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Getting Started with Marijuana
If you are looking to get started with marijuana, you need information about the medical marijuana card process, or you’re simply looking to learn more about marijuana products and all its derivatives, such as edibles and CBD oil, then you’ve arrived at the right place.
What is Marijuana?
The word Marijuana is generally used as a slang term for describing the cannabis plant, but it is actually just the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis Sativa plant. Today marijuana is grown all over the world. It can be grown in virtually any climate, and due to recent high demand, it is also being cultivated indoors, using hydroponic technology.
Marijuana is usually smoked in the form of a joint, but thanks to recent research showing the positive healing properties of the cannabis plant, marijuana is now being grown and distributed in many different forms, including edibles and oils. Each product made, has specific healing properties and is aimed to help different medical conditions.
When referring to the actual marijuana plant, you will find that while it can be grown in many parts of the world, it flourishes in any type of mild climate. It is characterized by a dark green appearance and is comprised of stalks, leaves, and flowers.
The Marijuana Plant can be categorized into three species: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis.
Cannabis Sativa – This marijuana plant tends to be tall, with thin leaves and widely spaced branches. It is used for recreational and medical purposes. Cannabis Sativa is suitable for outdoor gardens and tends to provide its patients with an uplifting and creative mood. It is often used to treat depression, ADD, fatigue, mood disorders, among other medical conditions.
Cannabis Indica – This plant is oppositive of the Sativa species. It is short and has stubby leaves. While it does grow outdoors, it is also suitable for indoor gardens. Indicas are often smoked by patients during the evening, as Indica tends to be sedating and relaxing. It is often used to treat Anxiety, Insomnia, Muscle Spasms and More.
Cannabis Ruderalis – This plant is a rarer form of the marijuana plant and is characterized by varied leaflets in the mature leaves. This species is used to create S. Sativa or S. Indica hybrids with select desired traits.
It is important to understand that each strain has its own characteristics and can help treat different medical conditions.
Medical Marijuana Benefits
There is a lot of debate as to whether medical marijuana can help treat patients similar to traditional medicine, but over the last couple of years, more and more patients have been exposing their stories on how marijuana has changed their lives and helped them recover from a number of severe medical conditions.
The most famous story was Charlotte Figi’s one. Charlotte’s story went viral on the internet when she was only 6 years old. Charlotte was experiencing over 300 epileptic seizures per week until she was successfully treated by a CBD-rich strain of Cannabis.
The CBD oil, which is an extract of specific marijuana strains, literally changed her life, helping her to overcome a 6-year battle. Since the release of her story, CBD, THC and other cannabinoids of the marijuana plant are constantly being studied by researchers in order to understand more about the marijuana plant’s undiscovered healing properties.
Today, the marijuana strain Charlottes Web, along with dozens of other marijuana strains such as OG Kush, AC/DC and more, are being used by millions of people worldwide to combat a wide range of medical conditions.
As a matter of fact, medical marijuana has been thought to help over 172 medical conditions, among them severe conditions such as Cancer, Anorexia, Arthritis, Chronic Pain, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and PTSD.
Recent studies have even shown that THC, one of the cannabinoids in the marijuana plant may cure cancerous diseases by altering genes. Other studies have proven that it might even be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.
Although marijuana gets as bad a rap as alcohol, and is even classed a gateway drug, alcohol is significantly more dangerous than the marijuana plant. So why doesn’t your doctor prescribe it, especially as you can get alcohol at every 7/11?
For nearly 4 decades, marijuana was classed as a Schedule 1 drug. This means that unlike other pharmaceuticals, marijuana has not been officially researched on human case studies. Furthermore, it is off limits and prohibited to be subscribed by doctors in most states due to Federal restrictions and laws. Combine federal laws with most doctor’s skepticism around the marijuana plant’s healing properties, and you’ll find that most physicians would prefer to go with a practice he/she is familiar with.
How Does Marijuana Affect Your Body?
