Can Medical marijuana help with Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system. There are no known cures, and treatments can be both costly as well as unpleasant. MS sufferers often rely on prescription medications to manage symptoms such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, depression, and fatigue. 

While prescription medication may provide relief, they also come with their own set of side effects which can lead to more health problems than were initially present. For this reason, it’s important for patients to look for other ways to manage their MS symptoms instead of relying solely on traditional medical treatment methods like prescription drugs alone. Medical marijuana has been shown in studies to help with MS-related pain management, anxiety reduction, sleep disorder reduction, and appetite stimulation.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease that advances relentlessly. 

It causes damage to the protective covering on nerve cells (myelin) in your central nervous system. It is an autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease that mistakes myelin as a foreign antigen and thus repeatedly attacks it. This can lead normal bodily functions like seeing and hearing to become disrupted.  Symptoms vary from person to person (no two cases of MS are the same) but tend to include depression, trouble feeding oneself, drooling, fatigue, as well as bladder and bowel dysfunction. Motor skills also deteriorate as more muscle movements are lost including tremors/tremor episodes which can make certain hand gestures seem completely random at times. Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting 2.8 million people worldwide. MS can occur at any age, but typically it is diagnosed in individuals aged 20 to 49 years old. It is more common in women compared to men.

Possible treatments with Medical Marijuana

Cannabis is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes dating back thousands of years. The main active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which causes the user’s mind to feel less discomfort and more relaxation as they experience fewer side effects from it compared with other medications out there today.

How does cannabis help those living With multiple sclerosis symptoms?  When someone suffers from this neurological disease their body goes through many painful changes which can cause them great distress mentally as well as physically. These ailments often leave patients wheelchair-bound by early adulthood if left untreated; additionally, some may lose all usable muscle control over certain areas.

Scientific institutions have concluded that marijuana is highly likely to help ease stiffness and muscle spasms that are experienced with MS, this was recorded and measured by self-reported symptoms.

Medical marijuana may be a helpful option for those with MS to try. It’s important that you understand the differences between strains and how they can help before trying them. We hope this article helped shed some light on what your options are when it comes to using cannabis as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis-related symptoms.


 Anxiety & medical cannabis treatment 

It’s no surprise that anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in North America. Anxiety can be debilitating, but there are natural treatments out there to help people cope. Like cannabis – specifically medical cannabis. It has been shown to reduce anxiety levels by up to 40% This blog post will explore how medical cannabis works for treating anxiety and what you need to know before using it as a treatment option.

What is an anxiety disorder and how does it affect the brain.

Anxiety disorders are different from ordinary fears and anxieties. They can be very disabling, as the individual may lose interest in almost everything they used to enjoy because of an overwhelming sense that something bad might happen at any moment or even feel constantly on edge without knowing why for hours on end – this is called “Grounded” anxiety. 

People with anxiety disorders have a higher level of a neurotransmitter called “glutamate” in their brains, which can lead to an increase in brain activity. This hyperactivity in the brain is why some people feel so much more anxious than others.

How can medical cannabis help with anxiety?

Medical cannabis can be a great way to treat anxiety. For many people with generalized or chronic stress, the symptoms are so present and severe that they cannot be managed with other medications.   Medical cannabis can help relieve anxiety as well as other symptoms such as pain, nausea, or insomnia.

Cannabis helps by activating the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This blocks glutamate from being sent to the amygdala, which is a part of your brain that senses danger and helps you react to threat. When excess glutamate is blocked from being sent to this area of your brain, it can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Types of strains that are good for different types of anxiety disorders 

Sativas are a go-to remedy for many people living with anxiety. But not all cannabis products are created equal: some can bring on or worsen your symptoms of worry and stress. The key is to choose one that has high CBD content per THC ratio – this will help reduce any associated feelings of anxiousness while still offering you the medicinal benefits from other cannabinoids found in plants such as CBN (cannabinol), CBC ( cannabichromene ), etc…

For example, AC/DC is a Sativa-dominant strain that is very effective at reducing anxiety levels. Mostly because it is one of the highest CBD strains available, with levels of up to 19% CBD and a generous ratio of 20:1 CBD to THC.

Side effects to watch out for when using medical cannabis for anxiety

Medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for many diseases, but it comes with side effects. Side effects can vary from person to person depending on your unique chemistry and metabolism. These include:

  •  Drowsiness – This effect makes sense as medical cannabis has been shown in clinical trials as helping those suffering from chronic pain sleep better at night;
  •  Dry mouth – it can lead to an increase in thirst. Be sure to stay hydrated when using medical marijuana;
  •  Red eyes caused by increased blood flow and dilation in the eyes;
  • Heart rate increasing:  if you already have a heart condition, this may not be the best option for you. 

