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.

Can Cannabis Treat Fibromyalgia?

Cannabis and fibromyalgia

For people with fibromyalgia, simple everyday tasks can be a struggle. The mysterious pain and fatigue associated with this chronic disorder can leave patients and their loved ones desperate for a solution. Could cannabis be the answer they are looking for?

Let’s take a look at what the current research has to say about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for fibromyalgia.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life. Symptoms can resemble those of arthritis, but it’s the soft tissue that is affected rather than the joints. It’s a poorly understood and commonly misdiagnosed disease that causes pain, cognitive problems, fatigue, and many other types of discomfort.

Cannabis and fibromyalgia diagnosis pad

While there is some speculation that fibromyalgia might be a neurological disorder, doctors don’t know the cause. Things like trauma, infections, and even genetics are thought to be triggers, but how these factors contribute to the diseases isn’t well understood.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but some patients find relief with treatments like acupuncture, exercise, behavioral therapy, and medications for pain and sleep. And a growing number of patients have been finding success relieving their symptoms with medical cannabis.

Cannabis for Fibromyalgia

Cannabis is proven to work to help relieve chronic pain, so it makes sense that it could be an effective way for fibromyalgia patients to supplement their medical treatment. While further clinical research on using cannabis for this disease is still needed, what we’ve seen so far is very promising. There’s also a massive amount of anecdotal evidence that cannabis brings relief to those suffering from the pain of fibromyalgia.

Cannabis and fibromyalgia man leaning back

One study looked at 56 patients with fibromyalgia, half of which used cannabis while the other half abstained. The cannabis users reported a significant reduction in stiffness and pain, as well as an easier time relaxing than those not using cannabis.

The authors concluded this study with a call for more research into cannabis for fibromyalgia, so we can better understand it’s potential as a treatment. Studies like these and the impressive amount of anecdotal evidence makes researchers hopeful that cannabis will one day become an established treatment for fibromyalgia.

How Does Cannabis Work for Fibromyalgia?

While we still have a way to go in understanding fibromyalgia, some researchers think it could be connected to deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for keeping our bodies in a state of balance. When the ECS isn’t functioning correctly because of a deficiency, systems are thrown out of balance which can lead to things like fibromyalgia.

Cannabis and fibromyalgia cb1 and cb2 receptors

Medical cannabis can supplement the ECS with compounds similar to those our bodies naturally produce, helping to restore homeostasis. Cannabis can also have a leg-up on other treatments because it doesn’t pose the same overdose and dependency risks as opioids. It can also help with both sleep regulation and mental stimulation depending on dosage, which can be particularly helpful in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The Bottom Line?

Although fibromyalgia is still poorly understood, there is hope on the horizon. Medical cannabis has the potential to help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, like the pain and fatigue that makes life difficult. Every patient deserves to be able to find a treatment that works for them, and for some people that treatment is cannabis.

Do you or a loved one have fibromyalgia or another pain condition? If you’d like to learn more about your options with medical cannabis, we’d love to help. Stop by or make an appointment and let our expert staff assist you with learning about the medical benefits of cannabis or becoming a new medical cannabis patient.

Can Cannabis Treat the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Cannabis and Parkinsons

While difficult-to-treat diseases like Parkinson’s disease (PD) can seem scary, there has been a recent increase in non-traditional approaches to managing them. Although there is still a lot of research to be done, cannabis is gaining some recognition for its ability to ease the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s. This article outlines what we currently know about how medical cannabis can help.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative condition known as a motor system disorder. It develops as a result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Over time, this progressive disease causes severe changes in movement that can impact a person’s ability to perform regular activities. It is most commonly characterized by motor symptoms that include tremors, shaking, the rigidity of muscles, and slowed movement. It also causes non-motor symptoms like depression, anxiety, sleep problems, constipation, fatigue, and more.

As PD symptoms develop, patients can have difficulty talking, walking, and completing simple tasks. While some people end up severely disabled, others only experience minor motor symptoms. The intensity of symptoms varies from person to person, and it isn’t possible to predict which symptoms a patient will develop.

