Remedy Columbia Product Highlights: LucidMood, A New Approach to Vapes

LucidMood

We love sharing details about new and exciting products in the world of cannabis, and today’s topic—the LucidMood family of vape pens—is truly noteworthy. Taking advantage of the vape pen’s simple design and intuitive interface, the LucidMood family of pens deliver custom blends of cannabinoids and terpenes, the “active ingredients” in the cannabis plant. 

But the real breakthrough may be in their ease of use. For many of our customers, finding a reliable and consistent dosage remains the single greatest challenge to accessing cannabis medicine. LucidMood pens are not only designed to elicit specific results based on their terpene content, but to deliver an accurate and repeatable dose. Let’s dive into a few of the features that make these products so special.

LucidMood: Tailored Cannabis for Specific Results

LucidMood logo

We’ve written previously about terpenes, which are aromatic hydrocarbons—sometimes known as “essential oils”—found seemingly everywhere in nature, including in cannabis. It has long been suspected that the terpene content of any specific cannabis strain has a great deal to do with the effect it has on our bodies, and LucidMood takes that theory to the next level in the design of their custom vape pens.

Rather than working with specific strains of cannabis, LucidMood formulates their custom blends with isolated THC, CBD, and terpenes, in essence “reverse engineering” cannabis strains for specific and desired outcomes. 

While some “whole plant” advocates may feel that such an approach ignores the “entourage effect” of the cannabis plants many cannabinoids and terpenes working together, a growing body of research suggests that the effects of such whole plant medicines is simply too chaotic and unpredictable to make safe medicines. The focus here is on consistency and ease of use which are two reasons we’re especially excited about the LucidMood family of products.

The products offered in this line all dispense an even THC to CBD ratio. While you will experience some psychoactivity, the goal is to eliminate the fogginess and disorientation some cannabis users find distracting. 

The custom blends include:

  • Energy: A vibrant, citrus-tinged blend designed to impart focus and drive
  • Chill: Utilizing the calm effects of natural lavender, and designed for maximum relaxation. 
  • Party: An energizing, spicy blend designed for social events, dancing and intimacy.
  • Calm: A rose-scented blend designed to heighten focus and awareness.
  • Relief: The aroma of camphor is designed to ease aches, soreness, and distracting cramps.
  • Sleep: The relaxing power of apple blossoms help lull you into restful slumber.
LucidMood assortment

Using the LucidMood Pens

LucidMood’s clean and functional design extends to its intuitive use. Simply inhale for a count of three or four seconds, then wait up to 10 minutes for the effects to come on. If they’re not perceptible, try another inhalation. The heating element in the pen shuts off after a five-second draw, greatly reducing the possibility of inhaling too strong a dose at once.

Each pen is designed to dispense roughly 300 seconds of inhalation. Depending on your desired dosage, that works out to anywhere from 60 to 100 total doses. The pens themselves are disposable, but LucidMood asks that you recycle the battery; more information can be found on their FAQ page

And if you have any questions about LucidMood or any other cannabis products, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to chat and learn how we can help you get the maximum benefits of cannabis medicine.

Can Cannabis Treat Arthritis?

Cannabis and arthritis

Arthritis is a debilitating condition characterized by pain and swelling of the joints. With over 100 different types of arthritis, it can be challenging to find a treatment that works. The good news is that recent science shows that medical cannabis can help patients suffering from the symptoms of arthritis, and a growing number are reporting success with both THC and CBD. If you’re interested in learning how cannabis can improve the quality of life for people with arthritis, keep reading because this article is for you.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an umbrella term that’s used to describe over a hundred conditions related to inflammation, swelling, and joint stiffness. The disease doesn’t discriminate, and people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds battle arthritis daily. Although it’s widespread, it remains one of the most misunderstood diseases worldwide. It can strike many different parts of the body, but often affects weight-bearing joints like knees, hips, and spine.

Cannabis and arthritis in the knee

Cannabis for Arthritis Pain

Cannabis is becoming a popular treatment for people suffering from arthritis, and it’s easy to understand why. The bottom line is that arthritis is caused by inflammation, and cannabis has been shown to treat inflammation.