Medical cannabis is a safe and natural way to manage anxiety without the harmful side effects of medications. If you’re interested in learning more about how medical cannabis can help with your own anxiety, we encourage you to reach out or schedule an appointment! We have lots of helpful resources for those who are curious about the benefits of medical marijuana as well as tips on selecting strains that may be best suited for managing stress-related disorders like panic attacks.



When selling cannabis products, manufacturers are required to include the % of THC

and CBD they contain. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants and it is the primary psychoactive component. CBD stands for Cannabidiol and it binds to different receptors in the brain that reduce the psychoactive effects of THC and create a more relaxing effect in the brain and body.

This biggest misconception marijuana consumers may experience is that a higher % THC means the marijuana is of greater quality or will make you experience a greater high. Edibles are an exception to this, and it is important you are mindful as to how much you take when one edible contains 100 milligrams of THC vs. 10 milligrams of THC.

There are other factors that come into play when it comes to the strength of marijuana. One important factor to think about is the variable of quality, so this means how well it was grown, what climate conditions were like, etc. This explains why high-quality marijuana that contains 100 % THC will not always give consumers the impression of being more potent than products that are lower in THC.

Another factor to take into account is the way the body metabolizes cannabinoids, which shows us how it can react differently depending on different people’s metabolism levels. For example, some strains may be better for you than other strains, but your body may still respond better to one strain over another. This means that even though the THC levels may be almost identical between two or more strains, they can have different effects on you once you consume them.


When looking for cannabis at the dispensary, here’s a few things to watch out for:

  • Look for the potency of the cannabis and choose your strain based on what you want to use it for.
  • Consider how much THC vs. CBD is in the product, and whether or not that’s appropriate for your needs.
  • Watch out for pesticides and other chemicals used during cultivation.
  •  Find out if there are any additional ingredients besides just CBD or THC in the product (like additives).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The staff at dispensaries are generally knowledgeable about their products, so they should be able to answer any questions you have!


And finally…If you have any questions about medical cannabis and are local to the Tampa area, please reach out to our office at 813-651-3492 for an appointment today!



What are Cannabis Terpenes?

Terpenes, also called terpenoids are a group of organic hydrocarbons that are created by plants and contribute to the smell and flavor of marijuana strains. Terpenes are classified as mono, di, tri, tetra, and sesquiterpenes based on the number of isoprene units they have. These compounds give each strain aromatic diversity. 

For example, Limonene is said to have a citrus-like taste when it’s inhaled, while Alpha-Pinene has a piney scent and tastes like cedar. 

Did you know that terpenes are also not exclusive to marijuana and can be found in many plants? For instance, isoprenoids give lemons their sour taste, lavender its calming nature, and pine trees their distinct scent. 

In marijuana, each strain has its own distinct combination of terpenes that work together to give each consumer a unique experience. Terpenes work in conjunction with cannabinoids (like THC) to create different effects on each person when consumed.

What are the Medical Benefits of Cannabis Terpenes?

One of the medical benefits of cannabis terpenes are that they provide aromatic diversity (differing smells and tastes). The aromatics help patients find relief by addressing their symptoms, like stress or depression. The smells can also evoke happy memories or make them feel euphoric. 

Terpenes also allow for quick absorption through the nose, which makes them a popular choice for those who don’t want to smoke to medicate themselves. Klein et al. 2011, mentions there are at least 80 compounds coming from the cannabis plant that are regarded as cannabinoids that cause psychotropic effects in the human brain. 

For example, Alpha-Pinene, when combined with THC has been shown to reduce inflammation and bronchial spasms and is often used as an antibiotic for treating asthma. The combination of Limonene and THC is thought to ease anxiety and stress. The combination of Linalool and THC is used as an anti-depressant, while the combination of Myrcene and CBD has been noted to reduce pain levels.

Exploring Cannabis Terpenes

Although the names of different terpenes may sound foreign to most individuals, the names of the strains many of them are found in might sound more familiar. 

For example, many relaxing cannabis strains like Blue Dream and Granddaddy Purple contain the terpene Myrcene which will aid in pain relief or insomnia. When choosing a cannabis strain, knowing which terpenes it includes can help you discover the therapeutic effects you may encounter. When using medical cannabis, it is always important to discuss this treatment option with a doctor before trying medical cannabis on your own. 