Cannabis and Parkinsons spelled out

Over 1 million people are living with PD in America alone, with over 10 million people diagnosed worldwide. While PD can happen at any age, most people start to develop symptoms after the age of 50. There is currently no cure for PD, but there are medications that can ease symptoms by helping to replenish dopamine in the brain.

While many patients can benefit from these drugs, not all symptoms respond equally. Some have side effects that cause additional tremor symptoms called dyskinesia, which has many patients and researchers looking to cannabis as an alternative treatment.

Cannabis and Parkinson’s

Science is continually working to develop new ways to treat and manage PD symptoms to improve quality of life, and cannabis has the potential to help.

One of the essential physiologic systems that help maintain our overall health is the endocannabinoid system. It works by promoting homeostasis, and effects everything from appetite, sleep, pain, memory, mood, inflammation, and more. Our endocannabinoid receptors become stimulated by the endocannabinoids we make naturally in our bodies, but they are also stimulated by the cannabinoids found in cannabis.

Cannabis and Parkinsons brain on leaf

Parkinson’s disease affects the area in the brain that controls motor function called the basal ganglia, which happens to contain many cannabinoid receptors. Medical cannabis has the potential to help people with PD find relief from symptoms like pain, tremors, sleep and mood disturbances, and problems with movement. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, along with the ability to act as neuroprotector and promote the development of new neurons. Many benefits can even come from the relaxing effects cannabis has on the brain and the body.

Cannabis and Parkinson’s: Movement Control

Symptoms associated with movement are one of the most significant problems for people with PD. The good news is cannabinoid receptors are present in the areas of the brain that are involved in movement control. However, we are still figuring out the exact role that cannabinoids play in the process. While many patients report improvements in their condition from using cannabis, experiments have produced varied results with symptoms like slowness, tremor, and dyskinesia.

Cannabis and Parkinsons caregiver helping patient

One 2014 study found that patients with PD showed improvements in sleep, pain, and tremors after 30 minutes of taking cannabis. While some findings indicate that cannabinoids could help with movement control, others found no effect or that it made it worse. Mixed results like these prove that a lot of research is still needed to learn about the role cannabis plays in helping control movement and how we can use it to improve PD treatments.

Brain Cell Protection

Cannabinoids have a wide variety of actions, which means there is a lot of potential for them to treat Parkinson’s in different ways. Neurodegenerative diseases like PD cause brain cells to struggle with various problems like inflammation, protein misfolding, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial failure.

Many inflammatory changes occur in the brains of people with PD, and the diseases may even be triggered by it. Fortunately, there has been a lot of research that has focused on the CB2 receptors and their ability to regulate inflammation. One study from 2010 found cannabinoids to have significant anti-inflammatory properties, which could potentially help protect brain cells and slow the progression of PD.

Other Symptoms

Although Parkinson’s is known for its physical symptoms, it produces a range of other debilitating issues like anxiety, depression, memory problems, and hallucinations. These are often the most difficult symptoms to treat, but cannabis is showing promise in addressing these. Cannabis has been reported to help reduce pain, improve sleep, and ease some psychological issues associated with battling PD.

As researchers continue to understand how the endocannabinoid system works, advances will likely give us insight into how cannabis can be used for neurological conditions. While there are many ways cannabis can help someone with Parkinson’s, we are continuing to learn the best ways it can be used. Cannabis can have some minor side effects, but many people prefer them to the risks associated with traditional PD medications.

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether cannabis is a suitable option for Parkinson’s is to discuss it with your physician. Maryland is one of only a few states that allows trained physicians to make cannabis recommendation for conditions beyond those listed as qualifying conditions. If you feel that your current treatment plan is not working for you, let your doctor now!

Already have a recommendation or want to learn more about getting one in Maryland? Schedule an appointment today!

How to Treat Insomnia With Cannabis

cannabis for insomnia

There’s nothing quite as sweet as a good night’s sleep. It helps us feel our best and is crucial for long-term health and wellness. Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from the frustration of chronic insomnia and are searching for a solution.