The way marijuana affects your body varies from person to person. The same marijuana strain may even affect two different people very differently. This often depends on your genetics, tolerance to marijuana, medical health, DNA, among other factors. It also depends on the way of consumption, for example, the effects of vaping marijuana are very different to smoking it. CBD oil is also quite different, as it normally contains specific cannabinoids of the marijuana plant and is taken through oral consumption or vaped using a vaporizer. Marijuana can also be used to brew tea and, particularly when it is sold or consumed for medicinal purposes, is often mixed into foods (edibles) such as cookies, brownies, or candies.
Marijuana and the way it affects our bodies is still of some what a mystery to researchers as they try to wrap their minds around this mysterious plant. What they do know is that marijuana has been helping different cultures for thousands of years by influencing the EndoCannabinoid system. During the 1900’s it was accidentally discovered that our bodies have receptors within the brain and central nervous system. Specific cannabinoids within the marijuana or hemp plant bind to those receptors which activate the EndoCannabinoid System (ECS) to provide a wide range of psychological and physical benefits. The two most common cannabinoids are THC and CBD, but there are dozens of other less famous ones such as CBG, CBC, CBL, THCV and more.
While not going into specifics, the cannabinoids within marijuana signal to the body to create endocannabinoids and build more receptors. This naturally triggers the body to limit things associated with inflammation and pain, repairs cells and provides a wide range of other therapeutic benefits. Each cannabinoid can help a wide range of medical conditions, for example, THC is known for its pain killing effects, while CBD is thought to be the ultimate anti-inflammatory cannabinoid. What’s astonishing is that the cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant are almost identical to the endocannabinoids produced in your body, except for slight structural differences. This allows the cannabinoids to interact with your body in harmony.
Although researchers are only now starting to fathom out the way our body interacts with marijuana, there is still a lot to be learned about these cannabinoids and how they treat specific medical conditions.
Legal Aspects of Marijuana
As mentioned above, marijuana dates back to 2737 BCE or before the Common Era and was used as a medical treatment for a wide range of conditions throughout the far east. The earliest known record of English speaking countries using marijuana was when it was introduced in Jamestown in 1611, where it was bought and sold as a commercial crop.
For over 300 years, and up until 1937, marijuana was used as a medicine to treat a variety of illnesses and common problems such as toothaches and even childbirth. It was so common, that you could literally walk into a local pharmacy and pick up a bottle of CBD oil or marijuana extract. That all changed when it was brought into the U.S on a larger scale by Mexican immigrants during the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1911. This gave marijuana a stigma, and a lot of negativity was associated with the marijuana plant. In 1937, Harry Alinger, Head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics pushed to class marijuana as an illegal substance, and the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was created.
Today marijuana is classed as an illegal drug on a Federal level, but the perception towards the plant has significantly changed. In a recent study, it was recorded that over 60% of Americans think marijuana should be legalized. Furthermore, 71% of Americans think the federal government should not try to prohibit the sale and use of marijuana in many states where state laws permit it.
While it remains a Schedule 1 drug on a Federal Level, individual states have adopted a proactive approach towards the plant and allow those who need it to purchase it. These states have implemented different legal laws that permit patients to consume marijuana in different forms. Some states have even taken one step further and now allow recreational use. As of now, there are 28 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and 9 states that allow recreational use.
Hemp, for example, the marijuana plant’s cousin was also rescheduled through the Farm Bill Act of 2014. According to projectCBD, “Federal law prohibits U.S. farmers from cultivating hemp as a commercial crop, but the sale of imported, low-THC, industrial hemp products is permitted in the United States. This is as long as these products are derived from the seed or stalk of the plant, not from the leaves and flowers.” The farm bill also permitted certain states to cultivate the crop. This opened a variety of legal options for patients living in states that don’t permit the use of medical marijuana by allowing them to purchase CBD Hemp Oil.
What’s the Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?
People often get confused between the two, and while there aren’t many differences, it is important to understand that these two plants are separate. Both marijuana and hemp come from the plant species Cannabis Sativa L. but they contain slightly different components, and they look different. Marijuana tends to be shorter and wider than hemp’s narrow and tall physique. They are also grown for different purposes.