How does it work? The answer lies in the cannabinoids. These are the active compounds in cannabis that interact with cannabinoid receptors that occur naturally in the body as a part of our endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Cannabis and arthritis endocannabinoid system

The ECS keeps our physiological system in balance. When it’s activated through medical cannabis, it can work to counteract various forms of pain. If the ECS is having trouble regulating inflammation, introducing cannabinoids can make up for the deficit and help restore balance to the system. While the cannabis plant produces over a hundred different types of cannabinoids, the ones with the most potential benefit for arthritis are THC and CBD.

Research on Cannabis for Arthritis

While more studies are needed to fully understand the best ways to use cannabis to treat arthritis, what we do know so far looks promising. One study conducted in 2006 found that cannabis-based medicine was able to significantly help patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and allowed them to regain joint movement restricted by pain. The patients also reported reduced pain while at rest and overall better quality of sleep.

Cannabis and arthritis man relaxing

Another study from 2013 showed that medical cannabis could bring pain relief to knee joints in osteoarthritis patients. Joint tissue inflammation is unusually high in people with arthritis, and researchers think that cannabis fights inflammation in the joints by activating pathways called CB2 receptors.

Cannabis for Inflammation

Beyond acting as a powerful pain reliever, cannabis is a potent anti-inflammatory, suggesting that it could work to treat the root cause of arthritis, not just the symptoms. While THC is often the go-to cannabinoid for pain relief, researchers have found that when CBD is metabolized, it can release a compound that packs a similar anti-inflammatory punch as NSAID drugs. CBD is also an excellent option for people who want a natural alternative to pharmaceutical pain relievers without the psychoactive effects of THC.

If you or a loved one has been suffering from pain associated with arthritis, it might be time to consider an alternative treatment like cannabis. If you’d like to learn more about how cannabis can work for you, make an appointment today to speak with our knowledgeable staff.

Cannabis 101: Pinene, The Earth’s Most Abundant Terpene

pinene

You probably know by now that we’re big on terpenes. And we’re not alone: Increasingly, savvy cannabis consumers are focusing on these fragrant hydrocarbons—that’s another way of saying “essential oils”—as a way to characterize different strains of cannabis.

Of course, terpenes aren’t the only way to talk about cannabis. We’re not saying you should forget what you’ve learned about cannabinoids. They’re still an extremely useful way to interpret cannabis strains and predict their effects.

But in addition to imparting their own subtle but powerful characteristics, terpenes do a great deal for our bodies and our minds. Today we’re going to focus on pinene, one of the ten most important of the terpenes in cannabis and, beyond that, the most abundant terpene in the natural world.

What Does Pinene Smell and Taste Like?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, pinene has a distinctively piney and resinous aroma. It’s a hint to other natural sources of pinene: Pine trees, rosemary, orange peels, basil, and parsley, among others. Chemically speaking, there are actually two variants of the terpene: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, but the alpha type—commonly shortened to “a-pinene” is more abundant in cannabis. 

pinene pine tree

If you’ve ever tasted a delicious, slightly bracing and resinous hit of fresh-cut conifer tree in cannabis, it’s a fair guess it’s coming from this little powerhouse of a molecule.

What Does Pinene Do For Us?

Pinene has an anti-inflammatory effect on us, especially when it comes to respiratory function. It may sound counterintuitive, but inhaling pinene-rich cannabis—particularly using a vape pen or vaporizer, which doesn’t actually burn any plant matter—may help reduce inflammation in the lungs and airways, such as asthma. A rodent-based study published in 2015 showed that e-pinene exhibited anti-inflammatory effects.

pinene lungs

Many users report that cannabis strains high in pinene heighten focus and alertness. This is borne out to some degree by a study demonstrating that certain terpenes help combat the short-term memory impairment associated with THC. 

How to Get Pinene from Cannabis

A-pinene is often abundant in cannabis. Again, following your nose may be a good way to sense the presence of this powerful terpene, but for more authoritative data, always buy properly handled, lab-tested cannabis (the only kind we sell!). To help guide you, here are a few popular strains that typically contain healthy levels of a-pinene. 

pinene from cannabis

Jack Herer is a legendary strain among medical cannabis users, this strain—named for the legendary cannabis activist and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes—lends a blissful, clear-headed, and inspiring. Again, these qualities are all in accord with a-pinene’s noted focus-enhancing gifts.

