for some to relieve headaches, Tylenol works for others better. The same is true for cannabis. One strain may help a patient relieve the desired effects while the same strain may make matters worse for another patient. There is no one-size-fits-all so determining the right combination of cannabinoids and terpenes can be a bit of trial and error at dispensaries as budtenders attempt to help you find the right medication. We have designed a platform you can use to tailor your searches and find the best and most appropriate cannabis products available to you locally. You can narrow your local results by THC, CBD and CBN levels to find the right ratio or dosage levels for you; by Time of Use; by effects, symptoms a or conditions as well as rating and reviews.


Patients who seek professional assistance for fighting Cancer or Epilepsy will more than likely end up with a planned treatment. Cannabis and hemp oils are sometimes required in larger doses to achieve the desired effects or complete the regiment as needed. An example might be a patient's cancer fighting regiment requires 60 grams of CBD oil in 90 days. This means the patient needs to consume 2/3 of a gram of oil each day. Levels this high are certain to have heavy effects, especially in the beginning. CBD can relax all your muscles to the point of a immobility or sleep. To avoid these effects, patients are taught to titrate their levels of cannabinoids, increasing the dosage a certain amount each few days or week until they reach the necessary dose. This helps the patient get used to the effects and build up a tolerance, lessening the intensity of the effects.

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Finding Your Dosage

The 3 D's

Specific guidelines for standard dosages have not been set due to the federal prohibition on marijuauna, however, a 10mg dose has been used by most states pertainging to medical cannabis. A 10mg dose is roughly equivalent to 1-2 puffs from a joint or pipe, however a 10mg dose from an edible will be stronger, last longer and in most cases take longer to take effect. With so many different ways to intake cannabis, understanding the differences can help avoid a bad experience and save your hard earned money.

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Safety and Lab Testing

Recent news has brought the current untested state of the industry under scrutiny. State with regulations in place are having trouble cracking down to eliminate unsafe medication and recreatinal products. With 19 recalls in 19 weeks in Colorado, checking for current full spectrum tests on all strains and products is critical, especially for patients with compromised immune systems. There are up to 5 tests you should always have access to depending on the product. Microbiology testing tests for any bacteria, mold, mildew or foreign matter on an infused product, concentrate or strain. A Potency test will tell you the cannabinoid breakdown of the tested sample including THC, THCa, THCv, CBD, CBDa, CBG, CBC, CBN and variety of others that are still being discovered and researched. A Residual Solvent Test tests the amount of any leftover solvents used to extract the concentrates. A Pestice Test will detect any pesticides used. A Terpene test, is the more optional test. Although beneficial to see what terpenesand terponoids are in the strain, concentrate or product, Terpenes are not commonly tested. A professional dispensary will have full spectrum test results available online or on site. For Strains - Look for Potency, Pesticide, Microbiology and Terpene(If available). For Concentrates, Look for Potency, Pesticide, Microbiology and Residual Solvents. For Products - Look for Potency, Microbiology, Residual (if infused with a concentrate) and Pesticide. Again a terpene test is a bonus and usually means they care about how much you know about your medicine.

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Cannabis Law

State Laws Regarding Cannabis

Use out STATE LAW MAP to check your local laws and ordinances. Updated weekly.

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1Mayo Clinic stated in their Aug. 25, 2006 article "Marijuana as Medicine: Consider the Pros and Cons," published on its website.

Other Cannabis Resources

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© 2018. iBudtender LLC. All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: Medical cannabis science is in a continually evolving state. To ensure has the most up-to-date information available, we constantly update our site to reflect the latest information. The information provided is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, mitigate or prevent any diseases. All information available has not evaluated by the FDA and any claims by any product companies are not endorsed by or any of its subsidiaries. Do not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare provider.

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