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CANNABIS ORIENTATION

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

PA Act 16 was set up to give residents access to medical marijuana in 4 easy steps;

  1. Register for the program through the Medical Marijuana Registry.

  2. Have a physician certify that you suffer from one of the medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. PA's 23 conditions include

    1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    2. Anxiety disorders.

    3. Autism.

    4. Cancer, including remission therapy.

    5. Crohn’s disease.

    6. Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies.

    7. Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders.

    8. Epilepsy.

    9. Glaucoma.

    10. HIV / AIDS.

    11. Huntington’s disease.

    12. Inflammatory bowel disease.

    13. Intractable seizures.

    14. Multiple sclerosis.

    15. Neurodegenerative diseases.

    16. Neuropathies.

    17. Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions.

    18. Parkinson’s disease.

    19. Post-traumatic stress disorder.

    20. Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain.

    21. Sickle cell anemia.

    22. Terminal illness.

    23. Tourette syndrome.

  3. Pay for a medical marijuana ID card.

  4. Get medical marijuana from an approved dispensary in Pennsylvania.

The Department of Health (DoH) awarded licenses for up to 150 dispensaries and 25 grower/processors. Currently, we have over 60 dispensaries and 12 growers.

Note about firearms. Due to conflicting federal law, MMJ patients cannot purchase new firearms.

CANNABIS SCIENCE

Endocannabinoid System Overview


Receptors:

Humans and animals alike synthesize chemical compounds that activate receptors located throughout our bodies. These chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids bond to different cannabinoid receptors, the most common of which are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are located abundantly in the central nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are located more peripherally, and include cells in the immune system. Cannabinoids and Terpenes work together to bind to these receptors.


The Entourage Effect shows us that these chemical compounds work better together.


-Common Cannabinoids and Their Purposes


  • THC: Famous for its psychoactive effects, THC is valuable for managing pain and reducing inflammation. THC can also reduce nausea, aid sleep, manage glaucoma, and protect the nervous system. Too much THC can produce paranoia, and stimulate appetite. 


  • THCA: This cannabinoid is the acidic parent of THC. It’s non-psychoactive and can help reduce nausea. It’s primarily found in raw marijuana and needs to be heated up or decarbed in order for the compound to be converted to THC. 


  • THCV: This cannabinoid has been found to suppress appetite and can aid weight loss. It also can an anti-seizure effect. 


  • CBD: This cannabinoid is found in lesser amounts in the cannabis plant. It’s become extremely popular in the medical cannabis world due to its effectiveness against epilepsy and cancer without producing the head high associated with THC. In addition to reducing or fighting the growth of tumor and cancer cells, CBD is known to alleviate anxiety and acts as an antipsychotic agent. CBD can be taken to help patients who experience adverse effects from THC. Products that are strictly CBD come in three different forms:

    • Isolate: This is the purest form of CBD, in which all other plant compounds and cannabinoids have been completely removed. There’s no risk of psychoactive effects, it’s tasteless, and contains no detectable amount of THC. The downfall is that it doesn’t deliver the enhanced benefits of the entire cannabis plant. 

    • Broad Spectrum: This is CBD that has been extracted from the cannabis or hemp plant along with other cannabinoids, excluding THC. There hasn’t been much research done on it, as of yet. 

    • Full Spectrum: This is CBD that has been extracted from the cannabis plant along with other compounds and cannabinoids. It undergoes minimal processing, to remain as pure to the plant as possible. Thus, there could be some trace amounts of THC. 


  • CBN: CBN is what’s left after THC is broken down. New research suggests this cannabinoid can be useful for aiding sleep, reducing muscle spasms, and alleviating pain. 


  • CBG: This cannabinoid is also newly discovered and shows promising antidepressant qualities. 

Typical Terpenes and Their Applications


Terpenes are what give cannabis its distinct smell and produce aromatics found in nature. Terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains. Some terpenes promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others promote focus and energy.


Typical Terpenes Include:

  • Pinene

    • Effects include alertness, memory retention, and calmness

    • It helps aid in the treatment of asthma, pain, inflammation, ulcers, and anxiety

    • Also found in pine needles, rosemary, and parsley

  • Myrcene

    • Effects include deep body relaxation

    • Helps aid in the treatment of insomnia, pain, and inflammation

    • Also found in mangoes lemongrass, and hops

  • Limonene

    • Effects include elevated mood and stress relief

    • Helps aid in the treatment of anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain, and cancer

    • Also found in lemons, limes, and peppermint

  • Caryophyllene

    • Effects include stress relief

    • Helps aid in the treatment of pain, anxiety, and depression

    • Also found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon

  • Linalool

    • Effects include mood enhancement and sedation

    • Helps aid in the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, and inflammation

    • Also found in lavender

PRODUCTS AND APPLICATIONS

There are several ways cannabis products can be consumed in Pennsylvania. Note, that the DoH prohibits pre-made edibles and the combustion of flower (no pre-rolled joints)

  • Tinctures: Found in liquid bottles and usually made with coconut oil, tinctures are generally recommended for new medical marijuana patients because they can deliver medication in a discrete way without requiring any heating element. Tinctures come in a variety of strengths that can provide the right ratio of THC to CBD.


  • Topicals: This product is similar to lotion. It’s applied externally to the afflicted area and provides localized relief without producing any kind of psychoactive effect. Topicals are great for people looking to alleviate aches and pains, without impairing function.


  • Transdermals: Similar to topical, transdermal patches are applied externally, usually on the arm, and the medication is delivered by being absorbed by the skin. Patients don’t often report feeling any kind of psychoactive effects.


  • Vapes: Vaporizers consist of an empty cartridge that’s filled with cannabis oil, which is then attached to a battery and the oil is inhaled. This method offers the fastest onset time for patients to administer medication, however, it also has the fastest offset time. 


  • Concentrates: Exactly as it sounds, concentrates are products made from the cannabis plant that have been processed to keep only the most desirable plant compounds (primarily the cannabinoids and terpenes), while removing excess plant material and other impurities. Ounce for ounce, cannabis concentrates have a greater proportion of cannabinoids and terpenes when compared to natural cannabis flowers. This product is extremely strong and can be administered in a wide variety of ways. 


  • Dry Flower: Flower, also called “bud,” refers to the smokable part of the cannabis plant that has gone through the cultivation, harvest, drying, and curing process. Flower continues to be a popular choice for its versatility, offering numerous methods of consumption, such as being smoked using a pipe or bong, or by rolling it into a joint or blunt.