Blue Dream is a popular hybrid associated with a gentle euphoria and creative inspiration. If its resinous aromas are often obscured by its strong blueberry nose, this strain typically delivers a potent hit of a-pinene.

One way to tell whether a strain has pinene is to give it a whiff. If it smells like pine trees, you’re in luck!

Ready to try some different strains? Stop by or check out our online menu to see what we have in stock!

Cooking with Cannabis: How to Make Cannabutter

cannabutter

Cooking with cannabis has become a celebrated art in the era of medical legalization as more would-be edibles chefs have access to quality cannabis than ever before. However, there is one ingredient that should be kept close at hand by any seeking a convenient way to infuse their meal with the wonders of THC.

Like cannabis oil, cannabutter has become a go-to solution for imbuing any dish with cannabis. Rather than adding cannabis directly to the recipe itself, cannabutter can be used as a substitute for butter in almost any dish that calls for its application. For those interested in the versatility that cannabutter can offer, here’s everything you need to know to craft a batch of your own.

What You’ll Need to Make Cannabutter

The ingredients used to create cannabutter are fairly basic. While one can make any number of variations on the recipe, the fundamental components of cannabutter are butter, water and cannabis. For the purposes of this recipe, you will need 4 sticks of unsalted butter, around a quarter-ounce of cannabis, and two cups of water. The quality of your cannabutter will depend on the quality of the constituent ingredients employed in carrying out the recipe, so it is recommended not to use butter substitutes like margarine or cheap, dry cannabis to make your cannabutter.

cannabutter ingredients

As cannabutter is a versatile recipe, herbs and spices can be added during the process to create unique concoctions like garlic or cinnamon butter. The taste of cannabis will be readily apparent in any dish you add your cannabutter to, so adding other flavors into the mix can assist with masking or mitigating the overwhelming sensation of bud.

How to Make Cannabutter

First, grind your cannabis into a fine material, but not so fine that it becomes like a powder. Mix your butter with the water into a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. As soon as the butter has melted, add your ground cannabis into the mixture and begin to stir gently until the cannabis is evenly distributed throughout your butter.

cannabutter grinding bud

Set the flame to low heat and keep stirring every so often for around 2 hours, until you notice the butter become thicker and congeal towards the top. Careful attention should be paid to maintaining a temperature of 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burning your cannabutter.

Once your cannabutter has reached its ideal state, the next step is to filter it. Place a metal strainer lined with cloth over an appropriately-sized bowl and begin to pour your mixture directly through the strainer, allowing it to rest until your butter has been properly purified. Sometimes, it’s possible to use the leftover cannabis in the creation of more cannabutter, so it can be worthwhile to store it for later use.

cannabutter straining

Once you have strained your cannabutter, the final step is to refrigerate the mixture for an extended period of time. Depending on how chilled you prefer your cannabutter, approximately 3 hours will be enough to begin utilizing it in any number of edible recipes.

When your butter has been cooled sufficiently, the only work remaining is clearing away liquid byproducts of the cooling process. Simply pat down your cannabutter with a napkin or paper towel, and you will be left with a finished product that will last in your refrigerator for up to 8 weeks with vacuum-tight storage.

cannabutter leaf on butter

Of course, there is one drawback to homemade edibles. Unlike dispensary purchased edibles that have been tested for THC content, homemade edibles can vary widely in their cannabinoid ratio. Be very careful with dosing and always start with a small amount. Make sure you give yourself enough time (1.5 – 2 hours) to feel the effects before indulging in more.

Looking for high-quality medical cannabis? Whether you want to cook it or smoke it, Remedy Columbia can help. Check out our online menu to see what’s available or stop by our Columbia medical cannabis dispensary.

Terpene Profiles: Myrcene, An All-Natural Powerhouse from Cannabis

Myrcene

As our understanding of the cannabis plant grows, researchers are working hard to deepen and expand their understanding of this incredibly rich and diverse plant-based medicine. As we’ve shared previously, one of the most exciting areas of discovery is into the world of terpenes, or aromatic oils which give different strains of cannabis their distinctive flavors and aromas.

Terpenes are found everywhere in the natural world: In plants, trees, foods and elsewhere. many of their medicinal properties have been recognized for centuries, but with the current focus on cannabis, they’re taking on newfound importance as researchers unlock their secrets.

