As you’ve likely learned by now, cannabis is complex. It’s a plant made of hundreds of compounds with a wide range of application and potential benefits. So far scientists have identified over 400. Out of those 400, there are 80 compounds that are unique to the cannabis plant. These are called “Cannabinoids.”
Don’t be shy, say it with us: [kuh-nab-uh-noid].
As the science of medical cannabis develops, it’s clear that breeding cannabis for different cannabinoids is key to providing specific treatment for specific health issues. No, you don’t need a degree in chemistry to become a medical cannabis patient, but learning some of the basics of how this plant works can have an incredible effect on the efficacy of your treatment. In fact, a growing body of evidence shows that patients who are more actively involved in their health care experience have better health outcomes and incur lower costs.
L’chaim to smart medical consumers!
We will continue to answer this question in pieces over the next few posts. To begin with, here is a very basic and brief breakdown of two of the most common cannabinoids that every cannabis consumer should have a basic understanding of.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, the part of the plant that makes people feel “high” or as we like to say at here at iCAN, “elevated.” THC has been shown to be especially effective against nerve-related pain and among other scientifically proven effects which include: treatment of PTSD-related symptoms, anti-nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation. Basically, THC works by activating pathways in the central nervous system which work to block pain signals from being sent to the brain. It’s pretty incredible.
Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a “high.” That little fact gives the compound a significant advantage and cred as a medicine, since most health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects, (especially, it seems, if aforementioned side effects include euphoria or general happiness.. eh hem).
Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to share a lot of the same medical benefits, and as stated above tend work extremely effectively together. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies show CBD effective in suppressing seizure activity, reducing nausea and vomiting, combating inflammatory disorders, anxiety and depression disorders, as well as combat neurodegenerative disorders. The scientific evidence is still light, so, here’s to funding more scientific studies!
Learn more about cannabinoids here.
Another incredible resource to help medical cannabis patients in Israel understand what kind of cannabis medicine to use is CannaPedia. It’s a comprehensive guide (in Hebrew) designed to help demystify the patient process and provide a guide towards the strains and specific cannabinoid ratios that could best serve specific conditions. They also do a breakdown of the strains carried by local growers and offer the specs on each strain.
Sites like Leafly have been doing the same for years with patients and consumers in the United States and provides a tremendous amount of user friendly content and patient education.
So the first part of the answer to “how do I know what kind of cannabis medicine is right for me?” is: Learn the basics about cannabis medicine and get yourself educated about your condition. Read as much as you can about the different aspects of the cannabis plant and how they relate to your specific condition(s). Schedule an appointment with your treating doctor and your cannabis supplier and become an active part of your health and healing.