There’s long been the narrative of the medical marijuana patient and their doctor - the schemer and their enabler.
In this “story,” the doctor is typically a long haired hippy who is more than willing to provide the all coveted medical marijuana card - the holy grail of ganja. Individuals, some say, have taken full advantage of liberal doctors in legal states, while claiming to be suffering from anxiety or a similar ailment.
Fast forward to 2018 and the stigma still exists, though its quickly dissipating.
As more evidence comes forward regarding the positive effects of cannabis consumption on patients, especially those going through chemotherapy, the narrative goes up in smoke.
Medical marijuana, especially in recent years, has become prevalent enough as a treatment option for the pain associated with actual debilitating conditions - usually, but not limited to, cancer and the associated chemotherapy.
While doctors are becoming more likely to discuss medical cannabis as a safer alternative to opioids and nonsteroidals there are still significant hurdles - namely knowledge.
Many oncologists - doctors specializing in the treatment of cancer patients - feel that they don't know enough about marijuana to educate the sick, though they prefer bud to its alternatives because of the later’s side effects.
The 'opioid epidemic' makes medical marijuana a viable option, but it can only continue to be so if it can be adequately studied.
Legal limitations stifle the research necessary for doctors to feel comfortable enough with the data. It's interesting to note however, the staggering amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting the positive effects of pot on chronic pain.
According to PatientsLikeMe, a personalized healthcare company whose goals focus on the patient as opposed to the industry, chronic pain patients greatly prefer their bud.
For now, statistically patients are more likely to ask their doctors about pot than for for their doctors to offer pot as a form of pain treatment - but fear not! Trends show small shifts in doctor’s willingness to at least begin the discussion of marijuana as an option.
These trends may seem insignificant, but based on recent information - namely regarding the state of the industry as a whole - things are certainly looking up.
The main chemicals found in marijuana - those causing the 'high' - are THC and CBD. While doctors are certain of the effects of THC, their knowledge of CBD is more limited.
It is known that the psychoactive effects of marijuana are a result of the THC - not the CBD. CBD is found in hemp - the non-smokeable parts of the pot plant - while THC is not, thus making the former more widely available. Testing on either is, however, extremely limited.
As of now, doctors know that CBD can treat pain in many of the same ways as THC, but they believe the former possibly has further reaching benefits - namely in the treatment of other ailments.
Pain management is certainly the major benefit of medicinal marijuana, though its effects on anxiety are also significant. Today - especially in legal states - pot is the preferred choice of treatment over drugs like Ritalin for those with serious anxiety problems. Doctors do however, caution against over medicating as the paranoia associated with pot smoking can have serious implications for those with anxiety.
As federal regulations on the testing of marijuana disintegrates and the opioid epidemic continues, surely scientists will be able to complete the research necessary for definitive answers to all of the world's pot related questions - both for medicial and recreational.
Their research will focus on pain management for the following conditions (though as testing occurs the list will surely grow):
- Cancer (treatment for the effects of chemotherapy)
- Crohn's Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Even in states where patients are promised marijuana as a pain management option though, there are numerous hurdles to jump before lighting up (or whatever method of intake floats your boat).
Problems for Medicinal Patients
In certain states, medical marijuana is legal but those that qualify to use still face obstacles in obtaining their bud.
For example, patients in the past have obtained their medical marijuana card only to find out that there are no dispensaries in their entire state!
In other instances, patients learn that their landlord - or other similar people - refuse to allow them to treat themselves. While states have made marijuana legal, its legality is dependent upon your living situation. If you aren't on your own private property for example, you need permission! Otherwise you face the possibility of receiving a citation.
While thirty states nationwide have laws recognizing the legality of medical marijuana, there is still a ways to go before patients are treated as what they are - patients seeking pain relief, not addicts seeking to score.
Medicinal versus Recreational
There are some differences between medical and recreational cannabis, though the differences are minimal to the naked eye. It's important to know the difference though, so as to not accidentally ingest the wrong stuff - it could lead to the infamous "bad trip."
If you live in a legal state, chances are you've been to a dispensary that's both recreational and medical - all housed under one roof. The next time you stop by try to check out the differences!
There are specific rules regarding potencies when dealing with medicinal - remember, they are patients seeking pain management. As a point of reference, the average age of medicinal marijuana patients is over 55 years old - not the22 year old you would assume!
There are certainly strains of recreational marijuana though, to be sure, that can 'get you where you need to go.'
THC contents tend to be higher when medicinal, though the potency is diligently regulated by whichever doctor is prescribing the bud. The prescribing and dosing methodologies only further invalidate the aging narrative.
Methods of intake are the same for medicinal and recreational, so perhaps a Zang Mug could help a special someone in need of a pick me up.
Certain tax breaks are also awarded to those with medical marijuana cards, though these are infrequent and usually insignificant.
Your Best Options
If you're in search of some medicinal options, look not one page further as we've compiled a list of some of the very best for the treatment of chronic pain.
Treatment options aren't a 'one size fits all' kind of deal however, so be sure to discuss with an expert who is knowledgeable of your situation before medicating.
These options below though, will at least provide some background knowledge to be used in the discussion with your doctor. Remember - they're the expert!
- Lack of Appetite (great for combating eating disorders)
- Chronic Pain
- Stress/ Depression
Profile: An unusually powerful indica strain known for its aromatic flavor profile. Known by industry expert as the sleep inducer, so typically used later in the day as opposed to for a daytime toke.
- Chronic Pain
Profile: A world renowned indica sativa hybrid, White Widow provides an energizing high - one perfect for a day time smoke. You'll definitely be a stoney kind of relaxed, but not so much so that your couch becomes your oasis.
- Eye pressure
Profile: A sixteen time winner of global strain competitions, this strain is perfect for medicinal and recreational partakers alike. Its powerful euphoric effects provide the perfect escape for those bogged down by chronic pain.
- Chronic Pain
Profile: The recommended beginner strain for those medicating, Blue Dream is a staple in the industry - particularly on the United States' West Coast. This hybrid strain - known by many as a 'medicine cabinet staple' - provides a a variety of effects depending on the dosing. This diversity of effects is what makes it perfect for medicinal purposes, which in its case come from the high THC content (CBD content is quite low).
- Lack of appetite
- Chronic Pain
Profile: A hybrid made up mostly of sativa, Strawberry Cough is perhaps the most aptly named strains in the world - it looks and tastes like strawberries! Known for its anxiety ridding effects, this bud is super tasty and extremely effective - that's the goal right?