Today, we’re going to dive into the story of the most abundant of these compounds: Myrcene. If you’re at all familiar with cannabis, you might recognize its earthy character. We’ll share the current science on what this important terpene is doing for our bodies and our minds.  

Myrcene: What Does It Smell and Taste Like?

While myrcene is the most abundant terpene, it’s difficult to pick out a single defining characteristic. But if you’ve ever detected a musky, earthy scent—some describe it as “funky”— that carries hints of basil, bay laurel, lemongrass or ripe mango, there’s a good chance you’re sniffing myrcene.

Myrcene mango

One reason myrcene is so important is that it’s a chemical precursor to many other terpenes. What’s more, the myrcene content of a given cannabis plant is so important that its quantity dictates whether the specific plant will have a typically sativa-like energizing effect or an indica-like sedative effect. 

Myrcene: What Does It Do For Our Bodies?

You’re probably already familiar with THC and CBD, the two most abundant cannabinoids. But terpenes interact with our bodies as well, and myrcene is no exception.

Myrcene woman sleeping

For a start, it’s believed that myrcene helps cannabinoids pass into the bloodstream through what’s called the blood-brain barrier. Some other effects of include:

Aiding Sedation: Cannabis strains containing over roughly a .5% myrcene content are known to have broadly sedative effects, which are especially helpful when insomnia is an issue.

Helping Relieve Pain: In some studies undertaken on rodents, myrcene has been shown to reduce the perception of pain. Studies on humans support this finding, as does a strong body of anecdotal evidence. 

In addition, studies suggest that myrcene imparts powerful anti-inflammatory effects. If you want to address localized pain without the psychoactivity associated with THC, you may want to try a cannabis topical with a high myrcene content.

Cannabis Strains with a High Myrcene Content

Fortunately, many cannabis strains are naturally high in myrcene. Here are a few of the most common; be sure to check our live menu for our current stock: 

Myrcene bud

Blue Dream is a popular strain known for a sweet berry aroma and gentle cerebral effects. Its high myrcene content provides anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting qualities.

White Widow is a potent strain known for its strongly euphoric and energizing effect. Take note: This is an extremely potent strain with a high THC content.

Sour Diesel is known for its “classic” uplifting and buzzy characteristics thanks to a generous helping of myrcene and other terpenes.

Stop by our Columbia dispensary to discover myrcene-rich products, or check out what we have in stock with our online menu.

How to Make a Soothing Cannabis Tea

Cannabis Tea

In the era of recreational legalization, there are more methods of cannabis intake available to consumers than ever before. Dispensary shelves are lined with all varieties of concentrates, edibles, cartridges and other cannabis products. However, sometimes a more simple remedy is desired to satisfy the need for cannabis-based comfort.

While cannabis tea has been made for centuries, the increased potency of modern cannabis has made them a viable option for even experienced consumers. Cannabis-infused tea will always be less potent than most cannabis alternatives, but learning how to craft a proper batch can be a rewarding, soothing endeavor.

What You’ll Need for Cannabis Tea

The ingredients to create cannabis tea are fairly simple in comparison to the production of other edible products. Cannabis-infused tea is produced in essentially the same manner as any kind of tea, but the typical mixture in a tea bag will be supplemented with some cannabis-based material. Make sure to have flower, some loose leaf or bagged tea, and your favorite add-ins like milk, honey, or sugar.

Cannabis Tea flower in a jar

In making cannabis tea, the most challenging aspect is properly “activating” the cannabis plant. The psychoactive component within cannabis, THC, acquires its potency through a process referred to as “decarboxylation”, which requires superheating the cannabis to a certain temperature. This process is the reason why edible products are so often more potent than their smokable counterparts. Therefore, before making cannabis tea, decarboxylating your herb is recommended to enhance the power of your beverage, though not necessarily required for those with a lower tolerance for THC.

Making Cannabis Tea

Cannabis tea can be approached in a variety of different ways. The important thing to keep in mind is that the infusion of cannabis can be applied to blends of tea from chai to chamomile, so any recipe is versatile and can be mixed and matched in a range of ways.

