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!





Studies have shown that people struggling with debt are three times more likely to have a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, this means that those with PTSD are not only forced to manage their unique symptoms but are also much more likely to have difficulties managing their finances.

Our guide was created using insight from expert health and finance contributors to help readers with a wide range of mental illnesses balance their financial and mental well-being.

You can view the guide here:



If there’s one person who really knows her stuff about medical cannabis, it’s Mara Gordon.

Gordon is the founder of Aunt Zelda’s, an organization that works with medical cannabis patients and offers their own lines of specially formulated cannabis products.

Gordon and the Aunt Zelda’s team are perhaps most famous for the amazing work they have done with cancer patients.

However, tumors aren’t the only thing the Aunt Zelda’s staff treats with cannabis medicines. They also work with medical cannabis patients experiencing chronic pain.

Chronic pain is perhaps the most common ailment that causes patients to seek out medical cannabis recommendations.

In an astounding Green Flower online course, Gordon reveals how the Aunt Zelda’s team uses cannabis to treat chronic pain and teaches viewers how to make the most of their cannabis medicines.

Hoping to improve the efficacy of your cannabis medicines? Here are Gordon’s top seven ways to make cannabis work better for pain.

1. Consume your cannabis medicine with fat

Believe it or not, adding some fat into your diet prior to taking cannabis medicines can drastically improve both the herb’s psychoactive and medicinal effects.

To explain why Gordon recalls a personal anecdote:

“I had some leftover infused oil and I went ahead and basted a chicken with it. Well, I ate the white meat and the other people ate the dark meat and they got high and I didn’t because there’s not as much fat in the white meat as there is in the dark meat.”

While the chicken story is just an example, there is some real science behind Gordon’s experience.

The most famous psychoactive in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is a lipid. Other cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD), are also lipid molecules.

What’s a lipid? A fat.

According to Gordon, eating fat before partaking in cannabis “…increases the bioavailability of the cannabinoids, because [cannabis] is fat soluble.”

Gordon recommends taking cannabis medicines after munching on something like an avocado or almond butter, which are both healthy sources of fat that are easy to digest.

2. Learn how terpenes interact with your body

There is much more to the cannabis plant than THC and CBD. In fact, it’s well-known that the plant is capable of producing several hundred different molecules.

While cannabinoids like THC and CBD tend to get the major press, the phytochemicals that give each cannabis cultivar its unique scent shouldn’t be overlooked.

These aroma molecules are known as terpenes.

Not only do these compounds provide a remarkable aromatic experience, but they’re also responsible for the nuanced effects of each cannabis strain.

As it turns out, having a knowledge about the terpenes in cannabis may affect your experience with the plant can make or break a quality cannabis medicine.

“If you have a THC product during the day, you’re going to want one that has limonene in it or something like that to make it more uplifting, you’re not going to take in the morning something with myrcene, for example, because then you’re going to feel sluggish from it and that’s something you would take at night.”

Limonene is a terpene aroma molecule that provides a stimulating citrus scent.

Myrcene is a hypnotic and sedative terpene that provides the drowsy and sleepy effects in many common cultivars. Myrcene has a musky aroma and is also found in hops.

“Always ask to see the lab results,” says Gordon, regarding tested cannabis products. “And then you have to learn how certain terpenes interact with your body and then once you know that just try to repeat it.”

3. Use topicals

Topicals are oft under-appreciated cannabis products. Cannabis topicals are infused balms, creams, oils, lotions, and any other product intended for external use.

While a topical may not be the end-all solution to chronic pain management, they certainly do have a way of easing surface pains, inflammation, and perhaps even stiff muscles.

Topicals are an excellent addition to pain management treatments, as they help to provide surface-level relief.

Most cannabis medicines are either ingested or inhaled, so topical cannabis offers a third layer of pain management that many medical cannabis patients find helpful.

“When you’re dealing with that deep, deep nerve pain, a topical is not going to touch it. But, in many, many cases, you have associated tense muscles because you tend to hold your body in a certain way when you’re suffering in pain. You cause all sorts of problems, and there’s a lot of nerves that are at the surface area.”

“If you use a topical in those situations,” explains Gordon, “then you’re going to have focused relief without any of the psychoactivity.”

4. Pick healthy products

Sadly to say, not all cannabis products are created equal.

“Make sure that you pick very healthy products,” says Gordon, “so you’re doing this with something that you’re not doing any harm to your body at the same time.”

While the standard budtender might sell you a joint or a brownie, these products don’t make for the best cannabis medicines.

They may be fun and somewhat relieving, however, both of these products also contain elements that detract from health rather than encourage wellness.

While cannabis has not been conclusively linked to lung cancer, smoke from joints contain many carcinogenic compounds that can be irritating to the tissues of the lungs.

The popular brownie, while delicious, is also made out of two of the most inflammation-causing foods: sugar and refined flour.

Similarly, many vaporizer pens contain thinning agents like propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol. When heated to high temperatures, research has shown that these compounds can combust into formaldehyde and other carcinogens, potentially causing harm.

5. Start low, go slow

Those with serious pain conditions may need to consume a decent amount of cannabis before they reach an effective dose.

However, starting at the standard effective dose for most pain patients isn’t always a good idea.

Why? Because the effects of the cannabis medicines may be too strong and it increases your chance of negative side effects of the herb.

Negative side effects can include anxiety, nausea, increased pain, and excessive drowsiness.

However, these side effects can be avoided entirely if you give your body enough time to grow accustomed to the new treatment.

When it comes to medical cannabis, the motto “start low, go slow” is important to remember.

“People are always going to start low and move slowly up to a therapeutic dose,” says Gordon.

“But, the reality is that when you start out at five milligrams or three milligrams that’s not going to keep you asleep for very long. That’s going to make you feel high, potentially, and only for a very short period of time before you need more.”

“When you get to 15 to 25 milligrams,” she continues, “that seems to be a sweet spot where people can stay for years, at that point, and not have to keep going up on it.”

6. Avoid sugar, gluten, and inflammatory foods

Cannabis medicines work best when they’re also accompanied by meaningful lifestyle changes.

Perhaps one of the most important lifestyle changes to include while on a medical cannabis regimen is an anti-inflammatory meal plan.

Certain processed foods, refined sugars, and gluten-containing foods can increase inflammation, potentially increasing pain and detracting from the effectiveness of medical cannabis.

“Getting up and moving, stretching, eating healthy, making sure you stay away from wheat, sugar, and things that cause inflammation in the body,” are all habits that should be included alongside a medical cannabis regimen.

“I think people have to be aware that it’s not like people can take a pill and you can get better. You have to be an active participant in your healing process,” says Gordon.

7. Don’t consume too much

While Gordon’s course discusses many different tactics for using cannabis for chronic pain management, one message she hopes to drive home is that, with this herb, less is more.

“I think the vast majority of people use too much cannabis,” explains Gordon. “It’s not scare, however, I think that there’s a scarcity about it that keeps it at a higher price point for what it is.”

“But, if you can keep the dose down at what it really needs to be, you can save people a lot of money and improve the availability of it.”


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

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