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.

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.

The Latest on Cannabis for Depression

Cannabis for Depression

We can all agree that one of the most popular reasons people use cannabis is because it makes them feel good. Even the phrase “getting high” refers to its ability to uplift our mental state. But can cannabis be used clinically to treat depression? In this article, we’ll break down the use of medical cannabis for depression and take a look at what the latest research has to say.

Cannabis for Depression

Depression affects more than 300 million people and is considered the biggest cause of disability around the world. Current treatments for depression are useful for many, but they can take weeks before a patient experiences relief. These drugs also come with a host of unwanted side effects, and weaning off of them can be a long and horrible experience. With that said, there is hope for effective alternatives.

Cannabis for Depression depressed woman

Researchers are looking to medical cannabis to treat conditions like depression because of its ability to balance the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring brain chemicals that play a role in cognition, mood, emotions, and behavior.

The idea is that by introducing cannabis into the brain, balance is restored to the system. Some researchers think that chronic stress can suppress the production of endocannabinoids in the brain and lead to depression-like symptoms. This makes sense because stress and depression often go together.

While THC works to relieve depression for many people, there is currently a lot of clinical interest in CBD because of its potential for a large-spectrum of therapies. Researchers are especially interested in the effects of CBD on the brain because of its ability to treat neurological disorders like epilepsy. But can CBD treat depression?

CBD Acts Like an Antidepressant

One of the most recent studies done on the effects of cannabis for depression showed promising results using CBD. The study published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology found that CBD affected mice much like antidepressant drugs. The researchers used rodents who were bred to develop depressive symptoms and found that CBD increased their resilience in stress models of depression. Essentially, the CBD worked like an antidepressant for these animals.

Cannabis for Depression cbd oil

What’s really exciting is that the effects developed very quickly, within an hour of being administered, and lasted for a week after a single dose. Traditional antidepressants like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) take weeks to start working and need to be taken every day.

How Does CBD Work for Depression?

The positive effects of CBD seen in this study are associated with a significant release of neurotrophin (BDNF) in parts of the brain responsible for depression. BDNF promotes neuroplasticity and the formation of new cells, which can cause an antidepressant effect.

Cannabis for Depression leaf on brain

Another rodent study done by the same team found that CBD’s antidepressant-like properties are associated with serotonin levels. This means that CBD might be able to enhance the effectiveness of traditional antidepressant drugs like SSRIs.

Is Cannabis for Depression Right for You?

While these findings are exciting, more research on human patients is needed before CBD or cannabis becomes an accepted treatment in mainstream medicine. Regardless of the research, many patients claim that cannabis works wonders to fight depression in their lives. Patients report it helps them handle day-to-day stress and allows them to see things in a more positive light. And there’s no question that people who use cannabis for recreation enjoy it for its mood-enhancing abilities.

Cannabis for Depression vial

If your doctor feels that cannabis may help manage your depression, Maryland law currently allows them to make that recommendation.

Ready to learn more about how cannabis can relieve feelings of depression? Schedule an appointment for help becoming a registered Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient.

Could Cannabis for Alzheimer’s Be the Next Big Breakthrough?

Cannabis for Alzheimers

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, you know it’s one of the most challenging conditions anyone can experience. With only a few treatments available to address this disease, you might be wondering if cannabis could be an option. Let’s take a look at what the latest research has to say about cannabis for Alzheimer’s.

Cannabis for Alzheimers old man with caretaker

The Basics of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Diseases (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive symptoms like memory loss, dementia, emotional struggles, speech issues, and more. It develops when destructive amyloid plaques and tangles start to build up in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is responsible for memory. As nerve cells die, connections are lost, and it becomes hard for the patient to remember events, reason, and even recognize people they know.

Unfortunately, there limited treatments that exist for AD. Therapies that are currently available only address the symptoms, not the progression of the disease itself. As the search for new therapies continues, there has been a development in the interest of cannabis-based treatments. The good news is researchers are hard at work to advance our understanding of how medical cannabis could play a role in the future of AD treatment.

