As a physician, I have been studying, working and treating patients with medicinal cannabis for a few years now. Finally, I have decided to write some of my evidence based on experience and knowledge. Recently, a lot more information and research studies have been exposed to the public, thanks to many years of hard work to make the medical cannabis legalization possible in many countries around the world. Also, the ability of the internet and social media to work as an eye-opener for people has raised more awareness around this plant and its amazing medicinal properties. On the other hand, this has left a lot of questions unanswered.Therefore, I decided to share my medical knowledge and opinion in the area, acquired through years of experience in an attempt to clear a lot of controversy in the area.
I have always been curious about cannabis or “marijuana” this ancient natural herb that has medicinal properties but it is considered a hardcore drug. I never stopped wondering how this was different than the tobacco in cigarettes people smoke every day. A few years after I was in medical school, me and my fellow students were learning the Endocannabinoid System. Our professor of physiology explained this system is composed by the receptors CB1 and CB2 located in our central nervous system and all throughout our bodies that work like key-locks that only match a specific key. In this particular case, the main keys were Tetrahydrocannabinol commonly known THC and cannabidiol or CBD, the active components of cannabis. After that lesson, I realized this illegal herb couldn’t be as evil as it had been portrayed and thus decided to give it a try. My first experience was very positive and I remember thinking this feels like “a medicinal or shamanic herb” which made me want to go deeper in my studies with cannabis as I felt like I had discovered ‘the holy grail” of medicine.
Many years passed since that day and I moved to California to continue my medical studies. Here I had the opportunity to work with patients using medical cannabis as part of their treatment regime, and I saw amazing results and improvement of their overall wellbeing. This just increased my fascination about the medicinal properties of the plant so I went straight to the source the farms and growers. This is where all the magic happens and I gained a lot of respect for this group of humans who are devoted to growing the healthiest marijuana plants, ultimately providing high-quality medicine for the people. Producing clean, organic, sustainable cannabis is not an easy task; but it is definitely a rewarding job for those who like it. Working closely with the master growers of Northern California gave me the opportunity to learn and understand all the details that are required to grow from scratch high-quality medicine for patients; this is why knowing the source of your cannabis starts to matter.
The search for the best cannabis and more knowledge didn’t stop there. After November 2016, when a lot more states voted and legalized medical cannabis in the USA, I was invited to enroll in a course in Puerto Rico to get certified as a Medical Cannabis Doctor, Master Budtender and learn more about technical details on cultivation. This was an enlightening experience for me, not only because of all the knowledge I acquired, but also having the opportunity to be a part of this movement of people working to promote and improve health through cannabis. After this course, I was not only completely convinced, but also had scientific evidence and skills to treat and provide my patients the necessary resources to get them started on their healing journey with medical cannabis.
Like we said before, there are Cannabinoid receptors CB1, CB2 in your whole body and even an “endocannabinoid system”. This basically means your body is made to receive and interact naturally with THC and CBD molecules mainly found in Cannabis; also an endogenous cannabinoid called Anandamide activate the system. In general, active THC tends to be the responsible for the “psychoactive” or “feeling high” effects of cannabis while CBD has little to non psychoactive properties. Cannabis exists in nature mainly in two forms: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Each with different THC:CBD ratios, concentrations, and effects in the body. Sativas tend to have higher THC:CBD ratios thus having more uplifting and energizing effect. Indicas, on the other hand, tend to have a lower THC:CBD ratio having more sedative and calming effects. There are also plenty of Hybrid strains with their individual THC:CBD ratios according to their lineage. With this in mind, I will suggest for your first encounters with medicinal cannabis to choose strains with high CBD and low THC. This concept also becomes relevant when choosing the right cannabis strains for your specific medical condition as each one will benefit from different stimulation of CB1 or CB2 receptors. Another key point to consider is that cannabis only becomes active when it is “decarboxylated”. This is a biochemical process that only happens at high temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 Celsius). Therefore, it is possible to use Cannabis in its inactive (carboxylated) state in instances such as juicing allowing us to obtain plenty of the medicinal benefits of THC and CBD in a very safe way and without any psychoactive effects.
The list of medical conditions that benefit from treatment with medical cannabis is extensive and includes pain, insomnia, anxiety, inflammation, depression, arthritis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, PTSD, addiction, cancer, HIV and many others. Moreover, healthy people and athletes looking to improve their overall wellness and performance can benefit directly from adding cannabis into their lives. Why should you give this medicinal herb a try? After all that I just told you, I say, why not? “How to start using medical cannabis” is one the most common questions I get. If you happen to live in a place where medicinal cannabis is legal, you have probably noticed the options for consumption are endless from cannabis flowers to candies and kombucha, for that reason, I have dedicated the next article to explain this particular topic.
To conclude, I want to invite you to open your mind to the many health benefits of adding cannabis into your daily life. Also, I want you to reflect on the fact that this is a plant that could also be a natural solution for your illness and to improve your overall health. Yes it is that powerful and that is why I am so fascinated by it.
Lifestyle & Cannabis Medicine