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Introduction to Medical Marijuana

A little green to this cannabis thing? Read on to learn how cannabinoid therapy could benefit your health & wellness.
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Marijuana Basics

Marijuana is remarkably safe. Based on thousands of years of use & extensive research, we know it’s impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis.
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CBD vs. THC

Cannabidiol (CBD) is found in both hemp & marijuana & unlike THC, isn’t psychoactive With its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure properties & more, CBD is an invaluable tool for new & experienced patients alike.
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Medical Marijuana Rumors vs. Facts

Rumor:
Marijuana kills brain cells.
Fact
Studies have found that it actually promotes the development & growth of new brain cells. In studies of animals, cannabinoids (the substances found in marijuana, a.k.a., cannabis) actually increase brain cell growth. Scientists are also studying the role of marijuana in treating neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s & Lou Gehrig's disease.
Rumor:
Marijuana makes you high.
Fact
Certain strains of marijuana have been bred to create an intense euphoria & heighten a recreational user’s senses. Over time, however, Medical Marijuana growers have developed strains of marijuana to focus solely on health benefits — some that can reduce or even eliminate psychoactivity.

Studies have also found that strains containing higher amounts of CBD rather than THC have a calming effect, rather than a euphoric “high.” Certain ratios of CBD to THC, typically from 1:1 to 4:1, can often buffer the psychoactivity of THC. This is recommended for neuropathy, migraines & PTSD, but always talk to your provider about specific ratios & products for your condition. They’re there to help you find your “just right” dose.
Rumor:
Marijuana is a gateway to other drugs.
Fact
Studies have found that marijuana is used far more as an “exit drug” rather than a gateway drug. Medical Marijuana can be used to substitute alcohol, opioid & more dangerous illicit drug dependencies. In fact, states with recreational or Medical Marijuana programs have dramatically reduced opioid prescription & overdose rates.
Rumor:
Marijuana causes addictive dependency.
Fact
Medical Cannabis should always be used with caution & under the direction of your healthcare provider. The risk of developing a cannabis-use dependency is higher for patients who use products with higher THC content or have a history of substance abuse or addiction. Physical addiction & withdrawal symptoms are rare.
Rumor:
Marijuana affects lung health.
Fact
Studies have shown that smoking marijuana over an exponential amount of time is associated with decreased lung & respiratory health. Patients seeking relief through Medical Marijuana can minimize long-term effects by reaching for a dry-herb vape over inhaled methods involving combustion. (Vaping cannabis flower in a dry herb vaporizer has not been linked to increased risk of lung disease according to the National Academy of Science 2017 report.) Patients may also find relief using other forms that don’t require inhalation, like edibles, topical creams, and liquid extracts (a.k.a., tinctures).
Rumor:
Marijuana will make you gain weight.
Fact
We’ve all heard the joke that marijuana causes “the munchies,” but on average, cannabis users have a lower Body Mass Index. Depending on the level of THC & other cannabinoids found in a marijuana product, it may cause an increase in appetite, which can be a desirable effect for some conditions. Medical Marijuana is commonly recommended to people suffering from eating disorders as an appetite stimulant. This property also comes in handy when dealing with chemotherapy-related nausea, which we’ve found cannabis treats in a much more effective way than some traditional prescription medications.

Industry Overview

For thousands of years, hemp has had many useful applications for society. Even the founders of the United States of America grew hemp for cloth and paper. It wasn’t until the early 1900s when the marijuana plant became known worldwide as a drug of abuse and labeled as dangerous, that it was lost to most of the world’s industrial societies.

As hemp reemerges and booms again, we learn that much that was previously known as hemp production and cultivation was lost. Farmers are having to relearn best practices and develop new techniques for both farming and production into goods.

Biomass is the fiber that comes from the hemp plant. Hemp fiber is extremely strong and durable. It can be used in many products, but the process by which it is broken down and used has yet to become cheap enough to compete with cotton for clothing or wood pulp for paper products.

Searching for hemp paper, for example, yields a very poor selection of products with only a small percentage of true hemp fiber. Hemp clothing is yet to become mainstream.

Technology improves and companies find better ways and cheaper ways to break down the biomass and convert it into useful materials.

New companies have been started in the last five years to develop farming techniques and biomass production.
As hemp sees a resurgence in popularity after the farm bill of 2018 was passed and legalized in production with less than 0.3% THC, CBD has also seen a very high increase in production.

CBD production and, its counterpart THC, require highly specialized extraction techniques. These extraction techniques are either alcohol-based, CO2-based, or chemical-based.

There is a Utah company that is using all extraction-based techniques to become one of the only companies in Utah providing products to dispensaries in Utah for medical use.

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