Cannabis for Alzheimers family

Cannabis for Alzheimer’s

Researchers think that cannabis can interact with the brain in a way that provides AD symptom relief, as well as neuroprotection to fight disease progression. While there have only been a few studies so far on how cannabis might help AD patients, the findings look promising:

  • A 2018 study published by the Society for Neuroscience looked at mice with AD. It concluded that the mice treated with THC experienced improvements in memory and reduced neuronal loss.
  • In a study conducted in 2016, Israeli researchers administered cannabis oil to Alzheimer’s patients. The researchers observed a significant decrease in dementia symptoms. They concluded that cannabis was a safe and promising option for treating AD symptoms.
  • A 2016 Salk Institute study found that THC worked to reverse harmful amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. They also found that THC reduced the inflammation that leads to brain cell damage.
  • A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease looked at how THC can reduce amyloid plaque buildup and found promising results. They reported that their data strongly supports THC as a potential treatment option for fighting AD through several pathways.

The Bottom line?

While these findings are exciting, memory and dementia symptoms are not the only way cannabis can help AD patients. As the diseases progress, many patients experience depression, agitation, and anxiety. Cannabis has been proven to improve mood and ease depression and anxiety and can be used to enhance the quality of life for those suffering from AD.

Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is not yet a Maryland medical cannabis qualifying condition. If you think it should be, please write your legislators!

Cannabis for Alzheimers young care taker hugging woman

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.

What Patients Should Know About Cannabis for Palliative Care

Cannabis for Palliative Care

The role that cannabis can play in managing or treating a variety of conditions or symptoms is becoming clearer every day. With the rapid progress of legalization in the country, new and more effective products are being developed to alleviate pain and suffering. While more research must be done before cannabis can be definitively linked to curing certain illnesses, many patients who require comfort in the later stages of a terminal condition turn to cannabis for palliative care.

Cannabis for Palliative Care dropper and vial

The Pain-Relieving Properties of Cannabis

Cannabis is increasingly recognized by doctors and scientists alike for its potent analgesic properties. Within cannabis lies several chemical components that contribute to its ability to relieve pain, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly called THC) and cannabidiol (referred to as CBD). Each plays a particular role in cannabis’s effectiveness in reducing pain and other distressing symptoms, such as vomiting and nausea.

THC is famous for its psychoactive properties, but the chemical has proven to be an ideal panacea for pain as well. As THC is responsible for the powerful high that often accompanies cannabis, high THC strains can be especially useful for patients in palliative care. For certain conditions that require extreme potency, large quantities of THC can be an effective tool for providing comfort and relief.

CBD, in comparison, does not instigate a recognizable cannabis high when applied in concentrated forms. Rather, CBD offers patients the anodyne qualities of cannabis without the associated high. For patients who desire the painkilling effects of cannabis without a psychoactive experience, CBD has become a popular option when available.

The Effectiveness of Cannabis for Palliative Care

While every patient will require a treatment suited specifically for them, cannabis can be the right option to alleviate suffering for those afflicted by a debilitating illness. In particular, the powerful properties of THC and CBD in combination with each other have been shown to assuage severe pain and anguish.

Cannabis for Palliative Care bud between oils

As opposed to traditional painkillers, patients seeking out cannabis for palliative care prefer a natural medicine without the negative side-effects that can accompany prescription drugs. Indeed, many patients choose cannabis as an alternative to potentially problematic medications like opioids.

Patients often find that cannabis offers the same or greater efficacy in pain management compared to pharmaceuticals. As more research is done into cannabis as medicine, the potential is clear for strides to be made in unlocking the healing power of its constituent chemicals.

Ideal Cannabis for Palliative Care

When considering the use of marijuana for serious or terminal conditions, patients must always consult a doctor to determine the course of treatment that is appropriate for them. Furthermore, employees at cannabis care providers will often be equipped with the necessary knowledge to connect patients with the products best suited for their individual ailment.