Cannabis Tea

To make any kind of cannabis tea, the first step is to grind your cannabis into a fine, but not too fine, substance. This ground cannabis should then be added to an infuser, along with the blend of tea itself. This mixture is then soaked in steaming-hot water for around 8 minutes. Once the mixture has been thoroughly steeped, your cannabis tea is ready to enjoy.

The Benefits of Cannabis Tea

Though cannabis tea may not aspire to the potency of alternative methods of consuming cannabis, the overall effects of cannabis tea can produce feelings of intense relaxation amid a significant body high. Those who suffer from anxiety may soon experience their nerves dissolving entirely within an hour of drinking a quality cannabis tea.

drinking Cannabis Tea

Cannabis tea can also be considered a discrete method of cannabis consumption if the proper steps are taken to conceal their beverage. Make your batch of tea in the morning and a thermos will keep it warm throughout the day, allowing you to obtain a steady, light buzz throughout your daily routine. This also alludes to the true advantage of cannabis tea: its lack of potency. Most cannabis users are searching for less potent methods of ingesting cannabis, so cannabis tea works perfectly for those seeking a mild brew.

Remedy Columbia is a premier medical dispensary servicing the community of Columbia, Maryland. Our trained and knowledgeable staff is available to assist customers with any questions or concerns they may have about our extensive menu of cannabis products, which include edibles, high-quality flower, concentrates, and much more. Check out our online menu to see what’s available, or stop by today!

Spotlight on Remedy Vendors: Curio Wellness Medicated Chews

Curio Wellness

With the recent changes to Maryland’s cannabis laws, cannabis-infused edibles are about to become all the rage. We’re incredibly excited to offer these powerful, easy-to-use and—last but certainly not least—delicious medications to you. We’re going to focus on an exciting new vendor we’re working with here at Remedy: Curio Wellness. But first, let’s explain a little bit about how cannabis edibles work.

Cannabis Edibles: The Basics

Cannabis edibles offer several advantages over traditional methods of administration, such as smoking or vaping cannabis flower or extract, or taking cannabis-infused tinctures. Because they’re made under strict controls and safeguards, edibles deliver very precise doses of cannabinoids, typically in small and easy-to-control increments. What’s more, unlike smoking or vaping in particular, taking cannabis via edibles is discreet, attracting as much attention as would popping a zingy mint in your mouth.

Curio Wellness 3

That said, there are important differences. When consuming cannabis-infused edibles, our bodies metabolize the medicine through the liver. This means that the cannabis in edibles will typically take a much longer time to take effect than it does with smoking or vaping. We recommend you allow at least 60 minutes for the effects of edibles to become apparent.

Depending on your recent food intake and other factors, it may take as long as two hours for the full effects to manifest, so be sure to wait a proper amount of time before trying a second dose. You may also find that—compared with other methods of taking cannabis medicine—the effects are a little more noticeable.

Curio Wellness: Medicated Chews in Fun, Appealing Flavors

We’re excited to work with Curio Wellness for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most important is their focus on pure medicine, appealing flavors, and all-natural ingredients. In other words, it’s a whole lot like the cannabis medicine we supply here at Remedy Columbia!

Curio Wellness’ Medicated Chews come in a variety of fun flavors, including Lemon Honey, Mango Ginger, and Blood Orange Turmeric. Made from natural flavors and colors, they’re delicious and made from natural pectin rather than gelatin (which means they’re vegan as well).

Source: Curio Wellness

The Medicated Chews are available in several different formulations depending upon your desired result. Need a bit more of the pain-blunting effects of THC? Try Mango Ginger in the 25mg dose. Concerned about the potential distraction of THC psychoactivity? Try Lemon Honey in a 10:1 CBD-to-THC ratio.

Confused? Just refer to Curio Wellness’ handy dosing chart for a graphic representation of the effects of their Medicated Chews!   

 
We aim to keep Curio Wellness’ products in stock, but it’s a good idea to browse our live menu before heading down to the dispensary, as sometimes products sell out more quickly than we can restock them. We’re confident that once you try these convenient, great-tasting and handy little chews, you’ll be wanting more of them as well!

Keeping a Cannabis Journal: Clearing Up the Smoke on Why and How

cannabis journal

Using cannabis for medical conditions can feel like a straight-up miracle. But after a while, it can also blend together – was it the Blue Dream that eased those monster symptoms, or was it the Blue Cheese? Did your symptoms decrease with the capsules or with the cartridge? Keeping a cannabis journal is a great way to remedy this dilemma because while cannabis may not have a great reputation for helping to sharpen one’s memory, this medical marvel is certainly worth remembering.

