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15/Oct/2021

 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.

 


01/Oct/2021

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!

 


02/Sep/2021

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!

 


14/Aug/2021

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!
 

31/Jul/2021

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.

 

Summary

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!


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16/Jan/2019

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: https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/mental-health-and-debt.php


14/May/2018

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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.”


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

Copyright by RELEAFMD 2021. All rights reserved.

Medical Marijuana Use Registry