If you have any questions about medical cannabis and terpenes and are local to the Tampa area, please reach out to our office at 813-651-3492 for an appointment today!



What is PTSD: 
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that some people get after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. PTSD can manifest itself in many different ways including through repeated flashbacks, depression and anxiety, and psychological instability. Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that activate cannabinoid receptors. THC and CBD both act on cannabinoid receptors and have been studied for their therapeutic effects in many different disorders, including PTSD.
Here’s the Research:
There is a growing interest in using cannabis and cannabinoids for the treatment of PTSD symptoms. Animal studies have shown that CBD can help remove fear memories applicable to PTSD. A systematic review by Orsolini et al. (2019) analyzed a cross-sectional study including 217 medical cannabis users in California. The PTSD participants reported a 24% reduction in stress, 20% reduction in anxiety, and 10% fewer depressive symptoms after the use of medical cannabis (Orsolini et al., 2019). The two major chemicals in the cannabis plant include THC and CBD. These chemicals are often used by patients for various conditions such as anxiety, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, etc. Cannabinoids from cannabis are known to possess medicinal properties that can be used to treat PTSD symptoms.
It has been shown in animal models that cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain which could help individuals with PTSD reduce their social anxiety and feel less on edge. CBD is mostly responsible for those effects as it blocks the formation of fear memories in rats (Orsolini et al., 2019). It is suggested that people who have PTSD should talk to their doctors about the potential benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment option. A study by Sessa et al. (2019) found that a combination of CBD and THC might be most effective for treating PTSD symptoms. The 19 patients in the original 2012 study were asked to fill out an 11-question survey about their overall well-being after using cannabis medicines for 6 days (Sessa et al., 2019). The patients reported a significant improvement in their anxiety, depression, sleep quality and concentration compared to the first time they used cannabis. The results of the study suggest that a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC would be most beneficial for PTSD patients. The authors also suggested that medical cannabis is best if it is inhaled, because that may allow more THC and CBD to reach the bloodstream (Sessa et al., 2019).
What’s Next?
Future studies are necessary to further support the use of medical cannabis for a reduction in PTSD symptoms. Unfortunately, legal restrictions on using cannabis for clinical research make it difficult to accomplish. However, medical cannabis should be considered along with psychotherapy and other medications for the treatment of PTSD. As always, it is best for people with PTSD to discuss this treatment option with a doctor before trying medical cannabis on their own. If you have any questions about a PTSD diagnosis and are local to the Tampa area, please reach out to our office at 813-651-3492 for an appointment today!


Florida Registry vs. Rest of the USA


If you’ve ever traveled outside the state of Florida to other canna-friendly states, you’ve likely noticed there are some glaring differences between our state and the rest of the country.


As with all medical cannabis states, Florida requires a practicing physician with a state cannabis accreditation to certify or sign off on your need for medical cannabis. This is done by qualifying the patient with specific medical conditions predetermined by the state to reasonably require medical cannabis to treat.


Where Florida deviates from most other states, is with the purchasing of products from MMTC’s (medical marijuana treatment centers). Florida is only one of the very few states that treat cannabis as a controlled substance; almost similar to a narcotics prescription.  The state’s cannabis program is called the Office of Medical Marijuana Use or OMMU. The system where the state monitors the dispensation of product per patient is called the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, or MMUR for short.


Instead of receiving a prescription from your physician, you receive a recommendation. This recommendation includes different routes to delivery such as flower, vape, and edibles. You and your physician will determine together the best modalities for your condition.


Accessing your registry

Your registry access comes from your recommending physician. They will create a profile for you that sends an email with your username & password. Upon logging in, the system will require you to change your password and then annually moving forward.


Once in the registry, you will need to provide proof of Florida residency, usually done by linking with the state DMV. If an out-of-state license, there are additional steps to take to provide proof of your partial residency by uploading a document from the State’s preapproved list (utility bill, lease, mortgage, etc..).


Card Management


There are 3 main components to managing your card in the MMUR.

  1. Card renewal
  2. Recommendation
  3. Leaving your physician


The OMMU requires the physical card to be renewed once a year. Think about this in comparison to your vehicle registration – it must be renewed annually to keep using the vehicle legally. Your recommendation from the physician is good for 210 days – 7 months. You must see your physician every 7 months to keep your recommendation active. If your card is unexpired, your recommendation could be expired and you could be unable to purchase any products from the MMTC’s.


The OMMU also sets restrictions on what physicians can manage inside your registry. The physician is in control of creating your profile if you are a new patient, managing your demographic information, and managing the medication dispensation, and that’s it. You are the only one able to update your address, renew your card, or leave your physician.