What is a Medical Cannabis Journal?

Because of its emphasis, your medical cannabis journal will be different from other cannabis journals — it needs to track your symptoms and other health factors as well as your cannabis regimen. It will act as a great reference for treating symptoms in the future, as well as providing a record for any caretakers involved.

cannabis journal with bud

It’s best to use your journal every day so that you can accurately track your condition and treatment, enabling you to look up “the last time this happened” when symptoms strike. You’ll want to reflect on your particular situation before setting a format for your journal, but here are a few ideas of helpful things to include in your entries:

  1. The Day’s Symptoms: At the end of the day, assess your symptoms using categories that make sense in regard to your condition. For example, fibromyalgia fighters might include pain levels, energy levels, and fibro fog.

  2. Your Cannabis Regimine: Write down the cannabis you’re treating with, including the precise dose, strain, and grower/brand. Including the cannabinoid profile is also very important, especially as more options (in addition to THC and CBD) hit the market – different cannabinoids have different superpowers, this will help you track what helps. Also, note how long the cannabis helped for.

  3. Other Factors: Recording other health factors is also important. Things like consuming trigger foods, how much sleep you got the night before, and exercise are crucial for understanding the full picture and can help you identify any other triggers.

Other Reasons to Keep a Cannabis Journal

But it doesn’t have to be ALL business. While it’s frustrating to have to treat medical symptoms at all, there is an element of fun when cannabis is your medicine. Even if you’re among those who say the euphoric “high” is no longer a regular side effect. it’s still a beautiful plant. It smells great, and there’s a whole evolving and exciting subculture around it.

cannabis journal closeup on strain

And, like approaching cannabis herself, the ways you can start keeping a medical cannabis journal are endless. What else would you like your journal to do? Is your objective to solely to remember which strains and products work for symptoms, or would you like to look back on other aspects of the experience as well? Here’s a few more to add into the mix:

  1. Rate and Compare Strain Variety: Is that GSC only sometimes your fave of the cookie strains? Record what you think of different growers’ offerings using a scale of your own creation. Is that homegrown Bubba Kush only 6/10 on your estimate of Snoop Dogg approval? Get it down in your journal and next time, get it elsewhere.

  2. To Remember Stoney Adventures: Even medical users gotta live it up! Next time you and your buddy Herb take on the town, note it in your journal: Dear Diary: Today my fave edible and I went to the park and watched rollerbladers fall down. Record the gist of your adventure, partners-in-crime, favorite moments, how cannabis helped the experience be awesome…and perhaps a bit about if that pesky medical stuff hindered your play (and how).

  3. Canna-Tourism: When you need cannabis to treat a condition, legal restrictions can limit your travel options. Luckily, the list of options is getting longer with every vote. So next time you hit up another canna-state, you’ll be able to remember the details for friends who want scoops and tips. Note down things like all the different places that you visit, what you enjoyed, and what to recommend.

How to Start Keeping a Cannabis Journal

Now that you’ve sorted out all of your objectives in keeping a medical cannabis journal, we can get down to business. Before you get rolling, two more decisions are at hand:

cannabis journal laptop or notebook
  1. OG or Digital? Some people will always go analog, choosing a journal that they can physically touch the pages of. (If you’re a doodler or otherwise enjoy drawing, this may be something to factor in.) But others will find that a digital journal app is more discreet and easier to keep at hand.

  2. What Will You Include? In addition to the medical categories suggested in the first section, decide what you’d like to look back and remember from your cannabis experiences. Some additional examples of categories are: dispensary purchased at, look, taste, effect description, munchies, and things laughed at.

And, of course, your friendly Remedy budtenders would be happy to answer your questions and help you stock up on supplies.

How Cannabis Works to Treat Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Cannabis and MS

You’ve probably heard about how celebrity Montel Williams has treated his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with cannabis since the 1990s, and how he credits it with relieving his pain and depression. But do cannabis and MS have that relationship for everyone?

