Friday, 28 July 2017

Cannabis Details

This whole medical marijuana process is a lot more complicated than you might think. First there is the prescription process, enough of a hassle all on its own. Then there is the product selection process. The doctor doesn't do that at all. Instead you are left to choose your own product, or have an advisor assist you in choosing the correct product for your particular needs.

You see, cannabis is not just cannabis. There are so many different strains and varieties, with varying chemical compositions and varying strengths. The two main cannabinoids,delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, also known as THC and CBD, do different things in your body, so growers breed strains of cannabis which provides all of one, all of another, or blends with some happy middle ground. For example, recreational uses want to get high, so they don't care about CBD. On the other hand, people suffering seizures don't want to get high, so the don't care about THC.

THC is the stuff that gets you high. It also has been shown to relieve nerve pain, like the kinds I have, as well as inducing sleep, something I need. Of course there is the classic stimulation of appetite we've all seen in the movies, but it has also been demonstrated to reduce nausea and generate an improved mood. On the downside, high levels of THC have been shown to produce paranoia, psychosis, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and memory loss.

CBD is the more "medicinal" of the two main chemicals we seek from marijuana. It produces no high at all. It has been demonstrated to act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety drug. It's also shown efficacy as a muscle relaxant, reducing tremors and spasticity, as well as preventing seizures. It has been shown to counter and even eliminate the negative effects of THC. As of yet, there have been no real downsides noted with CBD.

With ALS, I suffer from substantial, relentless nerve pain. I have trouble getting to sleep, My appetite is irregular at best. Although I am generally a happy person, I suffer from some fairly severe mood swings. All of these are conditions aided by THC. I also struggle with anxiety, muscle spasms, tremors, and joint pain. All of these conditions are aided by CBD, which also reduces the instances of paranoia and other negatives of THC. In other words, I need a balanced hybrid.

The marijuana specialist recommended four strains of cannabis product, three of which are fairly balanced with THC and CBD. She went on to recommend one product high in THC and low in CBD, as a night time treatment, allowing me to sleep better and more comfortably.

So now I have product ideas. I have to go online to specific suppliers who have been given my prescription, thus they know the limits I can purchase legally. The thing you discover immediately is that medical marijuana is nowhere near as high in THC as the street level stuff. In addition you discover that it is more expensive than the street level stuff.

When you buy recreational marijuana off the street, you are buying an unknown product. Your local dealer does no testing for THC and CBD content, no quality control to ensure consistency in the product. A street dealer doesn't care if there are foreign elements in your weed; there usually are, ranging from mold to dirt to other drugs.

So I have been prescribed up to 120 grams a month across two registered suppliers. That means 60 from one and 60 from another. At an average price of about $8.00 a gram, my total allotment would price out at $960 a month. This is not covered by health insurance or AISH. So I suspect I will not be buying a lot of this stuff.

I am not sure what I will do yet. My thinking is to buy enough to make about 30 cannabis cookies. This amount will cost me the same as two good wine kits, ones that will make about 60 bottles of wine. It leaves me asking myself if one cookie is worth two bottles of wine. I don't know. All I know for sure is that today I will place an order for some amount, who knows what for sure, that I will struggle to afford. It is highly unlikely this will be an ongoing medical program, given the costs and difficulties.

But then again, perhaps this is what the government and the big pharmaceutical companies want.

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