Reading your Recommendation

With Florida, all desired routes of delivery must be on your individual recommendation before the MMTC will dispense the product to you. As in, if you want to purchase an edible and your physician did not include it in your recommendation, the dispensary will not sell the item to you. That is the case with all products.


Currently, the state of Florida offers the following route to delivery for cannabis consumption:

  • Inhalation (vape, concentrate, etc.)
  • Flower (raw bud from the cannabis plant)
  • Edible
  • Topical
  • Suppository
  • Oral


Each route to delivery has a 70-day recommendation and a pre-determined amount of dispensation in milligrams. Again – to make a comparison of this as a traditional doctor script – they provide the medication, the count, and the duration of the prescription.


Ex: you could receive a 90-day script for Zoloft 5mg, 0 refills.


This is parallel to how the state structured the cannabis program: you receive a route to delivery (medication), the count (15,000mg), and the recommendation is only good for 70 days.



Using the Florida Registry can be daunting at first, but once you gain some familiarity with it, it’s extremely helpful in preventing any surprises at the dispensary. Reach out to your doctor if you have ongoing issues – they can help you understand how to use it to its maximum potential!



A cancer diagnosis can be life-altering for patients. Inevitably, they are faced with uneasy feelings about the difficulties of treatment, and the reality of living with the disease chronically. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment modalities offer promising results, but with difficult side effects. Recent medical advances have shown that cannabis has great efficacy in helping patients deal with the treatment side effects, and show an overall positive influence on the patient’s mental health as a result of a higher quality of life. Before truly understanding cannabis’ benefit to the patient in the cancer treatment setting, you need to differentiate between its two key components: THC vs. CBD.

Actions of Different Components of Marijuana: THC vs. CBD

THC, otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is what allows someone to experience the high feeling often reported when smoking or ingesting marijuana. Some effects that have been attributed to the use of THC are euphoria, relief of nausea and pain, and overall lowered inflammation in the body. Simply put, the natural effect of THC as it lowers inflammation in the body can cause pain relief. 

The second known cannabinoid is CBD, also known as cannabidiol. This is responsible for more of a mental health boost, often putting the user in a calm state without the loss of control and feeling of being high. If the patient is struggling with depression, anxiety, or even seizures, CBD may be a treatment option to explore with your doctor. 

If the patient is struggling specifically with appetite loss (this is fairly common in cancer patients, affecting up to 80%) a man-made pure THC substance called dronabinol could pose a strong treatment option. Dronabinol works to create feelings of hunger in the brain and can override nausea that the patient may experience in treatment. As always, before pursuing any form of alternative treatment, please consult with your doctor to come up with a healthy treatment plan for you.


Types of Marijuana Products Available


THC and CBD-laced products are widely available on the market, and you can purchase them in a variety of mediums that work within your needs and lifestyle. Below is a list of common products that you can find at your local dispensary:

  • Loose Leaf or “Flower” Options
    • Flower is used through either combusting, vaping, or orally consuming. As a cancer patient, one may find vaping a better alternative if nausea & vomiting are a challenge.
  • Edibles
    • Edibles can take many shapes and can be infused with either THC or CBD in the form of baked goods, candies, chews, and more. Edibles are helpful for those who experience insomnia or depression as a side effect of cancer treatments as it is long-lasting (8+ hours)
  • Topicals
    • Topicals are helpful for cancer patients who are diagnosed with skin cancer. Transdermal compounds are optimal as well as using products such as RSO.

 In conclusion, cannabis-infused products can be a great asset to those undergoing cancer treatment and may mitigate several unpleasant symptoms associated with treatment and disease progression. Talk to your doctor to see if cannabis is right for you – or come see us for an appointment!


Who is Rick Simpson and what is his oil? 

Rick Simpson oil is a cannabis extract that can be used as an effective treatment for cancer.

The story of Rick Simpson and his discovery of the oil has been told by him in two interviews, both available on YouTube: one from 2003, and another from 2008.

He had heard about some research done back in 1974 where THC was found to kill tumor cells in mice. He obtained some high-grade hemp oil which he began to use himself first before administering it to anyone else. His use of the oil caused a dramatic reduction in his skin cancer lesions within just three weeks after starting with it (from over 60 down to only four). 

In this article, we will talk about the usage of RSO, treatment options, consumption and dosing, and a conclusion of how you can determine if it’s an appropriate treatment option for you. 

Usage of

RSO is said to treat a variety of ailments including

  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma

From a research perspective, there’s been a good amount of activity involving cell samples and animal models that look at the effects of cannabinoids on cancer growth.