Millions of people around the world suffer from the debilitating symptoms of MS, but the good news is many of them find relief every day by using cannabis. In this article we will take a look at the many MS symptoms cannabis can treat and why it works so well – even if you aren’t a celebrity.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) which affects more than 2,300,00 people over the world. It’s a demyelinating condition, which means it causes damage to the myelin. This fatty material insulates the nerves, acting like the outside of an electrical wire. The myelin is what allows the nerves to transmit impulses quickly. Our ability to make smooth, coordinated movements without much conscious effort depends upon the speed and efficiency of these impulses.

Cannabis and MS text

When a person has MS, their immune system begins to attack their central nervous system. White blood cells surround the myelin and destroy it. When a person loses healthy myelin (demyelination), they experience a disruption in how the nerves can conduct electrical impulse from the brain. This is what produces the debilitating symptoms of MS. The areas where myelin is lost become hardened and scared, and is why the condition is called multiple sclerosis, meaning ‘many scars.’

Along with electrical impulses, our nervous system works to communicate with the body by sending neurotransmitters between neurons. These messages regulate everything we think, feel, and do by traveling through the synapse (gaps between neurons) and attaching to receptors on the receiving neuron (postsynaptic).

This is where endocannabinoids come into play.

Endocannabinoids and Their Role in MS

Endocannabinoids are a unique set of neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. They work differently than most because they travel backward and are known as retrograde signals. Unlike neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that work with the message receiving neurons (postsynaptic), endocannabinoids work with the message sending neuron (presynaptic). When a sending neuron becomes overactive, it can throw the system out of balance. Endocannabinoids allow the receiving neuron to send a signal back to the overactive sender that it needs to slow things down, bringing the system back into homeostasis.

Cannabis and MS connectors in brain

Anandamide (AEA) is an endocannabinoid that helps regulate the immune system. Research is showing that people with MS have an endocannabinoid system that isn’t functioning at its best because it isn’t producing enough AEA.

Cannabis and MS: How Does it Help?

Because people with MS don’t produce enough cannabinoids on their own, reintroducing them using cannabis has the potential to reduce many of their symptoms.

Here’s what cannabis can do for people with MS:

1. Improve Muscle-Tone and Control

MS patients deal with tremors, muscle spasticity, and poor muscle control daily. Involuntary muscle contractions can cause everything from mild tightness to severe pain and can make life incredibly difficult. Many studies have found that cannabis can control muscle tone, which can significantly improve the frequency and severity of tremors and spasms.

Cannabis and MS man practicing walking

2. Anti-inflammatory Action

People with MS have an immune system that’s in overdrive, which can cause a lot of inflammation in the brain. All this inflammation eventually leads to neural degeneration which can worsen the symptoms of MS and lead to further nervous system damage. Cannabis is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can work to regulate the immune system, helping to treat MS and significantly reduce many of the associated symptoms.

3. Regulate Mood

MS is an emotionally difficult condition to live with, and up to one-third of patients suffer from depression and anxiety. Mood disorders associated with MS were previously thought to be caused by the diagnosis and prognosis of the disease itself, but new research suggests that mood changes associated with MS are due to brain inflammation.

Cannabis has been effectively used to treat pain for a long time and can reduce painful symptoms in people suffering from MS. Cannabis helps fight pain by mediating the glycine receptors. These receptors regulate how pain receptors can signal the brain and spinal cord.

Cannabis and MS happy person in wheelchair

Medical marijuana can help reduce inflammation, therefore treating the root cause of anxiety and depression. Not only can cannabis help reduce inflammation, but it can also influence the limbic system (emotional brain) and promote feelings of overall well-being

4. Reduce Pain

The best part is that unlike other pain medication, people who use cannabis won’t build up a tolerance to its analgesic effects. That means they won’t need to keep increasing the dosages. Cannabis is also generally non-addictive with minimal side effects.

The effectiveness of cannabis to relieve the symptoms of MS is being recognized in the medical community. What was once only seen as anecdotal tales of an “alternative” medication is now being proven by scientific evidence. We are continuing to learn how cannabis treats the symptoms of MS—and are also discovering its potential to protect and even reverse nerve damage that has already happened.

Want to learn more about cannabis for MS? Schedule an appointment!

