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!

Can Cannabis Help With Brain Trauma?

cannabis for brain trauma

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects 1.7 million people in the US every year and is one of the leading causes of death in young people. TBI is usually triggered by concussions from things like falls, car accidents, and violent sports like football. Many who survive head injuries end up with permanent neurological and behavioral impairment, learning and memory problems, post-traumatic seizures, and lower life expectancy.

Unfortunately, the treatment for TBI is limited, and there are only a few pharmaceutical options. But thanks to scientific research and lots of personal accounts from medical cannabis patients, there is hope on the horizon. Let’s take a look at why cannabis for brain trauma may become the next go-to treatment.

Cannabis for Brain Trauma

Scientists are encouraged by the possibility of treating neurological conditions like autism and epilepsy with cannabis, and it looks like cannabis can offer hope to people who have endured head trauma as well.

cannabis for brain trauma scans

A 2014 article published in American Surgeon looked at how cannabis use affected those who suffered TBI. It reported that a positive screening for THC was associated with decreased mortality in patients who experienced TBI.  According to this study done by UCLA Medical Center researchers, individuals afflicted with TBI who also consume cannabis are more likely to live longer and less likely to die than TBI patients who abstain.

But how do cannabinoids like THC and CBD provide neuroprotection?

Plant cannabinoids can augment and mimic the cannabinoids that mammals produce internally called endocannabinoids. They are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates some brain processes that are important in TBI, like inflammation, neuroplasticity, and blood flow to the brain.

The ECS is equipped with what is described as a self-protection mechanism. It will kick in as a response to trauma like TBI or a stroke. Endocannabinoid levels in the brain will spike when the brain is traumatized, activating cannabinoid receptors to begin healing. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD can activate the same receptors and offer similar healing effects.

The Power of CBD

CBD is such a versatile medicine that it is known as a “promiscuous compound,” producing a number of benefits through many different pathways. It’s very active against a condition called brain ischemia, where there isn’t enough blood flow to the brain. It has also been shown to reduce brain damage and promote recovery in animal models of TBI and stroke.

What’s really appealing about CBD is that it doesn’t produce intoxicating effects like THC, and it doesn’t lead to tolerance.

The benefits of CBD are well known among boxers, football players, and other athletes who have experienced a brain injury. Professional football players are turning to CBD as a way to prevent chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease linked to repeated head injuries. CTE causes aggression, depression, dementia, and even suicide.

cannabis for brain trauma cbd

Prevention is crucial when it comes to CTE because there is no way to diagnose it while the patient is alive. So many NFL players are turning to cannabis to protect the health of their brain as well as alleviate pain and inflammation. While more research is needed to determine whether this is helpful, we always find it exciting to learn about new uses for cannabis.

Are you ready to find out more about how cannabis for brain trauma can benefit you? Stop by or schedule an appointment. Our staff is happy to help!

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.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Investigates Whether Cannabis is Effective Against Opioid Addiction

maryland medical cannabis

We all know our country is struggling to find ways to battle the destructive opioid epidemic. The state of Maryland is facing its own battle with over 49,000 residents suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD). With over 30 states now on-bored with medical or recreational cannabis, some are considering it as a possible treatment for addiction to drugs like oxycodone and heroin. But does it work?

maryland medical cannabis

States that have implemented medical cannabis laws have seen a reduction in opioid prescriptions for patients on Medicaid and Medicare health plans. These states are also seeing a drop in opioid overdose deaths. So why isn’t Maryland including cannabis as a treatment for OUD? Here is an overview of what the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission recently reported.

Can Maryland Medical Cannabis Treat Opioid Use Disorder?

The growing anecdotal evidence is clear – medical cannabis can be a useful tool for treating opioid cravings and easing the uncomfortable symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. Opioid patients also report that cannabis helps them sleep and reduces the intensity of cravings.

maryland medical cannabis doctor with flower and tincture

The fact is, cannabis poses less of a risk than current FDA-approved opioid-based treatments like methadone. Patients see better treatment outcomes when they have access to cannabis, and many health care providers have seen high-dose opiate patients significantly reduce or eliminate opiates with the use of cannabis. So why isn’t Maryland using cannabis is fight OUD?

Why isn’t Opioid Use Disorder a Qualifying Condition in Maryland?