When our natural sleep cycles are thrown-off by modern life, things like stress, erratic schedules, and too much caffeine can keep us staring at the ceiling at 2 AM. It’s easy to want to turn to prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids that can make you feel groggy the next morning, but cannabis can be a much better solution. Let’s take a look at the facts about cannabis for insomnia. Here’s how it works.

Cannabis for Insomnia

When physical symptoms like chronic pain and stiffness make it hard to fall asleep, cannabis can come to the rescue by acting as an analgesic. It can also soothe anxiety to help ease a racing mind, which makes getting to sleep and staying there a lot easier.

cannabis for insomnia person awake in bed

While THC and CBD are both cannabinoids that provide some amazing therapeutic benefits for sleep, THC acts as the more powerful sedative. Besides making you feel sleepy, cannabis with higher amounts of THC works to reduce REM, which helps you stay in the deeper, more restful phases of sleep for longer. This action can be helpful for those who have trouble staying asleep through the night, as well as those who suffer from bad dreams.

CBD has many relaxing properties without the “high” associated with THC. So if you’d rather avoid noticable photoactive effects, you might prefer winding down in the evenings with some CBD. When we take time to relax before bedtime, it makes falling asleep a lot easier. Combine CBD with a warm bath or a good book, and avoid screens with blue light to put yourself in the right mental and physical state for sleep.

Taking Cannabis Before Bed

There are many ways to take cannabis, so you might be wondering which consumption method is the best for sleep. Smoking or vaporizing flower and concentrates allows you to experience the effects instantly, so you can take it whenever you are ready to relax. Edibles and tinctures take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours before the full effects set in, so you’ll want to time your dosage accordingly.

cannabis for insomnia woman smoking in bed

It’s also important to remember that cannabis is biphasic. That means it can have opposite effects at high and low doses. Lower doses have the potential to produce feelings of alertness and heightened awareness, while higher doses can make you feel more sedated. It might take a little experimenting to find the amount that works best for you at bedtime. But remember you can always re-dose if you don’t feel the desired effects.

Final Thoughts About Cannabis for Sleep

Like any substance, cannabis won’t work the same way for everyone. Some people find high-THC products too stimulating or anxiety provoking, while others find them very soothing and relaxing. It’s a good idea to experiment with different strains until you discover what works for you.

cannabis for insomnia leaf shadow on bed

If you aren’t sure where to start, our dispensary staff will be happy to make some recommendations for you based on your goals and your experience with cannabis.

Are you ready to see for yourself what cannabis can do for your insomnia? If you have been unable to find relief with prescription medication, schedule an appointment or just drop in to learn more about becoming a patient.

Can You Treat Anxiety With Cannabis?

best cannabis for anxiety

Cannabis and anxiety have a confusing relationship. While it’s becoming more popular to use cannabis as a remedy for anxiety, it works differently for different people. The same cannabis strain might provide instant relaxation and relief for one person while causing heightened anxiety for someone else.

Fortunately, there is such a large variety of medical cannabis choices that most people who need a remedy for anxiety can find something that works for them. In this article, we will take a look at the best cannabis for anxiety and how to choose something that will work for you.

How Does Cannabis Work for Anxiety?

THC and CBD are two of the most abundant and well-studied cannabinoids, and they both act on parts of the brain that influence anxiety. While THC can help to reduce anxiety in some people – especially in low to moderate doses – it can actually promote anxious feelings in others. Studies show that CBD has more general anxiety-reducing effects and can even help increase serotonin levels, supporting an overall positive mood.

best cannabis for anxiety cannabis brain

One of the main reasons cannabis produces a calming effect is because it acts on the neurotransmitter GABA, which can ease anxiety. Most prescription anxiety medications also work by targeting GABA in the brain. But these types of drugs come with a host of unwanted side-effects, causing people to seek alternatives like cannabis.

Researchers think that cannabis also works to promote relaxation by helping to lower the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers the fight-or-flight stress response. We are only beginning to understand the mechanisms with which cannabis provides relief from anxiety, but we do know that achieving positive effects can depend on finding the right strain and dosage.

