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Medical Cannabis with Harvest Medicine – Part 2

Medical cannabis - Power point slide with the text: Medical Cannabis Selecting and Ordering  with the logo for Harvest Medicine
Image Source: Harvest Medicine

On Feb 22, 2022 Dr. Bhumi Bhojak and Medical Cannabis Educator, Brevin Babyn from Harvest Medicine spoke at a CNA Monthly meeting webinar, speaking on Medical Cannabis. Their discussion included: Cannabis Basics, Product Selection, Topicals and Insurance Considerations. The discussion from Harvest Medicine on was very informative, however it was not recorded. Thanks to Harvest Medicine and their staff who provided us with this helpful information.  Harvest Medicine can be found at: https://hmed.ca/

For those of you who are interested, here is a link to Part 1 with Harvest Medicine

Since it was not a recorded session,  I (Linda) made the following notes, I hope you find them helpful.  Please be aware, these notes are my interpretation of what I heard and are heavily weighed to where my interests were. The concepts contained apply no matter which cannabis clinic you choose to work with.

The basics:

Cannabis in sunshine Image Source: CNA

There are a wide variety of Medical Cannabis products to choose from.  They are the same across Canada, but products in the US are going to be different because there are different producers. 

A skilled educator plans a specific treatment plan for individuals based on their symptoms.

CBD products are a good starting point for people new to Cannabis, because there is no high.

  • – It helps with chronic pain, inflammation, mood disorders, anxiety, sometimes for sleep

THC Products produce the “high” cannabis in known for.

  • It helps with pain relief and sleep
  • It should always be taken under the guidance of a physician and with education

Balanced products: Have an equal amount of THC and CBD

  • For those who want the effects of THC, but without the high (Note: Many accounts have expressed that CBD actually possesses anti-psychoactive properties, which assist to counteract the psychoactive effects of a component like THC.)
  • This is also good for people new to CannabisThe two (THC & CBD) work together and provide different outcomes

There are sometimes other cannabinoids as well, but these (above) are the main ones; and, the ones that have the most research behind them.

Terpenes: The chemical building blocks of taste and smell in all plants, but also supporting chemicals for the therapeutic effects

  • Cannabis has a lot of different terpenes
  • Terpenes are also found in many foods; for example mangos and black pepper

Commonly sought after terpenes:

  • Myrcene – a sedative, anti-inflammatory, Analgesic
  • Pinene – anti-inflammatory, Bronchodilator, helps w/ alertness & focus
  • Limonene – Mood elevation, Gastrointestinal issues, anti-fungal
  • Terpineol – Antibiotic, Sedation, Anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)
  • Caryophyllene – Anti-anxiety, Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory
  • Linalool – Anti-anxiety, Depression relief, Anti-acne

The Entourage Effect – combining two or more cannabis products together can give more positive effects than when taken alone

  • THC, CBD and Terpenes all play a role in the Entourage effect.
  • Ingest products for a longer-term effect
  • Terpenes are shown to change the way cannabinoids bind to our receptors changing the effect the cannabis has.
Two signs pointing in opposite directions both with the word "Choice"
Choosing which product is right for you Image Source: CNA/Canva

Medical Cannabis Product Selection:

Steps to choose which product topic

Note: the following are used to determine your personal priorities. Each question, or priority of yours will narrow  down what your needs are so you, together with an educator can select the best producer and product options for you.

A good, qualified educator will discuss the following with you:

  1. Assess authorization (the prescription) the patient is allowed to have.
  2. Speak with you about what are you treating?  If it is Pain: will start with high CBD + terpenes
  3. What are your Goals, compassion shipping first responder
    • They need to understand what you want it to do ( so they can determine TCH, CBD, or  Balanced)
    • Determine which strain:  Indica (for relaxation) versus sativa (for energy)
  4. They need to understand how fast you want it to work (fast – inhale versus  slow – ingest, or somewhere in between)
  5. The above will determine your options on how you take it.
    • Smoking,  vaping (fast – but not recommended because of other issues)
      • Also, with these you are essentially wasting a big percentage (30-40) of the medication you paid for! (literally blowing it out in the smoke).
    • Capsules, tea, strips, oil spray (medium speed)
    • Gummies, chocolates, Oil,  In water (slow, but longer lasting)
  6. Which one has terpenes that will compliment what you want to do
    • Look at the pie charts and pick the ones you think have the best for your needs.
  7.  Other needs or priorities like Compassion care pricing, shipping, grown by fish (i.e., hydroponically).

Topical applications

  • Body creams and face creams are now available.… good for localized pain like conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia
  • The Depot Effect refers to the fact that reapplying a medication builds it up in the applied area.  So over time there is a higher residual concentration (i.e. build up).
    • You get the best effect when you keep reapplying to keep the effectiveness high for  the long term.
    • Dermatomes apply here too, depending on the penetration agent used in making the topical
    • DMSO is an agent to help penetrate the skin deeper.
  • AviCanna (A Canadian producer) – does a little more than the average(sp.) likely since they are a deep tissue cream
  • Note: Bio availability is usually lower in topicals than ingested cannabis… Good if the pain is not deep (joints like the elbows), but if the pain is located deeper in the body it won’t well (for example a hip is very deep).

Insurance Considerations

  • Cannabis is considered a third line of treatment.
  • Is the quality the same in the stores versus the ones coming from the producers? Yes, However:
    • If it is coming from a (recreational) store; it is not covered by insurance.
    •  Interactions with you other meds won’t be known. 
    • Store staff  legally can’t answer questions.

Note: You Still can’t travel outside of Canada with medical (any) cannabis

You can travel within Canada. You must keep in original packaging.

Thanks everyone for coming out.

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