Can Cannabis Treat Arthritis?

Cannabis and arthritis

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

What is Arthritis?

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

Cannabis and arthritis in the knee

Cannabis for Arthritis Pain

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

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

Cannabis and arthritis endocannabinoid system

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

Research on Cannabis for Arthritis

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

Cannabis and arthritis man relaxing

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

Cannabis for Inflammation

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

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

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!

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.

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!

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.