Support of medicinal cannabis has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to the growing body of research that shows its therapeutic value for a range of health conditions. Cannabis may be able to treat or alleviate the symptoms of a variety of serious ailments, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and much more.
Not sure if medical cannabis is right for you? We’ve rounded up 10 of the most common conditions medical cannabis is prescribed for:
1. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary both in type and severity, but typically include pain, spasms, balance issues, tingling, vision problems and more. Research published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal found that cannabis based medicinal extracts can significantly reduce the spasticity and pain associated with multiple sclerosis while having few adverse effects on patients.
2. Spinal Cord Injury
Caused by trauma to the spine, spinal cord injuries are known to affect motor skills and can potentially lead to total loss function in some parts of the body. Research suggests cannabis can help patients treat the pain and muscle spasms that are often symptomatic of a spinal cord injury, with investigators from the Oxford Centre for Enablement noting that “Cannabis medicinal extracts can improve neurogenic symptoms unresponsive to standard treatments”.
3. Spinal Cord Disease
The term ‘spinal cord disease’ refers to any spinal cord issues that develop for reasons other than trauma. Multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, syringomyelia and spinal stenosis can all be considered examples of spinal cord disease. Patients living with a spinal cord disease may find therapeutic value in using cannabis based medicine, thanks to cannabis’ ability to alleviate spasticity and pain – two of the most common symptoms associated with spinal cord disease.
Responsible for about 30 percent of all deaths, cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, according to figures reported by the Canadian Cancer Society. While cannabis can’t cure cancer, it can drastically reduce the severity of symptoms and improve quality of life for patients. How? Well, research shows that both THC and CBD (two of the key active components found in cannabis) can stimulate appetite, which may help with the weight loss, anorexia and cachexia that many cancer patients experience. In addition, cannabis is very effective at combating the nausea caused by conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
HIV/AIDS treatment has come a long way over the last decade or so. While modern therapy allows those with HIV/AIDS to live a long and mostly healthy life, the side effects of the treatment can be challenging to deal with. This is where medicinal cannabis comes in. A number of studies show that medical cannabis can improve many HIV/AIDS-related symptoms, including anorexia, weight loss, severe nausea and more. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found 97 percent of HIV patients reported improved appetite with medical cannabis treatment, while 94 percent experienced reduced muscle pain and 93 percent reported improvements to both nausea and anxiety.
‘Arthritis’ is an umbrella term that refers to the inflammation of a joint. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with some of the more common types including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Symptoms typically include swelling and redness around the joint, reduced range of motion, stiffness, weakness and severe, ongoing pain. It’s the latter symptom that cannabis is most effective at treating. In one study into the efficacy of cannabis as a form of pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis, researchers noted that “a significant analgesic effect was observed and disease activity was significantly suppressed”.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects almost 140,000 Canadians, according to data gathered by Statistics Canada. The disorder is characterized by seizures, which range from relatively mild (a moment of impaired concentration) to extreme (total loss of consciousness and awareness). Cannabis based medicines – and CBD-dominant products in particular – have proven to be very effective at reducing the frequency and severity of epilepsy seizures. With that said, medical cannabis should only be used in treatment resistant cases of seizures.
8. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The term ‘inflammatory bowel disease’ (IBD) describes disorders that result in inflammation of the digestive tract, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Research published in Digestion found that IBD patients experienced a variety of health benefits from using cannabis. Factors such as physical pain, social functioning, general health perception, ability to work and depression all saw notable improvement.
9. End of Life Care
Studies have shown that medicinal cannabis may also be an effective treatment option in palliative care, which could be vital in the years ahead as many nations come to terms with aging populations. Research published in Current Oncology found that medical cannabis could “provide further relief from distressing symptoms and spiritual suffering”, while improving patients’ overall quality of life.
Research indicates that both THC- and CBD-dominant cannabis based medicines offer effective therapy for a range of sleep disorders, including insomnia. Cannabis is thought to reduce sleep latency, induce drowsiness and improve quality of sleep.
Treat Sleep Issues with Cannabis
Canabo Medical Inc. has identified a few strains of cannabis that work well for treating sleep issues. The company has recently launched an online self-referral program for individuals with sleep issues.
