Scientific studies and existing research points to potential benefits for medical issues such as:
- chronic pain
- muscle spasms
- depression or anxiety
- nausea or vomiting
- HIV or AIDS
Alternatives to smoking
Smoking is the inhalation of the smoke of burning marijuana via cigarette or pipe. Medical marijuana is an effective way to manage symptoms for many patients; however, the way patients choose to administer medical marijuana may alter the safety level of the medicine. The health risks associated with smoking of any kind are well documented. and may be a concern for patients deciding if medical marijuana is right for them. Vapourization and edibles are alternative methods of administering medical marijuana worth a patient's consideration.
Published Clinical Trials
Health Canada has compiled a list of public clinical trials (https://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/med/infoprof-eng.php#tb17) on smoked and vapourized marijuana, and its associated health benefits.
THC and CBD
- Medical marijuana contains many potential active substances, the tow most researched being:
- The concentration of these ingredients determines the health benefit, and possible side effects of medical marijuana. Dose conisistency, from batch to batch, is required for consistent health benefits.
- Therapeautic options for medical marijuana include different varieties with set THC-to-CBD ratios.
THC - is thought to be responsible for the psychoactive effects, or the "high", felt from marijuana. It has also been shown to be responsible for teh immunosuppressive, anit-inflammatory and analgesic properties of medical marijuana.
CBD - which lacks nearly any psychoactive effect, is responsible for giving medical marijuana its anit-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-nausea, anti-emetic, anti-psychotic, anti-ischemic, anxiolytic, and anti-epileptic effects.
- Since dosing is still uncertain, the general guidelines for dosing is to start low and go slow. Most individuals use an average of 1 to 3 grams of dried medical marijuana daily when smoked or vapourized.
- A recent Canadian randomized controlled trial of smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain found a single inhalation of 25 milligrams of 9.4 percent THC herbal cannabis three times daily for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep quality, reduced anxiety, and was well tolerated.
- Vapourizing is the inhalation of vapours from marijuana. Vapourizing is achieved by heating marijuana to a temperature that vapourizes but does not burn the cannabinoids. The Volcano Medic is the only vapourizer Health Canada has approved as a medical device. For more information on the Volcano Medic vapourizer go to CanniMed.ca
Medical Marijuana is not recommended for patients who:
- Are allergic to any cannabinoid, or to smoking
- Have a history of serious mental disorder, such as schizophrenia or depression
- Are nursing, pregnant, or planning to conceive.
Talking to you Doctor
- As with any decision concerning your health and well-being, it is important to consult with your doctor or health care practitioner.
- Clearly identify the symptoms you feel can be better managed with cannabis.
- Make a list of medicines and therapies you have tried for these symptoms, and identify which have been effective and which have been ineffective.
- You may want to review Health Canada's Information for Health Care Professionals webpage (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/med/infoprof-eng.php) to find credible studies associated with your illness to reference for your healthcare practitioner.
- Note: You may find it more effective to use the term "cannabis" when talking with your health care practitioner.
What is medical marijuana?
- Medical marijuana also called cannabis, has become a well-recognized treatment option for management of conditions including severe pain, arthritis inflammation and nausea. More than 30,000 Canadians with chronic or terminal illnesses already rely of medical marijuana for symptom management.
- Medical marijuana refers to the flowers or "buds" of the cannabis plant (also known as cannabis or marijuana) taken as a form of medical treatment.
- Medical marijuana acts on the endocannabinoid system in humans. This system is associated with many processes in the human body including brain development, immune function, inflammation, appetite, metabolism and energy homeostasis, cardiovascular function, digestion, bone development and bone density, synaptic plasticity and learning, pain, reproduction, psychiatric disease, psychomotor behaviour, memory, wake/sleep cycles, and the regulation of stress and emotional state.
- Because the endocannabinoid system can influence many body systems, medical marijuana has shown promise in treating the symptoms associated with a wide range of illnesses.
Disclaimer: it is important that patients rely on advice from their healthcare practitioner to employ sound clinical judgment for their specific conditions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a healthcare practitioner nor a recommendation of any particular treatment plan. Please consult with your physician or healthcare practitioner for professional advice pertaining to your particular disease state.
This information comes to you from a CanniMed Ltd product leaflet regarding medical marijuana. It has been retyped exactly as printed. For more information you can visit CanniMed.ca or phone the patient service centre at 1.800.787.1577. Please understand I am not a representative of this business nor am I promoting them. I am offering this as educational information only. You must have a prescription for this medication.