Medical marijuana is obtained from cannabis plants that have been cultivated with the specific intent of being utilized for their medicinal properties. Medical cannabis includes hash oil, hashish, marijuana.
In most cases, the medical constituents desired are a high level of THC and/or a high level of CBD. These two cannabinoids are the most commonly sought, for medical purposes.
The term medical marijuana is employed to differentiate between cannabis that is utilized for medical applications, and cannabis that is ingested for recreational, spiritual, or other purposes.
As an example, suppose the marijuana strain called white widow was grown by two different people. One of them was growing for medical purposes, the other for recreational or some other purpose.
Assuming both growers were competent, both crops produced would be roughly the same potency. However, the medical grower would have observed additional procedures to ensure medical safety that the recreational grower might not observe.
The extra procedures would include:
--- 1) Growing indoors or greenhouse under filtered air.
--- 2) Having soil analyzed to be free of heavy metals and toxins.
--- 3) Supplying only reverse osmosis, distilled, or filtered water.
--- 4) Flushing nutrients from plants prior to harvest.
Cannabis can be a health hazard if the plant absorbs things like heavy metals and toxins from water supplied to it, the soil it is grown in, or air pollutants in the growing environment.
Because pollutants in the atmosphere can be carried thousands of miles from where they originated, even areas that are far from industrial centers may be dangerous.
Air pollutants are usually found in their highest concentrations around areas where there is heavy industrialization. But traces of air pollutants can even be found in places like The Arctic and Antarctica.
Marijuana plants get sticky when they flower. Any small solid objects that come into contact with resinous buds will probably stick to them and be ingested when the cannabis is consumed.
Dirt, dust, dead insects like spiders and flies are fairly common in cannabis that is grown outdoors. Although you may never actually see them, they are usually present to some degree.
For these reasons, medical cannabis is always grown indoors under filtered air, with no contaminants present in the water or soil employed to grow it.
Soil is a possible source of heavy metals and toxins. Unless the soil cannabis is grown in is measured to verify there are no harmful chemicals present, there is no way to be sure.
Another potential way plants may absorb substances that might prove dangerous to a medical marijuana patient is via the water they are supplied with. Reverse osmosis, distilled water, or other water that is free of impurities, are required to grow medical marijuana.
Reverse osmosis or distilled water have virtually no impurities present, so you can be assured that you are not introducing water toxins if the marijuana was grown with water that is free of impurities, as close to 000 PPM (parts per million) as possible.
Hydroponic and soil medical cannabis growers will stop all nutrients the plant receive just prior to being harvested. This will flush any nutrients from the plants so they are not smoked or ingested in another manner.
These precautions may be less important to recreational or other cannabis consumers, but they are especially important to medical cannabis patients whose health and well being are at stake.
Medical cannabis can be very effective for treating chronic pain when consumed orally, for example when eaten. While for a smaller percentage of patients, smoking may be effective for pain reduction.
There are also cannabis products that are effective at treating pain by applying them topically. These come in the form of a cream, or liquid, that is rubbed into the skin around the area where pain is felt.
While ingesting medical cannabis internally, for example eating or drinking, is an efficient means of treating pain for many individuals, some people find that this impairs thinking. For them a topical treatment might be a better idea.
Stimulation of the appetite is also a medical application for people with cancer, hiv/aids, or other diseases that cause people to not want to eat. This can be more so when cannabis is smoked, as compared to other methods of consumption.
Utilization as a sleep aid is another fairly common medical use. Depending on the person, cannabis can be effective for helping a person fall asleep when it is either smoked or consumed orally.
Other medical applications:
Treatment for ADHD.
Treatment for upset stomach.
Treatment for muscle spasms.
Treatment for bipolar disorder.
Treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Treatment for menstrual cramps.
Treatment of epilepsy/seizure disorders.
Reduction of nausea during chemotherapy.
Management of tics from Tourette syndrome.
Chewing on a short length of marijuana stem like the way a cowboy chews straw can reduce or eliminate an upset stomach, and reduce menstrual cramps. Be sure to swallow saliva rather than spitting it out.
Smoking cannabis products like marijuana, hashish, hash oil, is very good way to get high quickly but less efficient for most medical applications. Smoking produces a short duration of action, with peak effects lasting about 30-60 minutes.
Preparation of cannabis into a liquid, food, pill, or form that allows cannabinoids and terpenes to absorbed through the gastro-intestinal tract can be more effective for some medical purposes.
For recreational purposes, cannabis that is absorbed through the gastro-intestinal tract will produce a different feeling high. The medical properties and high last longer than smoking, peak effects last 2-6 hours or longer.
Smoking is an effective way to increase the potency of medications like benzodiazepines and opioids for treating pain. When the benzodiazepines or opioid meds start to work, smoke some form of cannabis.
Smoking marijuana, hashish, or hash oil will all work. An alternative to smoking when the meds start to work is to wait until the meds start to wear off and smoke, this can extend the duration of effects for the meds.