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Patients who choose to inhale the smoke will find that the smoke relaxes and dilates the bronchial tubes and dries out the mucus membranes and nasal passages, and while the immediate effects are strong, they tend to wear off more quickly. Those who choose to ingest the plant in a different form will find that although the immediate effects are less powerful, the results last over a longer period of time. Medical marijuana use has also become a staple in fighting the chronic symptoms of such diseases as cancer, AIDS, HIV and chronic wasting syndrome, and reduces pain from extended chemotherapy.
Multiple Sclerosis is another serious disease that cannabis use has shown to slow by helping to improve movement, reducing or stopping pain and relieving depression. Other problems that medical marijuana is now being used for include treatment for glaucoma, migraines, digestive disorders and improving cardiovascular responses by cooling extremities, lowering blood pressure, and dilating blood vessels throughout the circulatory system. With proper, regulated use, patients can find relief from a wide variety of chronic and often quite painful symptoms.
Benefits of Smoked Versus Eaten Cannabis
When determining which method will work better, Colorado medical marijuana users should consider the effects they are most trying to accomplish and the level of potency they require. While some acute and terminal patients may require less usage per year, Chronic pain patients tend to lean toward larger amounts, and some conditions such as glaucoma and MS may potentially require continuous use in order to prevent attacks and reap any benefits.
Some of these conditions require daily or multiple-daily doses. Those who are in immediate severe pain may lean toward smoking marijuana in order to obtain immediate relief, and effects will generally last around four hours. For those whose conditions require less use, eating the cannabis will provide a longer lasting effect, generally lasting around six hours or so, while potency will be significantly less than if the product is smoked.
Eating also required three to five times the required smoked dosage amount, meaning a patient who requires one smoked pound per year will now require four pounds per year if eating it. The benefit to eating marijuana for some patients may be to help with sleep, where smoking would be impossible or impractical. However, for those choosing to cook with the product, there may be a learning curve to recipes due to product spoilage. Since most all patients are required to stockpile their supply for future use, choosing the proper method of ingestion may lessen the amount of wasted product used in experimentation.
Understanding Cannabis Yields and Dosages
Colorado medical marijuana doctors and users know there is more to medical marijuana than just simply using the drug. Understanding the proper amount of plants to be grown and how much the dried product will yield is important as well. First, only the female plants can be used. Once the female plants bud, the male plants are removed from the harvest to prevent further pollination. As the remaining buds mature, the female plants are harvested and dried. Once cut, female plants will lose approximately 75% of their fresh weight in the drying process.
According to federal Cannabis Yields studies, only about 7% of the freshly cut mature plant weight actually becomes dried, manicured medical-grade marijuana bud. About half of the dried plant is stem, and only about a quarter to 28% is the remaining herb, which is cured and manicured into medical-grade bud. The bud portions of the plant have a coating of resin glands that contain cannabinoids which are the active compounds. Once the product is dried, cut and manicured, there are several ways in which patients can ingest the medical properties of the plant.
Most common is smoked or vaporized. Following this is oral ingestion – either cooking or eating medical marijuana, in pill form, next is topical use such as creams, salves and tinctures, and last is a pending means of ingestion, including cannabinoid inhalers which are currently unavailable in the U.S. Because of strict state rules for medical cannabis users, growers must be careful to keep the number of plants as well as prepared product well within the current guidelines for the patient’s medical needs.
Explanation of Cannabis Effects on the Body
Colorado medical marijuana doctors will agree that not all forms of cannabis have the same effect on a patient. Although one form may work well for one type of symptom, it may not have the same or as powerful an effect on other symptoms. However, basic medical marijuana use has the same overall effect on the human body, which is why doctors recommend the plant in Colorado for symptom relief. A summary of the effects include stimulating special receptor sites in the brain that affect body systems, providing a stimulant effect, then followed by relaxation and overall reduction in stress.
Colorado medical marijuana physicians say this can help to block migraines or seizures and control symptoms of MS, spinal injury or epilepsy. Generally, the drug may cause drowsiness, distraction, paranoia or anxiety. Use of the drug reddens and dehydrates eyes, lowing intra-ocular pressure, dehydrates the mouth, stimulating appetite, and stills ringing in the ears. If smoked or vaporized, medical marijuana has an anti-phlegmatic and expectorant effect on the throat and lungs, but can also irritate the mouth, throat and respiratory system.
Heart rate can be expected to increase, while bronchia, alveoli and blood vessels dilate. Some patients use the drug for calming the stomach, reducing nausea and vomiting and combating side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Cannabis has an anti-inflammatory effect on joints, helping to reduce extreme pain from arthritis or other rheumatism when taken orally or applied topically, and can reduce muscle cramps, spasms and convulsions. The general effects of the plant make medical marijuana use an effective and safe treatment for most patients.
Overview of federal and Colorado Medical Marijuana Laws
More and more Denver medical marijuana physicians are stepping up to support the use of medical marijuana for treatment of health symptoms associated with various diseases and chronic conditions. As support grows in the medical community, understanding the state and federal laws associated with marijuana use, production and medical marijuana dispensaries have become more important as well. There are 13 states in the U.S. that currently provide legal protection for seriously ill patients whose doctors recommend medical marijuana use. Those states include Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Main, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont. Most of these states issue a medical marijuana ID card to patients who provide a doctor’s recommendation to a state or county agency.
According to recent data, no state with a medical marijuana law has experienced a statistically significant increase in youth marijuana use and has in fact reported overall decreases. Federal laws do not prevent states from removing state criminal penalties for the medical marijuana dispensing, cultivation or use. Currently there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution or federal laws that prohibit states from enacting penalties that differ from federal laws. Federal laws still enable the federal government to prosecute medical marijuana growers and patients but they seem to be resisting doing so, due to the fact that medical marijuana use is still illegal under current federal laws. One positive is that a federal appellate court ruled that the federal government cannot punish or even investigate physicians who discuss or recommend medical marijuana use with patients.
Medical marijuana cannot be prescribed, however. It can simply be recommended by the physician. Call a representative from Colorado Medical marijuana for more information. 303-625-4012.
Sativex Still Currently Unavailable for Colorado Medical Marijuana Card Holders
For any Colorado medical marijuana patient who would like to move from smoking or ingesting the plant to using it in a more convenient way, the use of Sativex could easily fill their need. Sativex was developed by a British company, GW Pharmaceuticals, and is a liquid form of marijuana that is sprayed into the mouth. It is made from the buds of marijuana plants bred for specific levels of various active compounds and is quite similar to various marijuana-based tinctures and extracts that were legally available in the U.S. until 1937. Sativex is not the same as Marinol, which is a synthetic version of THC. Sativex contains THC and other cannabinoids, as well as other compounds from the plant itself.
Through its careful makeup Sativex will allow patients to adjust their dose as needed to obtain relief without intoxication. Sativex, while providing many of the same benefits as basic medical marijuana use, is still currently banned in the United States. The federal government has given no indication of reversing this decision, and any proposals to build research facilities in the U.S. have been refused. Although Sativex can be purchased in Canada and Great Britain, the U.S. has classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, so patients are not allowed to bring the drug into the country. Doing so could result in a fine and up to five years in federal prison. Approval of any research or testing to allow Sativex in the U.S. will most likely be years away or possibly may never occur.