Each patient is unique and should be assessed by one of Canabo’s Cannabinoid Specialists to get the correct strains and amount of cannabis.
You have probably heard about dabbing: superheating a “nail” to vaporize concentrates like wax, shatter, or isolates. Dabbing is a great way to consume high doses of THC (or CBD, for that matter), but it can be intense for the uninitiated.
If the whole blowtorch thing weirds you out or the price tag of a quality desktop dab rig seems steep, don’t write off dabbing just yet. Did you know you can smoke dabs with a load-your-own style vaporizer pen?
Don’t get it twisted: we personally find dabs to be highly enjoyable and we recommend anyone try one before swearing them off entirely. That said, you don’t NEED a dab rig.
This is because, technically, a ‘dab’ is just a small dose of concentrate. This essentially means that no matter where you heat it up, you’re dabbing. If you already own a portable vaporizer, read on for pointers on how to use it for dabbing as well as oil-based concentrates.
If you’re looking for your first pen, there is no need to spend more than $60 – $100 for a reliable, quality vaporizer. There are many different vape pens on the market, and they all work in generally the same way (despite what the enormous range in price points would suggest).
- Understand How Your Vaporizer Pen Works
- Get the Important Vape Pen Accessories
- Select the Right Concentrates
- Load Your Vape Pen Chamber
- Taking Dabs from Your Pen
- Store in a Smell Proof Vaporizer Case
Cannabis plants, like all living things, go through a series of stages as they grow and mature. If you want to grow your own marijuana or CBD-rich hemp, it’s important to understand the changes a plant goes through during its life cycle.
Each stage of growth requires different care. Different stages require different amounts of light, nutrients and water. They also help us know when to prune and train plants. Knowing the plant’s sex will help you adjust factors to support its stages of growth, as well.
There are four primary stages from seed to harvest in a cannabis plant’s life cycle:
This stage typically lasts 5-10 days and begins with the seed. Before you plant the seed, the cannabis plant is dormant. It needs water, light (~18 hours/day), and soil to be brought to life.
“The tap root will drive down while the stem of the seedling will grow upward. Two rounded cotyledon leaves will grow out from the stem as the plant unfolds from the protective casing of the seed. These initial leaves are responsible for taking in sunlight needed for the plant to become healthy and stable.”
When the first iconic fan leaves grow, that’s when the plant can be considered a seedling.
This stage typically lasts between 2-3 weeks. The light cycle is typically 18 hours/day.
As the seedling grows, you’ll notice that it develops even more traditional cannabis leaves. New growth will result in more blades. A seedling has only one ridged blade but a mature cannabis plant will have between 5-7 blades per leaf. Some may have even more.
Once the seedling develops leaves with the full number of blades on new fan leaves, it moves into the vegetative phase. A healthy seedling should be vibrant green in color.
Note: During this stage, it can be easy to overwater the plant. Keep this in mind to prevent the plant from developing disease or mold.
This stage typically lasts between 3-16 weeks. The light cycle remains at 18 hours/day.
Once your plant reaches this stage, expect some major growth. Hopefully, you’ve transplanted your plant into a larger pot. This will allow the roots and foliage to develop rapidly. As Leafly notes, this is also the time to begin topping or training your plants (more to come on these topics).
Determine the space between the nodes to figure out what type of cannabis you are growing. Indica plants tend to be short and dense whereas sativa plants grow lanky and more open in foliage.
At this stage, you will need to increase your watering. When it’s young, water the plant closer to the stalk. As it grows, the roots will also grow outward. To accommodate the plant, start watering further away from the stalk so the roots can stretch out and absorb more water.
This stage typically lasts between 8-11 weeks. The light cycle reduces to 12 hours/day.
The final stage of a plant’s life is the flowering stage. Flowering occurs naturally when the plant receives less than 12 hours of light a day. Expect resinous buds as a result of your hard work.
The plants should start showing their sex organs a couple of weeks into the flowering stage. It is incredibly important to separate the males so they do not pollenate the flowering males.
There are a couple of factors to consider when growing cannabis:
- Your plants should not be pruned after three weeks into the flowering stage. Why? Because it can upset the hormones of the plant
- Plants should be trellised so that buds are supported as they develop (more information to come)