What is the Best Cannabis for Anxiety?

If you are new to cannabis and want to try it for anxiety, start by experimenting with strains that are higher in CBD and lower in THC. A few high-CBD strains to look for include Harlequin, Harle Tsu, ACDC, Ringo’s Gift, or Sweet and Sour Diesel.

best cannabis for anxiety bud

For those who are comfortable with using a little more THC to combat their anxiety, Indica strains are a great choice because of the deep-relaxation inducing effects they can provide. Some Indica-dominate strains famous for easing anxiety include Granddaddy Purple, Northern Lights, and Blackberry Kush.

Another popular option is CBD-only products. They don’t contain any THC, and are a good option if feeling “high” dosn’t appeal to you. Both animal and human studies have shown that CBD can significantly reduce anxiety as opposed to placebo, and could be especially useful for those who experience social anxiety.  

Why “Less is More” When Using Cannabis for Anxiety

Cannabis is biphasic, which means it can have opposite effects at low and high doses. Smaller amounts of THC are known to promote a pleasant and euphoric experience, while high doses can sometimes cause over-stimulation and racing thoughts. If you find that THC increases your anxiety rather than eases it, you might try lowing your dose.

best cannabis for anxiety vape cartridge, pre-roll, flower

Again, everyone is different, and it takes a little experimentation to learn how different levels of THC will make you feel. CBD can work to combat some of the anxiety-inducing effects of THC, which is another reason that products with a generous amount of CBD, and low to moderate amounts of THC, are often recommended for people who are prone to anxiety.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from a mental health condition like anxiety, remember you are not alone. There is help available to you. Always talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and treatment options, including medical cannabis. Whatever treatments you decide to try, the process will involve some trial and error to find out what works for you as an individual.

The bottom line is that cannabis affects everyone differently and finding the stains and products that relieve your anxiety will take a little experimentation. Keep a journal to track what works and what doesn’t, and always talk to your dispensary staff about your concerns and ask for recommendations.

If you are ready to learn more about becoming a medical cannabis user, make an appointment today. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help.

Finding The Right Cannabis Strain And Consumption Method

finding the right cannabis strain

If you’ve recently decided to take advantage of all the benefits of medical cannabis, you might be feeling overwhelmed with the variety of strains and methods of consumption. While it can seem confusing at first, it gets easier once you know the basics. In this article, we’ll go over finding the right cannabis strain and consumption methods that work for you.

What Makes a Cannabis Strain Unique?

To get an idea of what makes a strain stand out, it’s helpful to understand a little about cannabis chemistry. While there are hundreds of different compounds in any given variety, the cannabinoids and terpenes will have the most significant impact on how a strain will make you feel.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are the most active cannabis compounds and are typically the biggest players when it comes to choosing a strain for a specific condition. While there are several different cannabinoids that contribute to the therapeutic effects of cannabis, THC and CBD are the most prevalent.

THC: strains high in THC are an excellent choice for those who need help with sleep or stress.  It can help you fall asleep faster and even help reduce nightmares. It’s also great for:

  • Pain relief
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Depression
  • Relaxation

CBD: Strains high in CBD are preferable for those who want to avoid the “high” associated with THC and those who need localized pain management. It also has a positive effect on mood and counteracts potential adverse side effects of THC like anxiety or memory impairment. People choose CBD to help manage issues like:

  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasm
  • Overall wellness
  • A wide range of other conditions

Terpenes

Terpenes are what give a strain its specific taste and aroma, as well as some of its therapeutic benefits. There are many types of terpenes, and it takes a little time and experience to become familiar with how they can benefit you.

It’s best to start by choosing strains with aromas you find pleasant. It’s also a good idea to ask your dispensary staff to recommend strains with specific terpenes that can help you achieve your desired outcome.

