The US government is finally funding cannabis research! For decades, federally-funded medical marijuana research has been significantly lacking– to say the least. The fact that medical marijuana is still federally illegal, makes studying it extremely challenging. Up until now, research has primarily been focused on drug addiction studies. Clinical studies are a fundamental stepping stone to getting a substance verified as a pharmaceutical, which is why this news is so encouraging.
In December of 2018, the federal government, specifically the NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) shared it’s intent to study the potential pain relieving effects of “minor cannabinoids” and terpenes.
The NCCIH is one of twenty-seven institutes that make up the NIH (National Institute of Health). This agency utilizes rigorous, in-depth scientific investigation to examine the effects and safety of different health interventions.
What “Minor Cannabinoids” and Terpenes are being Studied?
We’ve all heard (and probably know quite a bit) about the cannabinoids THC and CBD. There are many others, however, that we know close to nothing about. Some of the “minor cannabinoids” of interest are: CBG (cannabigerol,) CBN (cannabinol,) and CBC (cannabichromene.)
There are several terpenes that are going to be studied as well. These include limonene, myrcene, linalool, terpinene, and more.
As you may also know, all of the different cannabinoids work together to provide different pain relieving results.
Why Pain Relief?
Marijuana has proven itself effective in treating a whole slew of ailments, so why is the NCCIH focusing on pain relief? Chronic pain affects approximately one-third of people in the United States. Treating this pain costs Americans well over $600 billion each year. Furthermore, companies suffer an estimated $300 billion dollars annually in lost productivity.
We know that THC and CBD have effective, pain-treating qualities. We also know that other cannabinoids, and even terpenes, synergistically work together to produce healing effects (especially when it comes to pain relief.)
The cost of current pain treatment and the effectiveness that marijuana seems to have, are two driving factors for why the NCCIH wants to study cannabinoids and terpenes more. Research is a necessary stepping stone to certifying marijuana as a viable treatment option.
This research into alternative pain relief could also help reduce the opioid epidemic. Researchers have determined that cannabinoids and terpenes enhance the pain-relieving effects of opioids, which means opioid users can take lower doses.
The federal government has made developing an alternative pain management strategy a priority. The NIH is especially interested in the pain-relieving, non-intoxicating properties of marijuana. Marijuana has been viewed in a negative light for far too long. The fact that the federal government is finally funding cannabis research is extremely encouraging.
There are two primary forms of Cannabis: Flower and Concentrates. In this article, we are going to address the pros and cons of each of these forms of cannabis in order to help you better understand the differences between the two.
The cannabis flower contains approximately 480 natural components, making it extremely rich in natural medicine and nutrients. Because the flower is unprocessed, the patient will reap the benefits of every one of these components. Israeli researcher, Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues, have said that when all of these components work together the therapeutic effect is significantly greater than if one was to be isolated.
The flower form of medical marijuana is less expensive, making it more accessible to patients in need. With that being said, the cannabis flower can require the use of expensive equipment (vaporization equipment). Another potential downside is that it takes more time to prep and process in order to make it edible. The flower does not have as long of a shelf life as concentrates do, either. Probably the biggest negative to the flower form of medical marijuana is that it’s harder to get high doses of CBD. Patients with certain symptoms may need something stronger.
Concentrates come from the processed cannabis flower. They are condensed extracts of the essential oils in the cannabis plant. These concentrates are much more potent than the flower, making them a great choice for people in need of more intensive therapy. They are often thought of as purer to inhale and don’t require expensive equipment. Concentrates are much easier to add into drinks or food, as well.
One of the downsides is the fact that cannabis concentrates are more expensive, often making it difficult to find affordable, high quality product.
“As a Marijuana Doctor patient, you will have the ability to obtain these high quality products at an inexpensive price.”
Due to the processing routine, concentrates can sometimes lose a portion of the beneficial compounds that the whole flower has to offer. They can also contain more impurities which can cause problems for patients with compromised immune systems.
Full-extract cannabis concentrate is the most popular choice for patients as it not only contains both THC and CBD but also beneficial terpenes. These terpenes enhance the medicinal, therapeutic effects.
Choosing which form is right for you
In summary, medical marijuana in flower form can offer relief to a wide range of patients. Because the flower is unprocessed, you take in the benefits of all components (THC, CBD, etc…) It’s a popular choice for those suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, depression, anxiety and more.
Cannabis concentrate has the potential to isolate a certain component, making it an excellent choice for medicinal use. Being able to isolate CBD allows the patient to reap all of the healing benefits without experiencing the high. Likewise, you can choose to get a higher dose of THC, as well. Some patients prefer to ingest their medication instead of inhaling it, which is why they’ll choose a concentrate.
Not sure which form is right for you? Speak with one of our qualified physicians, today.