Cannabis for Palliative Care doctor with plant

In general, indica strains are known to be more potent than sativas and possess sleep-inducing effects can be ideal for patients suffering from chronic and debilitating pain. While strains vary drastically in both quality and effects, indicas typically provide an embracing body high capable of melting away physical distress.

Edibles (or “medibles”) are also a potential avenue of exploration for patients seeking cannabis for palliative care. As edibles are usually much stronger than other forms of cannabis, they can act as long-lasting pain relievers. In addition, many patients may have conditions that prevent them from inhaling cannabis smoke, thus making edibles a safer and preferable option.

Want to learn more? Stop by our Columbia, Maryland, Dispensary—our staff is happy to help!

Glaucoma and Marijuana: Is Cannabis an Effective Treatment?

glaucoma and marijuana

Over 3 million Americans — most of whom are over age 40 — live with Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a degenerative disease that progressively degrades the cranial nerves. The disease can cause severe damage to one’s vision and is one of the most common causes of blindness not only in the U.S. but in the world. In this article, we’ll address whether combining glaucoma and marijuana is helpful. First, let’s further explore glaucoma as a condition, including causes and risk factors.

Glaucoma is a hereditary disease. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, the heritability of glaucoma has thus far made it nearly impossible to find effective ways to prevent onset. Nor is glaucoma currently curable. However, with early detection and a treatment plan, patients can manage their symptoms and prevent severe vision loss and irreversible blindness.

While there are two primary forms of glaucoma — open-angle and angle-closureopen-angle is the most common diagnosis, affecting 95 percent of the patient population.

Remedy Columbia Glaucoma and Marijuana eye exam

Glaucoma Risk Factors & Causes

Glaucoma is associated with elevated eye pressure, specifically intraocular pressure (IOP). However, contrary to popular perception, high IOP isn’t the cause of glaucoma. People with normal eye pressure can be diagnosed with glaucoma, while people with high IOP may not be diagnosed with glaucoma. It is, however, a risk factor for developing glaucoma. It can also exacerbate symptoms, causing compression that can degrade or destroy the retina and optic nerves’ fibers.

What Causes Glaucoma?

What causes glaucoma largely depends on which of the three types of glaucoma you have. However, the precise causes of glaucoma have been hard to pinpoint. The most current research from MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear (a Harvard teaching hospital focused on ophthalmology) suggest glaucoma-related vision loss is caused by an immune response to early exposure of bacteria.

According to Dr. Dong Feng Chen, the lead vision scientist on the study, and Harvard Medical School professor, the autoimmune attack can cause nausea, severe eye pain, and vision disturbances.

“The fact is, eye pressure is only a risk factor, which means only a small percentage of people who have elevated ocular, or eye pressure, actually develop glaucoma,” claims Dr. Chen. “Our study actually shows that the elevated eye pressure does not naturally lead to glaucoma.’

Dr. Dong Feng Chen

While there’s currently no known cure for glaucoma, Dr. Chen’s research has made him optimistic that a cure is in sight: “Targeted manipulation of the immune response in the eye will help eliminate the disease.”

Risk Factors

  • Family history and genetics
  • Age (60+)
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated eye pressure
  • Thin cornea
  • Persistent high-stress
Remedy Columbia Glaucoma and Marijuana eye exam male

Glaucoma and Marijuana

In most states where medical cannabis is legal, glaucoma is a qualifying condition, meaning glaucoma patients are eligible to become medical cannabis patients. But what does the science say? Is cannabis a viable treatment? Well, it depends on who you ask.

Studies into glaucoma and marijuana from the 1970s were promising; they found that cannabis does, in fact, lower IOP. However, as research has progressed and new medications have been developed, the current consensus in the ophthalmology community is that marijuana isn’t more effective than currently available drugs. Nor do most ophthalmologists believe cannabis should be used as a first-line or primary treatment.

Most ophthalmologists and researchers cite the short duration of cannabis and accompanying “side effects” as reasons why most patients should not use cannabis as their primary treatment. This reasoning makes sense. Patients need 24-hour treatment for glaucoma. Medicating for 24-hour cycles would require patients to use cannabis six to eight times per day to consistently lower their IOP levels, which could actually result in feelings of discomfort.

Does the current consensus mean patients shouldn’t consider cannabis as a treatment? Yes and no. As a primary treatment, the evidence is clear there are better options than marijuana. However, as an adjunctive or supplementary treatment, for some patients cannabis may be appropriate. As research has established, the data proves cannabis lowers eye pressure. Moreover, some patients find the effects of cannabis — both psychotropic and therapeutic — improve their quality of life.

When it comes to late-stage glaucoma, physicians are far more likely to endorse marijuana as a treatment. At that stage, treatment is less about targeting the disease and more about addressing symptoms.

Dr. Andrew Bainnson, a prominent New York ophthalmologist, provides an honest assessment:

“We’ve known for some time that medical marijuana is very effective for treating nausea and pain, but not so much for glaucoma. [However,] there are some patients with end-stage pain and nausea who may benefit [from medical cannabis], but not from the glaucoma point of view.”

Dr. Andrew Bainnson

Bottom line: Is cannabis appropriate for you or a loved one with glaucoma? That’s a decision between you and your health professional.

If you and your doctor decide cannabis makes sense for you, great! We’ve got plenty of strains and products we can suggest that are popular with other glaucoma patients. Keep in mind, of course, that our role isn’t to diagnose or prescribe medications. We’re here to help you on your treatment journey and be your go-to source for high-quality, lab-tested cannabis.

Ready to learn more about glaucoma and marijuana? Schedule an appointment for help becoming a registered Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient.

Muscle Spasm Treatment: Is Cannabis Effective?

Muscle spasm treatment

How many muscles do you think you have? 50? 100? 200? Incredibly, we have over 650 named muscles. When counting muscles within muscles, some estimates go as 840. That’s a lot of muscles! With so many muscles it’s not hard to imagine that our body works hard maintaining them at an optimal level. For people with particular medical conditions, however, severe or persistent muscle spasms are a part of their everyday life. Many turn to cannabis. However, can cannabis be an effective muscle spasm treatment for these individuals?

What Are Severe and Persistent Muscle Spasms?

A muscle spasm is the involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. They occur spontaneously. For most people, it’s not serious. Acute muscle spasms usually occur when muscles are stressed from overuse, dehydrated, deficient in magnesium or potassium, or when an individual has poor circulation.

When an individual regularly experiences severe muscles spasms or persistent muscle spasms that occur daily (or near-daily), it is often a symptom of a more serious condition.

Severe muscle spasms are usually the result of damage or extreme stress on nerves that disrupt nerve root signals from the spinal cord. That could be any number of things, including a spinal cord injury, hernia, or pinched nerve in your neck or back.

Persistent muscle spasms (daily or near-daily) are usually caused by an underlying medical condition that is systemic or neurological. They can also be related to vascular, hormonal, or toxic-metabolic problems.

What Medical Conditions Cause Persistent Muscle Spasms?

Muscle Spasm Treatment Neurological diseases nerve cells

Persistent muscle spasms are often the result of a movement or neurological disorder such as:

Can Cannabis Treat Muscle Spasms?

Medical cannabis muscle spasm treatment

Muscle spasms, especially those caused by MS, are usually treated with pain relievers (analgesics), anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxers, or, in some cases, Botulinum toxin. However, many patients find these drugs produce intolerable side-effects or aren’t effective. This has lead to many patients turning to cannabis as a muscle spasm treatment.

Recent scientific research has proven cannabis and cannabis-derived drugs can help patients with persistent muscle spasms. After an extensive review of all available medical research, in 2018 National Academy of Sciences produced a report — The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids — that states:

“Conclusive or substantial scientific evidence has shown that marijuana products are effective at treating chronic pain, calming muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, and easing nausea from chemotherapy.”

National Academy of Sciences

The review identified substantial evidence that cannabis-derived oral cannabinoids are effective in treating spasms from multiple sclerosis. Further, both oral cannabinoids and inhaled cannabis can treat chronic pain in adults.

After reviewing substantial medical evidence, researchers report:

“Oral cannabis-based drugs contain THC, the intoxicating compound in pot, or cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating chemical in marijuana that appears to have some therapeutic benefit.”

National Academy of Sciences

However, they also cautioned that because THC and CBD levels can vary considerably between cannabis strains, unless researchers create standards it will be challenging to comprehensively assess the impact of different strains with variable THC and CBD levels.

But, Wait, There’s More!

For many years, Israeli researchers have been isolating integral chemical components in cannabis to study the effects of cannabis on numerous medical conditions.

A 2013 Israeli study published by the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology reported various naturally occurring chemicals found in cannabis might decrease spinal cord and brain inflammation. The study’s findings for people suffering from severe or persistent muscle spasms is encouraging.

Likewise, scientists from the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego have found compelling evidence to support cannabis as effective in treating muscle spasms.

In addition, anecdotal evidence offered by patients who have chosen to use medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms such as severe pain, muscle tremors and spasms generally tend to be positive. Patients who are using medical marijuana seem, as a majority, to believe they are receiving medical benefits as a result and they are achieving results that improve their quality of life.

Popular Strains for Muscle Spasm Treatment

According to crowd-sourced reviews on Leafly, users with muscle spasms report positive results from the following strains:

Muscle Spasm Treatment: Hybrids

  • ACDC (high-CBD)
  • Canna-Tsu (high-CBD)
  • Chemdawg 4
  • White Widow

Muscle Spasm Treatment: Sativa-Dominant

  • Amnesia
  • Great White Shark
  • Charlotte’s Web (high-CBD)
  • Sweet Diesel
  • Jamaican Dream

Conclusion

As patients find conventional medications ineffective, an increasing number turn to cannabis as their preferred muscle spasm treatment. Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-reliever) with chemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system to influence how the body interprets pain. Research thus far has been encouraging. However, does that mean cannabis is an appropriate muscle spasm treatment for you? That’s a highly personal decision that you should make with your preferred medical professional (hopefully one who is knowledgeable about cannabis).

If you decide to use cannabis as a muscle spasm treatment, we’re happy to help you find the right strain and ingestion method that works for you. You can visit our online dispensary menu to search for the type of cannabis product that you like, or schedule an appointment for assistance.

PTSD Treatment: Can Cannabis Help?

Cannabis PTSD treatment

“Cannabis is a [traumatic] memory eraser,” says Michael Krawitz, the head of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Krawitz believes cannabis is an indispensable PTSD treatment. Krawitz adds that the drugs patients are usually prescribed — such as antidepressants, powerful antipsychotic agents, and benzodiazepines — often leave patients “feeling like zombies.” Krawitz’ opinion is shared not only by rapidly growing number of veterans but also among staggering numbers of other individuals living with PTSD. For Krawitz and tens of thousands of other people living with PTSD, cannabis is an essential PTSD treatment.

The sentiments echoed by Krawitz and others is based on their personal experiences, not studies, therefore their perspectives are anecdotal. But what does science say about cannabis as a PTSD treatment? In this article, we’ll explain PTSD and address the issues and challenges patients face with cannabis as a PTSD treatment.

PTSD Defined: What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, more commonly called PTSD, is a potentially severely debilitating psychiatric disorder where patients can experience any or all of the following: intrusive thoughts, memories, disturbing dreams, and flashbacks; avoidance of people, places, and things that remind them of the traumatic event(s); re-living the traumatic experience; hyperarousal to triggering stimuli that reminds them of the event; negative thoughts, feelings, and distorted beliefs and perceptions of oneself; persistent anger, fear, guilt or shame.

PTSD is caused by exposure to severely traumatic events, such as war and combat, natural disasters, acts of violence, rape, abuse, or terrorism. The condition can affect nearly every aspect of a patient’s life, from their relationships and quality of life to their physical and emotional health.

With the continued normalization of medical cannabis, widespread legalization across the U.S., and increased access for patients, the number of patients using cannabis as a PTSD treatment is growing rapidly.

How Bad Is the PTSD Epidemic?

The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) estimates 3.6% of adults in the U.S. lived with PTSD over the past year. That translates to more than 12 million people.

PTSD treatment symptoms

The severity of symptoms — measured as “serious impairment,” “moderate impairment,” and “mild impairment” — was just about equal across the patient population. 36.6% of patients lived with serious impairment, while 33.1% experienced moderate impairment and 30.2% had mild impairment.

Is Cannabis an Effective PTSD Treatment?

Despite the fact more than two dozen states now allow PTSD patients to become medical cannabis patients and numerous patient testimonials, anecdotal experiences, case reports, lab studies, and observational studies, no large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have yet to be published. The reason we don’t have large-scale RCTs is the status of cannabis as a DEA Schedule I drug — meaning the federal government sees cannabis being as dangerous and addictive as heroin. This makes it difficult to conduct medical studies, however, there is hope that this will change soon.

Until we have the types of large-scale randomized trials necessary for the mainstream medical community to fully embrace cannabis, we’re limited to preclinical studies that preclude medical professionals from claiming cannabis is an effective PTSD treatment.

However, the lack of endorsement from the mainstream medical community hasn’t stopped the tens of thousands of people who rely on it to improve their quality of life from swearing by cannabis as their preferred PTSD treatment. And if someone finds a treatment that works for them, they probably don’t care whether RCTs exist. It works for them, and in their perception, that’s what’s most important.

Are There Other Effective PTSD Treatments?

PTSD cannabis research binder

There’s no doubt PTSD can be difficult to treat, but with the appropriate treatment, the condition and its symptoms can be managed or eliminated. Unfortunately, many PTSD patients are only treated with pills. At best, these pharmaceuticals offer short-term benefits. At their worst, many patients experience severe side-effects or develop an addiction.

PTSD bad pharma

Research suggests that PTSD treatment is more effective when combined with psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral training (CBT). In fact, most studies conclude that CBT is the most consistently effective short and long-term PTSD treatment.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the following are examples of some of the most effective CBT treatments :

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): A form of CBT that utilizes cognitive therapy to evaluate and change trauma-related thoughts;
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE): Another form of CBT that relies more heavily on behavioral therapy techniques to help individuals gradually approach trauma-related memories, situations, and emotions;
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): A form of psychotherapy that involves processing upsetting trauma-related memories, thoughts and feelings;
  • Stress Inoculation Training (SIT): Another type of CBT that aims to reduce anxiety by teaching coping skills to deal with stress that may accompany PTSD.

Final Thoughts: Cannabis as a PTSD Treatment

Beyond pharmaceutical or cannabis-based treatments, the most effective course of treatment often includes lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy lifestyle, exercising consistently, and socializing with friends and family in addition to psychotherapy.

As for the current state for cannabis research, the good news is that after years of seeking approval, we finally have one “gold standard” randomized-controlled study underway that could produce conclusions that would make the mainstream medical community more willing to fully embrace cannabis as a viable PTSD treatment. In the meantime, it’s fortunate that many states with medical cannabis programs consider PTSD to be a qualifying condition.

If you’re interested in pursuing cannabis as a PTSD treatment option, schedule an appointment to learn about becoming a Maryland Medical Cannabis patient.

Wasting Syndrome and Cannabis: Can it Help?

Cannabis for wasting syndrome feat

A Vice article, “Without Early AIDS Patients, The Medical Marijuana Movement Wouldn’t Exist,” says it all. Without the activists from this era who advocated for cannabis reform, we may very well not have cannabis as a treatment option. Back in the 1980s, many individuals with HIV/AIDS found relief from cannabis for their symptoms, particularly those associated with wasting syndrome. While wasting syndrome — also known as cachexia — doesn’t only affect patients with AIDS, it was these patients who became the most visible activists in the late 1980s. But has cannabis been shown to be a viable treatment for wasting syndrome?

What Is Wasting Syndrome (Cachexia)?

Wasting syndrome isn’t a specific disease. Instead, it’s symptomatic of a serious medical condition like cancer, heart failure, and advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s commonly defined as a progressive and unintentional loss of 10% or more weight that’s often accompanied by a lack of appetite, decreased strength, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, muscle loss, nutritional deficiencies, and weakness. Wasting syndrome increases the chance of dementia, opportunistic infections, and death.

What Causes Wasting Syndrome?

Wasting syndrome is a common symptom among many severe medical conditions. However, serious medical conditions aren’t the only causes of wasting syndrome. There are many issues that can lead to loss of appetite and weight loss, including:

  • Depression and low energy
  • Medication side effects such as nausea or changes in taste
  • Opportunistic infections
  • Your body’s failure to absorb all the nutrients you’re consuming
  • Damage to the lining of your intestines commonly caused by AIDS, HIV and other conditions

Can Cannabis Treat Wasting Syndrome?

What are some of the most common effects of cannabis? The munchies. Pain relief. Lessening nausea. The well-known effects of cannabis make it a near-ideal treatment for wasting syndrome. One caveat, though. Most medical professionals warn patients against smoking cannabis. Smoking can worsen respiratory issues like bronchitis or COPD. Instea, many patients prefer vaping or edibles, which doesn’t impact the respiratory like smoking.

Marinol (dronabinol), a synthetic form of THC, produces similar effects of cannabis. It can boost your mood and appetite and stabilize your weight. And it’s been approved for use by the FDA. However, many patients report that Marinol causes more side effects and is less effective than botanical cannabis. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t cover medical cannabis, and many don’t cover Marinol either.

Remedy Columbia Wasting Syndrome and Cannabis patient and doctor

What Else Can be Done to Treat Wasting Syndrome Beyond Cannabis or Pharmaceuticals?

First and foremost, if you find yourself quickly losing significant weight, contact your physician. The same goes if you have severe diarrhea or you notice an infection that’s impacting your stomach or guts.

Make Dietary Changes

In addition, consider making some of the following changes to your diet (with the support of your doctor, of course):

  • Manage your diet: Monitor your diet, weight, and dietary habits. Make sure to eat on a schedule, whether you’re hungry or not.
  • Limit fat, insoluble fibers, whole grains, and vegetables: Consider limiting fat, insoluble fiber (found in some vegetables and whole grains), and lactose found in dairy products. Simple dietary changes can often prevent diarrhea or provide relief from it.
  • Eat more soluble fibers: Some fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, lentils, and oat bran can help your digestion.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and high-sugar sweets: All of these can only worsen your symptoms.
  • Take nutritional supplements: If you’re not getting enough nutrients you may benefit from protein supplements or nutritional supplements like Ensure and Advera.

Best Strains to Treat Wasting Syndrome

According to crowdsourced reports from medical cannabis patients, the strains below are the most popular among those living with wasting syndrome. This is far from an exhaustive list, but it gives you some ideas:

Wasting Syndrome and Cannabis buds
  • Ancient OG
  • Pure Afghan
  • Red Dwarf
  • Grapefruit Haze
  • Hawaiian Thunder F–K
  • Purple Tears
  • TJ’s CBD (high-CBD)

Our inventory often changes, so we don’t always carry all of these strains. You can check our online dispensary menu to see what is currently available. And if you come by Remedy Columbia, our team will be happy to suggest similar strains with comparable cannabinoid and terpene profiles as these strains.

Final Thoughts

Few things are more distressing than suffering from wasting syndrome or witnessing a close friend or family member endure the symptoms of wasting syndrome. While research is still ongoing, the fact that so many people report medical cannabis has helped them treat wasting syndrome should provide hope to the millions of people affected by this syndrome.

Whether cannabis is right for you is a highly personal decision that most patients make with a knowledgeable cannabis physician. If you decide to use cannabis as a treatment for wasting syndrome, we’d love to you help you. Our team is made up of people who are compassionate, well-trained, and eager to help our patients.

Schedule an appointment today to learn more.