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Everything You Should Know About Florida Marijuana

J R Anderson

Marijuana is also known as cannabis and has approximately 140 compounds known as cannabinoids.  In addition to cannabinoids, are terepenes, (essential oils) in the plant that give the various strains (types) their unique smells.  These compounds have been found to have a wide range of health effects. The important thing to know is scientists and researchers have known for quite some time, that these compounds work best when they are working together. Researchers call this "the entourage effect."  In other words, the whole plant is better than one or two compounds by themselves. Plant vs pill.  The plant wins.  Hands down.  Just as eating whole foods is much more healthful than eating processed foods. 

In Florida extracts are available that include both the cannabinoids and terpenes. Don't confuse capsules or drops that are full spectrum extracts of oil from the plant, with isolated compounds often found in pharmaceutical pills. Florida dispensaries are not dispensing products produced in a lab, but rather extracted in a lab. The marijuana is grown in Florida and the oils are extracted and produced into different plant based products.  Smoking is suppose to be taboo in Florida, however some patients prefer smoking. Smoking and vaping is widely used due to the fast effect. One or two puffs on a joint or vape pen can stop tremors or pain within a minute or two.  Vapes do not emit the strong odor of marijuana.  A joint can be highly recognizable. (no pun intended)  And for those who think any form of inhalation is bad. The fact is that a UCLA study by Dr. Donald Tashkin concluded that inhaled marijuana appeared to provide a protective effect against lung cancer for cigarette smokers, and the incidence of lung cancer for those who smoked marijuana was the same as non-smokers. In addition to that, marijuana is a bronchial dilator. 

Ethan Russo, M.D., a neurologist and former medical advisor at GW Pharmaceuticals who now serves as director of research and development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, published an article in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2011, in which he details how cannabis compounds influence each other’s mechanisms. The article, “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” was one of the first to examine how the entourage effect works when cannabis is administered to mammals. 

Russo found that terpenes - the fragrant plant oils that give cannabis its smell - are quite potent on their own, and provide a broad range of effects, including sedative, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and palliative therapy. However, he also uncovered how terpenes seem to change the way in which cannabinoids bind to their respective receptors, thus altering the way in which cannabinoids take effect internally. This means that different strains (types) of marijuana have different effects. There are thousands of strains of marijuana. Because of the limited number of growers in Florida, strain choice has been limited. 

What does this all mean?  Bottom line, the whole plant beats a single compound, and different strains have different effects. Kind of like whole food beats a vitamin pill. Think about all those terepenes in that orange and the other compounds versus a Vitamin C pill.   This is why a medical marijuana clinic is so helpful. We understand marijuana.  We research marijuana. We specialize in marijuana.  A patient may need a different level of canabinoids, or a different strain.  Cannabinoids also influence each other.  For instance, CBD (cannabidiol) counteracts THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound associated with "getting high". Whereas CBD reduces the high. Some patients do not like the feeling of euphoria, while others embrace it. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is better. Certified Marijuana Doctors founder has researched marijuana for years and interviewed leading experts in the marijuana industry. Our staff includes a cannabis certified nurse and all doctors are MD's or DO's who are certified in marijuana. 

The whole plant offers compounds that influence each other.  Mother nature truly does know best.  A lab can not duplicate the sub-atomic quirks and quarks not to mention the thousands of compound interactions between the cannabinoids and the terpenes.  Marijuana is non-toxic and would put you to sleep before you would even come close to an overdose. There are foods we eat that are more toxic than marijuana. 

There have been instances of what they are calling cannabinoid hyper-emesis syndrome, where a patient experiences nausea and vomiting after using high amounts of THC for long periods of time.  None of our patients have experienced this. This does not appear to be a condition that was noticed until concentrates and extracts were widely used, which is why there is a large awareness and movement to expand the access to dry bud and fresh marijuana rather than limiting patients to extracts and concentrates. 

In Florida extracts are available that include all the cannabinoids and terpenes, so patients get the benefit of the whole plant. Often patients are confused and think because a product is available in a different form such as a capsule, drops or suppository (yes suppositories are available - great for colon cancer), that these products are made in a lab. Nothing could be further from the truth. They may be extracted in a lab, but they are NOT created in the lab.  They are extracted from marijuana grown in Florida. Medical marijuana patients in Florida have access to full spectrum extracts, made into various products for a variety of intake methods. These products are produced from extracts of marijuana that are tested by independent labs for contaminants.  Steep Hill labs a testing facility in California tested marijuana from the street, and 94% was contaminated with mold, mildew, pesticides, or another contaminant. This is why it is important to buy from a legal source where testing is required by an independent lab (plus the not getting busted thing). And marijuana bought from a licensed source is labeled.  Labeling is important so you know what strain, and what level of active compounds you are getting.  Stronger is not necessarily better. In fact, many patients have come to find they like a more balanced choice of cannaboinoids. We often hear "I haven't had this quality of sleep in 30 years." This is a big deal, especially since the recent finding that our brains clean off the plaque when we are in deep sleep.  Marijuana is a neuro-protectant as well. Which is why many pro athletes who experience repeated head trauma are turning to marijuana.  

There is however another crucial piece of the puzzle missing in Florida, in addition to the lack of strain choice due to limited numbers of licensed growers.  FRESH from the garden marijuana.  Florida is not allowing patients to grow their own personal-use supply of marijuana.  Therefore patients do not have access to juicing marijuana fresh from the garden which has proven to be a very potent anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and powerful immuno-suppressant.  Fresh from the garden, juiced marijuana does not get you high.  Patients in other states who have the right to grow a limited supply for their personal use have experienced extraordinary results juicing marijuana fresh from the garden. If they are too sick to grow their own, they assign a caregiver to grow for them. We talked about the influence of terpenes and cannabinoid levels on each other.  If patients were allowed to grow their own marijuana they could find the strain best for them, and grow their own. In addition to having the optimal strain, the would have access to CBDA, and THCA the very potent acidic version of CBD and THC without the high.  Patients with autoimmune disorders are having especially good results juicing fresh marijuana straight from the garden.  

For more information call Certified Marijuana Doctors or visit our website CMMDR.com.  You must first be approved by a Certified Marijuana Doctor to access marijuana in Florida.