Cannabis and ALS: What You Need to Know

Cannabis and ALS

Remember when you couldn’t log onto social media without seeing someone dump a bucket of ice water over their heads for a good cause? The famous Ice Bucket Challenge helped raise awareness and research funds for the devastating disease called ALS. We hope some of those funds go to further investigate the relationship between cannabis and ALS.

Cannabis and ALS water bucket challenge

ALS is also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” named after the famous baseball player who built a heroic reputation for playing through his physical limitation. This neurodegenerative condition causes the muscles to waste away and has no cure — but there is hope. In this article, we will cover ALS and how cannabis can relieve symptoms and help stop the disease from progressing.

What Exactly is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a degenerative neurological disease that involves the neurons (nerve cells) that control voluntary muscle movement. These voluntary muscles are responsible for actions like talking, walking, and chewing. ALS is a progressive disease that gets worse with time. There is no cure for ALS, and there aren’t any proven treatments to reverse or slow its progression.

ALS is part of a group of disorders called motor neuron diseases, which are characterized by the deterioration and death of these neurons. Nerve cells connect the brain and spinal cord to muscles all over the body, providing communication links between the brain and all the voluntary muscles. When motor neurons start to degenerate and die over time, messages aren’t sent to the muscles. Without the ability to function, the muscles begin to weaken, twitch, become paralyzed, and waste away. The brain eventually loses the ability to control voluntary movements, and the muscles deteriorate, which can lead to many debilitating symptoms including respiratory failure.

Cannabis and ALS diagram

The most common symptoms of ALS are muscle stiffness and weakness. As the disease progresses, patients lose the ability to move, eat, speak, and sometimes even breath. Many ASL patients also suffer from depression that develops from a reduced quality of life.

Over 30,000 Americans are affected by ALS, but we still don’t know exactly how it is caused.

While there is no cure for ALS, there are medications used to reduce nerve damage and to try and slow the decline of function. Other drugs are used to treat the symptoms of ALS like stiffness, drooling, depression, sleep problems, constipation, and uncontrolled episodes of crying or laughing. The effectiveness of these medications can vary, and they often cause uncomfortable side effects.

Can Cannabis Treat ALS?

Cannabis has been used to bring relief from the symptoms of ALS for a long time, and researchers are finding it may even slow the progression of the diseases. The nerve damage associated with ALS happens through a combination of excitotoxicity and oxidative stress.  Cannabis has the potential to address both of these issues.

Cannabis and ALS doctor writing prescription

Cannabis has been a known antioxidant for a long time and can help decrease the nerve damage caused by too many free radicals within the body. Along with being a powerful antioxidant, cannabis also provides neuroprotection that can spare the neurons from the excitotoxicity caused by injured nerve tissue. The neuroprotection cannabis offers may be able to slow the damage that leads to cell death.

A 2004 animal study found that cannabinoids were able to slow the motor impairment and prolong survival in individuals with motor neuron cell damage. Researchers concluded that the cannabinoid treatment reduced both oxidative damage and excitotoxicity. Other studies have looked at the neuroprotection benefits of cannabis for ALS patients, with promising results. Researchers are currently studying how CB2 receptors can play a role in ALS progression and are working to understand how the endocannabinoid system is involved in reducing oxidative cell damage and neuroinflammation.

Cannabis and ALS: Managing Symptoms

While we are still learning how cannabis can help slow the progression of ALS, we do know that it can provide much-needed relief to many of its uncomfortable symptoms. Marijuana can help with issues like chronic pain, muscle spasticity, appetite, and sleep problems. A 2001 literature review in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care found that many symptoms of ALS are treatable with cannabis and summarized their findings in this table:

Source: researchgate.net

Not only can cannabis help relieve physical symptoms, but it can also improve a patient’s psychological state. ALS can take a massive toll on mental health, and cannabis can help boost mood, reduce anxiety, and alleviate depression.

A 2012 survey of 48 ALS patients who used cannabis to alleviate symptoms found many positive benefits. Patients reported improvements in appetite, sleep, swallowing, mood, and better speech. These patients only reported a few side effects like a sore throat and red eyes, which can be avoided by other methods of cannabis use like edibles and topicals, rather than smoking.

With continued research on medical cannabis as a treatment for ALS, we will see a future with more options for patients and alternatives to prescription drugs without the side effects. If you have questions about whether medical cannabis may help you manage your condition, be sure to schedule an appointment.