Understanding Medical Cannabis Terminology | CAC
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Cannabis, an ancient natural remedy, has been used for thousands of years across the globe to combat illness. In recent years, it has re-emerged as a potent aid for numerous health issues, including chronic pain and epilepsy1.

Why is Understanding Cannabis Terminology Important?

For those new to the world of medical cannabis, familiarising oneself with the correct terminology is crucial. It aids in understanding the various uses and legalities surrounding cannabis. Knowing these terms makes discussing and using cannabis more accessible and effective.

Professor Michael Barnes’ detailed guide, The Beginner’s Guide to Medical Cannabis, elucidates the distinctions between medicinal and recreational cannabis use. His book offers practical advice on safe usage and sourcing, aiming to support informed and responsible consumption.

Key Takeaways:

  • Historical Use: Cannabis has served as a global natural remedy for millennia 
  • Importance of Terminology: Understanding cannabis-related terms is vital for navigating medical cannabis.
  • Personalised Guidance: One-on-one consultations can provide tailored advice for medical cannabis use.
  • Medical vs Recreational: Professor Michael Barnes’ guide differentiates between the two.
  • Diverse Consumption Methods: Cannabis medicines can be consumed in various ways.

Understanding Cannabis Terminology

What Should You Know About Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is gaining popularity, especially in the United States. The acceptance of its medicinal potential is increasing, with 60% of Americans supporting legal marijuana use as of 2016. Surveys consistently reveal a belief in its medical benefits. For instance, 60% of Colorado doctors view medical marijuana positively2.

Cannabis is being used more frequently to treat conditions such as anxiety, epilepsy, and PTSD. Many Americans support its use for treating PTSD in veterans. The FDA’s interest in medical marijuana products further signifies its growing acceptance. However, cannabis laws remain a topic of ongoing debate and change.

This rising support is reflected in the education sector, where pharmacy students are learning about and supporting medical marijuana. This shift in public and professional opinion may lead to broader acceptance and integration of cannabis in medical treatments.

What are the Key Components in Cannabis?

Cannabis contains over 400 chemicals, including more than 60 cannabinoids3. The discovery of d-9-THC in 1964 marked a significant advancement in understanding cannabis. Key cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBN play vital roles in the plant’s medicinal properties.

The endocannabinoid system in our bodies, which includes CB1 and CB2 receptors, interacts with these cannabinoids. CB1 receptors, found mainly in the brain, and CB2 receptors, located in immune cells and the gut, explain the complex effects of cannabinoids.

Terpenes, which give cannabis its distinctive smell, also have potential medical benefits. These compounds are produced in the same plant parts as cannabinoids, adding to the plant’s therapeutic properties.

Different cannabis types, such as Indica, Sativa, hybrids, and hemp, offer varying effects. Indica is known for its calming effects, Sativa for its energising properties, and hybrids for their mixed effects. Hemp, with low THC levels, is valued for its CBD content and does not induce a high.

What are the Common Medical Cannabis Terms?

Understanding cannabis terminology is crucial, especially for beginners. Terms like ‘bud’ refer to the flower part of the plant, while ‘terpenes’ contribute to its aroma and health benefits. Familiarity with these terms aids both recreational and medicinal users.

‘Dabs’ and ‘concentrates’ refer to potent cannabis extracts. These extracts are highly concentrated with THC4. CBD, known for its therapeutic benefits without the high, is effective for anxiety, pain, and inflammation. CBN, with its sedative properties, helps with sleep.

Consumption methods also have specific terms. ‘Joints’, ‘blunts’, and ‘edibles’ describe different ways to use cannabis. Smoking offers immediate effects, while edibles provide prolonged relief.

In regions like Oregon, the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) ensures product traceability from cultivation to sale, affecting pricing and consumer perception.

Understanding these terms demystifies cannabis, facilitating informed decision-making and fostering a well-informed community5.

Understanding Cannabis Terminology

How is Cannabis Consumed?

Cannabis can be consumed in various ways, each offering unique benefits. Smoking is popular for its rapid effects, while vaping is a healthier alternative as it avoids combustion.

Edibles, which include foods and drinks infused with cannabis, take longer to take effect but provide extended relief. Tinctures, administered sublingually, offer precise dosing with long-lasting effects. Topicals, applied directly to the skin, provide relief from pain or skin conditions without inducing a high.

Choosing the appropriate consumption method depends on individual preferences and lifestyle, enhancing the therapeutic experience6.

Why is it Important to Be Well-Informed About Medical Cannabis?

This guide has explored various aspects of medical cannabis, from its terminology to consumption methods. Being well-informed is essential for those considering cannabis for health reasons, particularly for treating chronic pain, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. Studies indicate that cannabis and cannabinoids can alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions, including chemotherapy-induced nausea7.

Medical cannabis may reduce opioid dependency in pain management. In Colorado, the majority of medical marijuana cardholders use it for severe pain, underscoring the importance of responsible education about medical cannabis. Ongoing research continues to affirm its potential benefits.

Before incorporating medical cannabis into your healthcare regimen, consult with a healthcare professional. This guide serves as a starting point for understanding the responsible use of cannabis for medical purposes. Stay updated with new research and legal developments. For more information on using medical cannabis, refer to reliable sources like the National Library of Medicine.

Source Links

  1. https://slatercenter.com/cannabis-101/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312634/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736954/
  4. https://flowhub.com/dispensary-terminology
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_cannabis_terms
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430801/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767/
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