Marijuana is widely known for medicinal or recreational purposes while hemp is grown for medical, dietary supplements, skin products, clothing, and accessories. The major difference is that Hemp doesn’t contain high amounts of THC, the psychoactive component that gives you the “High.”
THC hemp will contain around 2% of THC, Industrial hemp that is cultivated for specific purposes contains less than 0.3% and THC in marijuana can range anywhere from 5%-35%. Hemp is extremely popular for its other cannabinoid, CBD, that acts as THC’s antagonist, essentially making any minimal amount of THC in the plant useless.
Also in regards to appearance, they look quite different. If you observe their leaves, you’ll notice that marijuana’s shape tends to be either a tight bud or look like a nugget with organed hairs.
Hemp tends to have skinnier leaves that are concentrated at the top of the plant. Hemp is typically taller than marijuana.
Their cultivation is also quite different. Marijuana requires an extremely monitored environment which is controlled, warm and humid. The growth cycle of marijuana is 60-90 days. Medical cannabis is often grown 6 feet apart. Hemp, on the other hand, are typically grown in large multi-acre plots. Hemp’s growth cycle is around 4 months.
How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient?
When it comes to medical marijuana, it is important to understand the legalities of your state. Each state has its own qualifying conditions and guidelines for which an individual may qualify to receive marijuana. In most states, the process will require you to have an evaluation with a registered marijuana doctor before you can apply to receive a medical marijuana card.
It’s important also to understand that you will most probably be required to apply for a marijuana card in the state you reside. Currently, only a few states accept medical marijuana registry ID cards from other states. These states include; Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan and Rhode Island.
If you live in a specific state, such as California and New York, the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card is much easier. These two states have adopted a more lenient process through prop 215. In 1996, with the passing of Proposition 215, otherwise known as “The Compassionate Use Act”, medical marijuana became legal.
This state law permitted patients to cultivate and possess their own medicine for personal use. The only legal requirement was that the patient had to have a doctor’s recommendation. Also with the passage of the Telehealth Act, patients are now able to obtain a medical marijuana card online, without having to go to a doctor for an evaluation physically.
This has turned the marijuana process into an extremely simple one. In states that permit Telehealth, state residents can complete the process from the comfort of their home. The states that have not adopted this approach will require you to go through the conventional route of obtaining a marijuana card, which includes having a physical evaluation and submitting relevant papers to your states Bureau of Health.
Here at Marijuanabreak, you will conveniently find your state’s process explained in our state by state guides section on the site.
Can you Obtain Medical Marijuana if you live in an illegal state?
The process is not cut-&-dry, and there are often options that you are probably not aware of. We encourage everyone to sign up to our site, FREE of charge, to receive information about the marijuana process in their state. You can start the medical marijuana card process here. For those of you who are looking for a legal treatment that can be delivered to all 50 states, you will find a plethora of information on the site that discusses the benefits of CBD oil. The CBD oil market is growing at a rapid pace and is expected to reach $1 Billion by 2020. When purchasing CBD oil, it’s important to know that most CBD oil brands import their oil, making it difficult to control and regulate its quality. We recommend reading the different articles on our site to understand what type of CBD oil is best for your medical condition.
Why Do Patients Love MarijuanaBreak?
Our website is a loving resource that is packed with information about marijuana. We have a growing community on Facebook and are constantly engaging with our reader to make them more informed and provide them with up-to-date information. We review hundreds of products, provide our readers with vast medical information about the marijuana plant and most importantly help our readers make educated decisions in regards to their health. Thanks to our experience, history, partnerships and footing in the marijuana industry, we understand the true benefits of marijuana and help our followers in the process of obtaining medical marijuana cards, treatments for a wide range of medical conditions and products for day to day use. All the information on the site is FREE; we only ask that you help us by spreading the word about the amazing healing properties of marijuana. Enjoy reading our site!
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