A 2014 study on mice examined the effects of THC and CBD extracts alongside radiation therapy. The cannabis extracts appeared to increase the effectiveness of radiation against an aggressive type of brain cancer. According to the study’s authors, these results suggest that THC and CBD may help to prepare cancer cells to respond better to radiation therapy.

RSO and Pregnancy

Whether the oil can be safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding is currently unknown, but it is recommended to abstain if pregnant or breastfeeding. As with any shift in treatment, you need to talk with your doctor about this before taking the medication. We always recommend doing so that your health is protected from any negative effects.

Treatment Modality

The process is simple; it can be applied onto skin or food items which can then be ingested orally if necessary: by simply spreading RSO over bandages covering any area of concern, one is able to treat their condition without inhalation. In fact, RSO is not intended to be inhaled; it is an edible or topical only. 

Consumption & Dosing

Although there is no recorded death from a cannabis-related issue in the United States since the 1970s when it was legalized for medical use only, adverse effects can happen if you consume too much marijuana oil at once.

The goal is to gradually consume 60 grams of Rick Simpson Oil over the course of a 90-day period when looking for symptom relief for a condition or for medical benefits. This is a large amount of dosing, so know the signs of what too much cannabis is. Nausea, vomiting, and dizziness are all signs of excessive consumption of Rick Simpson Oil. Remember, CBD is always an antidote to too much THC and will help reduce the high effect. 

Is RSO Right for You?

Being that there are so many conditions that can be potentially treated with RSO, in the end, the decision to treat with RSO is a personal choice that should be made with the input of your cannabis or attending physician. It can be an extremely helpful treatment option, but as with any shift in a personal treatment plan, you should discuss it in-depth with your doctor.


While there are many cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the two that have been most studied. Most people know that THC is responsible for psychoactive effects (the “high”) while CBD doesn’t cause any type of high. However, many patients are still confused about the difference in medical application is between CBD and THC. The two substances can seem to be interchangeable as they are both derived from cannabis plants and worse, some may potentially overlook the long-term benefits of consuming CBD. 

According to a Harvard study, both compounds have been shown to help treat anxiety disorders such as PTSD; epilepsy; acne; psoriasis; nausea relief; inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, and severe neuropathy.

However, unlike THC which only works on certain receptors in the brain and body called CB1 receptors – CBD interacts with a wide range of receptors. These include serotonin receptor sites as well as dopamine receptor sites. What this means is that CBD has a broad spectrum of potential treatment options. 

CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis plants

Today, we know more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, and each one has different effects on our bodies. In recent years, there has been an increased demand for high-quality CBD because of its wide-ranging benefits. If you’ve never tried CBD, it is advisable to discuss it with your medical professional.   

It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any new treatments Two doctors are facing one another in mid discussion.

Although some people may experience side effects when taking either compound, most patients report few negative side effects when using CBD products compared to those who consume high levels of THC. That said, CBD is a widely applicable treatment for a variety of health issues. We have found in our office that a number of patients under-treat with CBD. 

CBD ultimately works with the body to achieve optimal homeostasis (a perfect balance of health). 

CBD has been shown to have medically therapeutic properties that include:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • anticonvulsant
  • anxiolytic, and antiemetic effects

CBD works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain and also decreasing inflammation at the endocannabinoid system. It is important to note that no psychoactive effects are felt when using CBD so there is little risk of experiencing side effects like paranoia or hallucinations which can be experienced with THC-containing products. 

Furthermore, it doesn’t cause addiction like other drugs, because it does not contain any sedating properties or addictive substances.

Where can you find quality CBD? 

MMTC’s (dispensaries) across Florida carry CBD, it’s notable that the THC product lines are far more robust than those that are CBD specific. This can lead patients to seek out over-the-counter products, many of which are less than transparent in their ingredient lists, certificate of analysis, and other important information about the supply chain. 

If you have any questions about a product that you’re considering, please reach out to our office for further information or discussion. We would be happy to review the pros and cons of whichever item you’ve chosen for your cannabis journey. 

You can call us at 813-651-3495 or set an appointment online at





Chill Cawfee & Releaf MD will be hosting the 1st Annual Best of Brandon Cannabis Awards. Please vote for your favorite dispensary, product, med tender, or customer service excellence. Awards will be given at our April 17th Patient Appreciation Party. REGISTER NOW and come out for a fun night. Consumption area, meet the dispensaries, food, and live music!





Dr. Kelly Ennix King is a licensed medical cannabis physician in Florida and California.

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