Finding the Right Cannabis Strain: Cannabis Strain Categories

Sativas often contain high amounts of THC. They are known to provide therapeutic benefits without causing too much sedation, which is great for those who want to go about their everyday tasks. People also enjoy sativas for their ability to promote creativity, energy and combat depression. Sativas are known to help with the following conditions:

  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Low appetite

Indicas sometimes have less THC than sativas, but amounts vary widely by strain. They tend to have more sedative effects and are great for those who need help relaxing or sleeping. People often choose indicas to relieve the symptoms of these conditions:

Hybrids are a cross between indicas and sativas. They are typically very potent and can offer a blend of therapeutic properties found in both strain categories. Most of the cannabis you find at dispensaries are sativa-dominant or indica dominant hybrids. Generations of cross-breeding have made it pretty rare to find a true indica or sativa these days.

Finding the Right Cannabis Strain: Consumption Methods

Choosing a consumption method comes down to personal preference. Some people aren’t comfortable with the idea of smoking, while others may have respiratory conditions that make smoking out of the question. While vaping is a healthier version of inhalation, you also have the option of ingestion (edibles and capsules), oral absorption (sublingual drops), or topical application (lotions and salves.) Your dispensary stuff will be happy to help you select a method based on your preferences and goals.

Keeping a Cannabis Journal

The effects of a strain can vary widely from person to person, so the best way to find the right strain for your condition is to do some experimenting. Starting a cannabis journal can help you develop an understanding of how different strains make you feel. By writing down the strain, your consumption method, and your experience, you’ll develop a personal database of the effectiveness of different products and how they contribute to your wellbeing.

Whatever goals you want to achieve with cannabis, finding the right cannabis strain is an important first step. The staff at Remedy Columbia will be happy to help you with all your questions and provide helpful recommendations. Stop by or schedule an appointment today!

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome: Can Cannabis Make You Sick?

Cannabis Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome 1200x630

It may seem paradoxical that cannabis — which is often used to treat nausea and vomiting — can cause Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) in some users. Yet some chronic cannabis users may develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (also sometimes called “Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome,” a condition that causes persistent vomiting, seemingly endless vomiting episodes, and severe abdominal pain. In this article, you’ll learn more about what the symptoms are, why CHS only occurs in some individuals, how to determine if you have CHS, and what the stages of the condition are.

What Are The Symptoms of CHS?

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome nauseous man

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is an episodic condition, meaning it comes and goes. The most obvious symptom of CHS is vomiting sessions lasting between 24 and 48 hours, followed by asymptomatic periods that can last weeks or months.

During an episode, patients will experience any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain that can’t be relieved with conventional treatments (e.g., ondansetron, promethazine, and metoclopramide)
  • Dehydration
  • Disorientation
  • Extended periods of nausea and vomiting — up to 20 times per day
  • Severe nausea and intractable vomiting
  • Unintentional weight loss

According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology, researchers identified the major diagnostic characteristics of CHS patients:

  • Abdominal pain (85.1%)
  • At least weekly cannabis use, but usually much more (97.4%)
  • Chronic cannabis use for more than a year (74.8%)
  • Severe nausea and vomiting (100%)
  • Symptoms go away after patients stop using cannabis (96.8%)
  • Men are more likely to suffer from CHS — men represented 72.9 percent of patients in the study

Why Does Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome Occur Only in Some Cannabis Users?

The answer to this question remains a mystery, although there are a few proposed explanations:

  • Genetics: Individuals who get CHS may have a genetic or immune vulnerability;
  • Long-Term Excessive Use of Cannabis: With rare exception, most everyone who develops CHS have been using cannabis for a long time, and often;
  • Digestive Tract: Our digestive tract contains many molecules that bind to THC that cannabis use can affect. In some people, long-term cannabis use may alter the way their molecules respond, which could lead to CHS.
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome nauseous woman

How Do You Know You Have CHS?

There are two indicators that suggest a person has CHS:

  • Nausea and vomiting that go away (temporarily) after the patient takes a hot bath, shower, or medicates with capsaicin (an active component of chili peppers). No other vomiting condition we know reverses itself due to heat;
  • Symptoms cease and don’t recur after a sustained period of abstinence. If cessation of cannabis use doesn’t eliminate CHS, the patient may have a different type of cyclic vomiting condition.

