Medical Marijuana Decreases the Need for Prescription MedicationDanial Schecter, MD March 20, 2021
(Updated March 20, 2021)
In July 2016, CBC News reported on a study done by The University of Georgia indicating that in U.S. states with legalized medical marijuana, there was a marked decline in prescription drug use among the elderly and disabled. Researchers estimated that if every state legalized medical marijuana, Medicare would save more than $468 million a year on pharmaceuticals for the disabled and those 65 and older.
Researchers looked at available prescription data for nine conditions in which medical marijuana could serve as an alternative treatment to prescription drugs, including anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders, and spasticity.
Medical Clinic Breaking the Stigma of Cannabinoid Therapy
Since its inception in 2014, Canada’s Canabo Medical Clinic network has received well over 10,000 patient referrals from health professionals. The variety of cases they see is broad, with a patient population age range between two and 92 years old. The variety of symptoms and conditions includes treatment-resistant seizures, chronic pain of various kinds, gastrointestinal disorders, as well as psychiatric complaints.
The range in patients who are considering cannabinoids as a therapeutic option attests to the potential of prescription cannabinoids and medical cannabis to fill a gap in treatment that is not being met by available pharmaceuticals. Because prescription cannabinoids and medical cannabis are a different class of medication, they represent potentially life altering treatments for patients who may have exhausted all conventional approaches.
Stephen Lantos, head of Clinical Education at Canabo Medical Clinics, explains that each patient seen at CMClinic meets with a trained educator who explains the different strains, licensed producers, and methods of ingesting to choose from. The educator assists the patient in choosing the right combination suited for their condition.
Many people believe that medical cannabis therapy involves smoking the product, ingesting THC, feeling drowsy, tired, and endlessly hungry for hours at a time. The public generally does not realize that there are different ways to consume prescription cannabinoids. These options include vaporizing, oils, tinctures, salves, and tea. All are smokeless alternatives recommended by physicians at Canabo Medical Clinics.
Editor’s note: Tetrahdyrocannabinol, or THC, is a substance present in the cannabis plant which makes a person feel intoxicated after using it. If a specimen of cannabis contains 0.3% of THC or less, it’s considered hemp by law because it won’t be able to produce a high, and is commonly sold as CBD flower. Any THC amount more than 3% means it’s marijuana.
VAPORIZING: Vaporizing heats the marijuana using conduction, convection, or a combination of both, versus smoking which uses combustion. “When smoking marijuana through a joint, pipe, or water device, 30%-50% of the plant is burnt in the process and cannot be consumed, meaning the prescription will not last as long as it could. As the flame or ember burns, some of the useful cannabinoids and terpenes with lower boiling points will be destroyed due to the high temperatures they are exposed to, rendering them useless to the patient,” says Stephen Lantos.
This is why vaporizing is ideal because the cannabinoids are not being prematurely destroyed, allowing the patient to get the most out of their prescription. When using a vaporizer, patients are usually able to reduce their daily dose because of the increased efficiency vaporization promotes. The benefit behind vaporization becomes clear when we see that it uses less cannabis per dose and extracts more medicinal compounds out of the cannabis itself. The temperature range and control provided by vaporizers prevents the patients from exposing the cannabis to temperatures in excess of 230 degrees celsius. (Above that temperature, the plant matter will start to deteriorate and combust, releasing harmful byproducts of combustion that over time could potentially cause bronchitis or emphysema.) This temperature control also allows for patients to fine tune their consumption as different cannabinoids with varying medicinal effects are released at certain temperatures.
CANNABIS OILS: Another option involves cannabis-infused oils (CBD oil). These oils are comprised of an extract that contains the active ingredients found in cannabis mixed into a medium that is safely consumable for humans such as coconut, grape seed, sunflower, or mct oil to name a few.
Oils are generally taken by a dropper under the tongue, then swallowed. They can also be easily mixed into food or drink which is especially helpful for pediatric patients. The onset and duration of the oil’s effects greatly differs from the acute response of vaporizers. Depending on a patient’s tolerance levels and dose taken, the effects can begin to take hold within one to two hours and last for up to six to eight hours. Using oil is beneficial to patients with respiratory problems who are not able to vaporize or smoke, or for patients who are looking for more consistent coverage throughout their day without the need to re-dose frequently. These oils can be consumed discreetly, and come in a variety of different concentrations sourced from many different strains.
Different Cannabis Compounds Address Different Health Issues
There are over 80 different cannabinoids found within cannabis, each suited for different health conditions. For example, there are cannabinoids that aid in sleep, relaxation, and stimulation of appetite, while others are specifically for pain reduction with anti-inflammatory and uplifting properties. THC is the cannabinoid that makes users feel “high”, and there are strains with such low THC, that patients will not feel those psychoactive effects. They will only experience the effects of the other cannabinoids such as CBD, a compound that helps with symptoms such as pain, inflammation, and seizures.
Each strain of marijuana has different expressions of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, and with hundreds of documented strains the options are endless. This is where the specialists come in, such as the educators and physicians at Canabo Medical Clinic, who are trained to know which strains to recommend for each condition in order to help the patient experience minimal adverse effects and return to living a normal way of life.
Canabo Medical operates in 22 locations across Canada (including Toronto, Barrie, Hamilton, and Ottawa), and is accepting new referrals in all locations. For more information on appointments and referral forms, visit their website: www.cmclinic.ca Or call 1-888-282-7763.
 University of Georgia study https://tinyurl.com/zkt5hx2