The Maryland State Assembly considered adding OUD to the list of qualifying conditions that can be treated by medical cannabis, but some national groups were against the idea. Their concern was over creating additional drug dependency, and the lack of clinical evidence.

But here’s the catch…

The main reason there is a lack of clinical evidence on the benefits of cannabis for OUD is that it’s classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government. This classification has severely limited most medical cannabis research, forcing the cannabis community to rely on anecdotal evidence (what patients self-report).

Fortunately, the DEA’s view on cannabis and its medical potential is beginning to change. With the growing number of states that now have laws which allow medical or recreational cannabis use, the DEA acknowledges there is a need for serious medical research.

Cannabis for OUD isn’t a new idea, and a number of states in the US are considering adding cannabis as an addiction treatment. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have already approved cannabis for opioid addiction, which could promote the idea on a national level.

The bottom line?

As of now, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission acknowledges that even though there is mounting anecdotal evidence for using cannabis for addiction, the scientific evidence is not there yet. Based on their medical literature review, the commission’s position is that medication-assisted treatments with drugs like methadone and naltrexone are best.

maryland medical cannabis Remedy Columbia Team
Photo Source: Remedy Colombia Facebook Page

If you’d like to try cannabis for one of the many conditions that do currently qualify in Maryland, we’d love to help. Schedule a visit or just drop by. We can’t wait to see you!

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!

MMCC Celebrates 1 Year, Plus Medical Cannabis Changes You Need to Know

Maryland medical cannabis program

The Maryland medical cannabis program has grown in leaps and bounds since its start on December 1, 2017. At that time, less than 18,000 patients were registered and only eight dispensaries were open. The Maryland market now counts nearly 52,000 patients going to 71 dispensaries.

maryland medical cannabis program stethoscope with flower

Because of this expansion of patients and dispensaries, Maryland’s medical cannabis industry ended its first year of operation with $96.3 million in sales of 730,000 individual products.

And the pace has not let up. Between 250 and 350 patients have been applying to the program each day.

“Every Monday, we come in to 1,000 new applications. … People have really started to take notice of the cannabis program in Maryland,” Joy Strand, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), said.

In this post, we’ll review how much MMCC has achieved and the challenges moving forward.

Maryland Medical Cannabis in Numbers

maryland medical cannabis program doctor holding vial

Since the program started, there have been 2 million transactions. Here is what drove this result in one year:

  • The number of dispensaries grew from 8 to 71.  
  • 1,187 medical providers have registered with the program.
  • The number of patients grew to 51,704 by the end of November 2018.
  • 14 cultivators, 14 processors and 5 testing labs provided safe access to medical cannabis products at dispensaries.
  • 4,659 people registered as caregivers — individuals who care for minors or disabled people using cannabis products.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Challenges

maryland medical cannabis program vial with cannabis flower

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has faced some criticism regarding accessibility to contracts, cost of entry, and products. Specifically:

  • The Maryland medical cannabis program is experiencing high race and gender disparities in their access to state and private sector contracts and in those factors necessary for business success. Based on statistical and anecdotal evidence, it has been determined by the state that affirmative intervention is still needed.
  • In order to purchase medical marijuana in 2018, patients had the option of showing either their license and certification card or patient ID. Now patients have to purchase a $50 patient ID card, which many feel is unfair considering traditional pharmaceuticals don’t have this requirement. Existing patients have until April 1 to purchase the card.
  • Cannabis edibles were not available in Maryland dispensaries for the entire first year. MMCC acknowledged that many patients, especially seniors, prefer to use edibles as their delivery method. Now word has to get out that edibles are available at dispensaries like Remedy Columbia.

Remedy Columbia Proud to Offer Maryland Medical Cannabis

The Maryland Medical Cannabis program still has progress to make, but it also has good reason to celebrate its first year with increased dispensaries and many more registered patients and providers.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Remedy Columbia Team

If you’re just starting the process, Remedy Columbia welcomes all licensed Maryland Patients for walk-ins. We also have Patient Registration Appointments and Patient Education Appointments to help you get started. One of our team members will assist you along your way to becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient in Maryland. The best part? Our menu has a variety of flower, extracts, edibles, tinctures, topicals, and more to choose from, now including edibles. Everybody will find something for them.