Keep in mind that the severity and length of time a patient suffers from symptoms can vary dramatically among those with CHS.

What Are The Stages of CHS?

There are three stages of CHS symptoms:

Phase 1: Prodromal Phase

This phase can last anywhere from months to years. During this phase, a patient will generally experience nausea and abdominal pain when they wake up in the morning.

During this phase, most patients can still maintain their regular eating patterns. However, many patients up their cannabis use, thinking the cannabis will cure their nausea and vomiting. It’s obviously paradoxical that cannabis (which many patients use to get rid of nausea and vomiting) could cause it others.

Phase 2: Hyperemetic phase

During the hyperemetic phase, patients will experience persistent nausea, abdominal pain, reduced appetite and food intake, dehydration, and ongoing vomiting episodes. Vomiting during this phase can be overwhelming and may persist until the patient stops their cannabis use.

Phase 3: Recovery phase

During this phase — which can last between days to months — the patient’s appetite goes back to normal, and they no longer experience symptoms. Symptoms will likely return if the patient resumes cannabis use.

Final Thoughts: Treating Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Clearly, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is no joke for those suffering from it. Fortunately, it can be treated. Unfortunately, the only long-term solution is for a patient to stop using cannabis, permanently. Also, as we noted earlier, patients can find short-term relief by taking a hot shower, a bath, or by using a topical capsaicin cream.

Would you like to know more about medical cannabis? We’d love to help. Schedule an appointment and we can help you become a registered Medical Cannabis Patient in Maryland.

Most Medical Cannabis is Used as Pain Relief

medical cannabis statistics

For people who depend on cannabis to live a high-quality life, it will come as no surprise that the most common reason Americans use this plant is to treat pain. A new study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Michigan looked at cannabis use as a treatment for a long list of health issues to see exactly why people are turning to it for medicine, among other medical cannabis statistics. They found that almost two-thirds of patients are using cannabis for chronic pain.

Unfortunately, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug according to the Federal Controlled Substances Act, which makes it difficult to conduct nationwide studies on cannabis users. This study was designed to understand medical cannabis statistics in states where it’s legally allowed. They wanted to see if patients are using cannabis for evidence-based, medically approved reasons. Here’s what they found.

Medical Cannabis Statistics in the US

medical cannabis statistics US

The researchers analyzed data from the 15 states that report the reasons for the patient’s medical cannabis use. They found that chronic pain, which is defined as pain that lasts beyond a few months, is the most common reason people choose to use medical cannabis. A large number of patients also report using medical cannabis to treat the stiffness associated with multiple sclerosis and nausea that comes with chemotherapy.

These findings are in line with a large number of Americans who suffer from chronic pain, which is estimated to be over 100 million people. They are also consistent with solid scientific evidence that cannabis works as an effective treatment for pain.

The researchers looked at symptoms and conditions that have been proven to be alleviated by cannabis based on a report by the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine. They found that 85 percent of the patients use cannabis for reasons that are supported by conclusive or substantial evidence.

Removing the Stigma of Cannabis

The researchers said that their findings don’t support the current status of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, which classifies it has having no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse. This scheduling puts it in the same category as heroin and cocaine, despite it being legal in 10 states and approved for medical use in 33 states.

medical cannabis statistics researcher looking at plant

The researchers argue that it’s time for the federal government to figure out how to properly regulate cannabis and incorporate it into medical practice in a safe way. Until these changes are put in place, there will continue to be no clinical guidelines for medical cannabis like there are for traditional prescription drugs.

What’s on the Horizon?

While the current federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance is frustrating, there is hope on the horizon. According to polls by the Pew Research Center, six out of 10 Americans want to fully legalize cannabis. That’s 62% of the US voting population. A whopping 84% believe that cannabis has health benefits and should be available for medical use.

medical cannabis statistics greenhouse

With the rise in cannabis awareness, education, and support — and with positive medical cannabis statistics — we are hopefully on our way to living in a country where cannabis is available to everyone who needs it.

Ready to learn more about how you can access cannabis? Schedule an appointment for help becoming a registered Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient.