My blog is dedicated to the exploration of industrial hemp in America including the rich history of all forms of cannabis, the evolving law and politics of hemp and marijuana, the many products made from cannabis and the capacity, real or imagined, of hemp to re-industrialize rural America and revitalize the American family farm.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
The Healing Plant: Medical Marijuana, Hemp, And Cannabis Oil
In just a few decades, we’ve been flooded with information about a plant that’s been suppressed for nearly a century but is finally being recognized. It’s surprising we didn’t know all this sooner, but in my opinion, it’s great that we’ve finally reached this point.
It makes sense that it took this long since governments around the world have been focused on persecuting rather than utilizing or learning about this beneficial plant. We might not know everything about it, but we know a lot more than we did 40 years ago.
There’s still progress to be made, but we should be glad we’ve come this far.
An Overwhelming Amount of Information
The focus for this report will be the cannabis plant’s medicinal benefits.
I was surprised to be overwhelmed with so much information when I set out to research this subject. This report will be longer than usual, and we still won’t be able to cover everything here.
We’ll tackle as much information as we can, and along the way, we’ll learn about the different kinds of oil extracted from the plant for medicinal, recreational, dietary and industrial use.
It turns out cannabis isn’t just for smoking; little did we know here in the U.S. until recently, its compounds can be extracted and used for the purposes mentioned above and more.
Basic Facts About the Cannabis Plant
In their “Guide to Using Medical Cannabis”, Americans for Safe Accessdescribes cannabis as a flowering plant with fibrous stalks used for paper, rope, clothing and building materials (among other things). (1)
The leaves, flowers and roots can be used medicinally or recreationally, and the seeds are a source of food and fuel. (1)
The leaves and flowers are consumed in various forms, one of which involves the extraction of resin from them. This is achieved through various methods. (1)
When the plant reaches maturity, the leaves and flowers are covered with trichomes: tiny glands of resinous oil that contain cannabinoids and terpenes which provide physical and psychoactive effects. (1)
There are over a hundred different types of cannabinoids and terpenes. (1)
Among them all, THC was the first to be discovered and remains the most popular because it provides the strongest psychoactive effect. (1) The ratio of THC to other cannabinoids varies with different strains. (1)
Well-Known Cannabinoids (That Aren’t THC)
THC has been the primary focus of breeding and research due to its psychoactive and therapeutic effects, but other cannabinoids provide similar effects. (1)
Five other well-known cannabinoids are:
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) (1)
Cannabidiol, or CBD, can relieve convulsions, inflammation, anxiety and nausea. (1)
It has many of the same therapeutic qualities as THC without the psychoactive effects – which means it doesn’t get you high. (1) It’s a prominent cannabinoid in low-THC strains, and modern breeders can develop high-CBD strains for medical use with no intoxicating effect. (1)
Cannabinol, or CBN, is mildly psychoactive and can decrease intraocular pressure and the occurrence of seizures. (1)
Cannabichromene, or CBC, promotes THC’s analgesic effects and has some calming, sedative effects of its own. (1) Cannabigerol, or CBG, also has sedative effects along with antimicrobial properties and decreased intraocular pressure. (1)
Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV, shows promise for type 2 diabetes and similar metabolic disorders. (1)
Besides cannabinoids, the plant contains other biologically active compounds. (1)
These include flavonoids and terpenes (or terpenoids), which are responsible for smell and flavor. (1) These compounds are all secreted by the glandular trichomes found in the leaves and flowers of female plants. (1)
Factors to Consider Before Medical Use
Certain factors should be considered before one decides to use the plant medicinally. One is that the experience will be different for everyone. (1)
Other factors include dosage; strain; environment; method of consumption; experience and history of use; and even diet. (1) I recommend considering these before rushing into the use of cannabinoids or other compounds from the plant.
Three Known Varieties
Although cannabis is biologically classified as one species (Cannabis Sativa), there are at least three known plant varieties: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. (1) The last variety is rare, and today, it’s common to find Indica/Sativa hybrids. (1)
The parts of the plant used for rope and other industrial resources are referred to as hemp and contain small amounts of THC, rendering them non-psychoactive. (1)
Genetic breeders have developed thousands of different strains, and despite that there are discernable differences between Indica and Sativa, it can be difficult to find a pure strain depending on where you live. (1)
Noted Sativa Effects
The Sativa strain acts primarily on your thoughts and feelings; stimulating them and providing a feeling of energy that makes it a preferred strain for daytime use. (1)
Its noted therapeutic effects include a stimulating or energizing feeling; an increased sense of focus and wellbeing; increased creativity; an elevation in mood and reduction in depression; relief for headaches, migraines or nausea; and an increased appetite. (1)Side effects can include increased paranoia and anxiety. (1)
Noted Indica Effects
The Indica strain acts primarily on the body by producing a sedated feeling that makes it preferable for nighttime use. (1)
It can provide relaxation and reduce stress; relax muscles and spasms; reduce pain, inflammation, headaches and migraines; help you sleep; reduce anxiety; reduce nausea; stimulate appetite; reduce intraocular pressure; and reduce frequent seizures. (1) Side effects include tiredness and “fuzzy thinking”. (1)
Oil Extracts Common Around the World
What we know as marijuana – the dried flower or bud from the plant – is the most commonly consumed form of cannabis in the U.S. (1)
Around the world, however, it’s more common to extract cannabinoids and other compounds from the plant that provide increased therapeutic and medicinal benefits in their pure form. (1)
Concentrates are made from cannabinoid-rich glandular trichomes found in varying amounts on cannabis flowers, leaves and stalks. (1)The flowers of a mature female plant usually contain the most trichomes. (1)
Common Oil Extraction Methods
Various methods are used to separate the trichomes from the plant to make into oil. Here are a few:
You can sift the cannabis flower or dry leaves through a fine screen via a mechanical/motorized tumbler or by hand. (1) This is called “dry sifting”. (1) During the process, oil-rich glandular heads pass through the screen. (1)
You can roll cannabis flowers between your fingers to rupture the trichomes and collect the resin that sticks to your fingers. (1) This is known as “finger hash”. (1)
Or, you can submerge the leaves in ice water, agitate the mixture to solidify the trichomes, filter the mixture through increasingly fine screens or bags, dry the trichomes, and press them into blocks. (1)This is known as “bubble hash”. (1)
Before the tidal wave of research hit regarding the medicinal properties of various types of cannabis oils, the plant and the oils that can be extracted from it were mostly known for their psychoactive properties.
Fortunately, this has changed. Now, we have just as much information about different types of cannabis oil as we do the plant itself. Let’s explore some of that information.
Differences Between Cannabis Oil, Hemp Oil, and Marijuana Oil
You may have heard about all the different types of oils – cannabis oil, hemp oil, marijuana oil – but are they all the same or do they have significant differences?
Janet Glatz writes that the most general term, cannabis oil, can be an extract from any part of the plant. (2) This extract can be known by various names depending on which part of the plant is used and the purpose for which it’s used. (2)
The names of different psychoactive variations include hash oil, butane hash oil, marijuana shatter and cannabis wax. (2) These oils, which differ from their non-psychoactive counterparts containing more CBD and less THC, often have the consistency of sap. (2)
Their intention is to provide the high and associated benefits from the cannabis plant without making the user smoke it. (2) It’s a healthier and often more uplifting experience.
Vaporization and “dabbing” are the most common ways to use these oils. (2) You might be familiar with vaporization, but dabbing is when a concentrated form of psychoactive cannabis oil is put on a hot surface and inhaled. (2)
Hemp Oil Doesn’t Get You High
As we learned, the term “cannabis” refers to any part of the cannabis plant, whereas “hemp” refers to the low-THC industrial product and “marijuana” refers to the high-THC flowers used for medicinal and recreational purposes. (2)
The term “hemp oil” refers to the essence extracted from pressed hemp or cannabis seeds. (2) It’s not usually psychoactive because THC rarely appears in seeds. (2)
The uses for hemp oil vary depending on its makeup; some of it is made to be used medicinally but it’s usually used for dietary and other purposes. (2)
Sometimes, the term “hemp oil” can refer to a hash oil-like extract made from the stems, leaves or flowers of the hemp plant. (2)Industrial or medical hemp typically contains under 3% THC, which makes it an ideal source of CBD oil. (2)
Extracting Hash Oil
The term “hash oil” refers to a “sticky, gooey weed extract” comprised of psychoactive cannabinoids, aromatic terpenes and other “natural plant essences”. (2)
It’s one of the most consistently defined marijuana oil extracts despite the countless ways and forms in which it’s manufactured. (2)
Hash oil is a result of the extraction of cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. from marijuana flowers and buds for their high THC content and resulting psychoactive properties. (2) Unlike hemp or cannabis oil, hash oil is used almost exclusively for this purpose. (2)
It Gets a Little Confusing…
Psychoactive extracts from the cannabis plant are generally known as marijuana oil but can also be called cannabis oil. (2) Non-psychoactive extracts from the hemp plant are generally known as hemp oil but, again, can also be called cannabis oil.
Cannabis oil in any form is extracted from the seeds, flowers, leaves or any other part of the plant. (2) It can refer to pure or nearly pure extractions of cannabinoids and other compounds, or extractions of certain cannabinoids alone. (2)
Thus, CBD oil can be known as hemp or cannabis oil and pure THC extract can be known as marijuana or cannabis oil. Another class, Full-Extract Cannabis Oil, is made from every part of the plant.
Despite the terms’ confusing interchangeability, these different oils have unique purposes.
Benefits of THC and CBD
As we learned, THC and CBD are the two most commonly researched cannabinoids due to their countless health benefits. (2)
These benefits include treating cancer and chemotherapy; muscular schlerosis; atopic dermatitis; epilepsy; neuromuscular disorders; glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; Tourette’s; terminal illness; chronic pain; and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). (2)
They can also combat anxiety and stress. The natural compounds found in cannabis essential oil, which include THC, are great for releasing pleasure hormones; relaxing the mind; reducing stress; and inducing a sense of calm and relaxation. (2)
Sufferers of insomnia, nighttime anxiety or those who just have trouble getting a restful sleep might benefit highly from cannabis oil. (2)
It relaxes the body and mind, thereby inducing a lower energy level and making it easier to clear your mind and get your heart rate down before bed. (2)
It can also boost your appetite.
It’s obvious that cannabis can make you hungry, but cannabis essential oil can help regulate your appetite and induce hunger while stimulating the digestive system to operate on a more regular level. (2)
This can help those looking to gain weight quickly due to an extended illness, injury recovery or any other cause. (2)
Cannabis oil is a well-known pain reliever regularly suggested for inflammation, chronic pain and even emergency pain relief. (2)
Cancer Prevention, Heart Health, Skin Health, Eye Health
Although there’s controversy over the issue and research is still ongoing, early reports have shown that the active ingredients in cannabis essential oil have preventative effects on cancer and cause a reduction in tumor size. (2)
The latter could make beating cancer easier for those already suffering. (2)
The oil can also be good for your heart: it can balance out negative oils in your system, stimulate antioxidant processes, scrape off excess cholesterol, and maximize cardiovascular system health. (2)
The compounds in cannabis oil can even be used to protect your skin when consumed internally or applied externally. (2)
They can stimulate the shedding of dead skin and the faster regrowth of healthy, glowing skin. (2) They’re also known to prevent wrinkles and signs of aging, as well as protect against eczema and psoriasis. (2)
Cannabis and its oils have been given the spotlight in recent years as a treatment for glaucoma. Since they’ve been linked to a reduction in glaucoma and the prevention of muscular degeneration, many turn to them for eye health as they age. (2)
Applying cannabis oil topically at the temples or other affected areas can be an effective way to get relief from headaches and migraines. (2) Many will turn to cannabis or cannabis oil prescriptions for a potent defense against pain and crippling headaches. (2)
Despite all these benefits, Janet reminds us, we should always be careful and mindful when considering the use of cannabis oil. (2) Talk with a doctor first.
Much More to Learn
In future segments, we’ll dive deeper into the benefits of cannabis, hemp and the oils derived from them. I used to think we needed more research on cannabis and in some ways, I still do, but it’s clear that we already know a lot about it.
There’s much more to learn than what we covered here; this was basically an introduction to what we’ll learn in the weeks ahead.
Pain relief, appetite stimulation and potential cancer prevention may be the most common uses for cannabis and its oils, but there are plenty more. We’ve only scratched the surface.
Nevertheless, there was a lot of information in this report that I recommend reading more than once so you can soak it all in.
I recommend filling your mind with information on this topic so you can enlighten others to the benevolent and highly medicinal nature of this plant we’ve been told to fear.
If we let it, the cannabis plant can save us from ourselves. But we need to keep studying, researching and cultivating it before every tree and every bit of oil is gone from the earth.
I wrote the following for the 218th issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.
Income from the guide helps me get by and ensures I can continue to offer free content, and every subscription is appreciated. The option to subscribe is given at the bottom of this post (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).
About Wes Annac:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run The Culture of Awareness, a daily news blog dedicated to raising social and spiritual awareness and supporting the evolution of the planet.
I also have a personal blog, Openhearted Rebel, in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).
I write from the heart and try to share informative and enlightening reading material with the rest of the conscious community. When I’m not writing or exploring nature, I’m usually making music.