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Terpenes May Improve Effectiveness of Medical Marijuana

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Terpenes May Improve Effectiveness of Medical Marijuana

We are reposting this article, originally written by Drake Dorm for MedicalJane, because we think you might want to know how terpenes can affect your experience with marijuana.

Terpenes Influence the Synergy Effect of Cannabis

As we know, science has identified and characterized the molecular structure of around 20,000 terpenes, which makes it the largest category of plant chemicals. These aromatic compounds are found in the essential oils of plants and flowers, and plenty of studies have been done on their effects.

Of the 20,000 identified terpenes, there have been more than 120 found in cannabis. Only a few of them appear in high concentrations, but they have been found to have a number of benefits. A few of these effects are covered in our terpenoid article, but recent research has suggested an “entourage effect” as well. In his 2011 study “Taming THC,” Ethan Russo, from GW Pharmaceuticals, discussed the interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids.

Terpenes May Reduce THC-Induced Anxiety

For years, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was the only cannabinoid investigated for its medicinal value, and we know it has the potential to cause anxiety in some patients. However, certain terpenes in cannabis, like Linalool, have been found to counter the anxiety.

In fact, Russo points out that terpenes likely played a role in a number of ancient antidotes for the less desirable effects of THC. For instance, citrus fruits (high in limonene) were used as a “cannabis antidote” in 10th century Persia. Other ancient antidotes include calamus plant roots and pine nuts (high in pinene), as well as black pepper (high in caryophyllene and myrcene).

Terpenes and Cannabinoids Work Better Together

Terpenoids can be used for more than countering THC-induced anxiety. Russo discussed interactions to treat a number of issues including: paininflammationdepressionaddiction, epilepsy, cancer, and infections.

 Russo believes pinene would be useful in the treatment of MRSA. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a potent MRSA inhibitor, and can be found with small amounts of THC. Because of this Russo suggests a whole-plant extract, high in CBG and pinene, which was found to have its own anti-MRSA qualities in 2010.

Terpenes could also aid in Alzheimer’streatment with cannabidiol (CBD). Linalool, which is prominent in lavender, helps counter stress and anxiety. Limonene is commonly used in aromatherapy to improve mood, and pinene is known to promote alertness and memory retention. Combining these terpenoids with a CBD-rich extract may help treat the wide-ranging effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another interaction that Russo highlighted could have benefits for addiction treatment. An essential oil made from black pepper reduced nicotine cravings in cigarette smokers. Interestingly enough, black pepper essential oils are high in myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene, all of which can be found in cannabis.

Caryophyllene is interesting because it directly stimulates the CB2 receptors throughout the body. As we know, CB2 agonists prevent the release of dopamine, which is related to addiction. This, in combination with the use of CBD for opiate withdrawal, suggests that cannabis with caryophyllene could have a variety of rehabilitative benefits.

terpenoids

Russo, Trichome Technologies Suggest A Focus On Terpenes

In “Taming THC,” Russo focused on the interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids. With that being said, the knowledge is useless without some way to apply it. His solution: selective breeding designed around terpenes. Citing the 2002 study, “The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotype in Cannabis Sativa,” Russo suggested that growers focus on their desired terpenes when breeding.

In fact, Kenneth “K” Morrow, founder of Trichome Technologies, a leading international cannabis consulting company, recently endorsed a similar sentiment during Danny Danko’s cultivation panel at the recent High Times Cannabis Cup. In discussing the topic of terpenes, “K” urged people to tailor their grows towards the production of individual terpenes.

“K”, like multiple growers on online forums, believes that a number of variables (lighting, soil composition, nutrients, etc.) can influence terpene production. If growers are able to influence the production of specific terpenes, they could improve their product’s effectiveness.

Terpenes Can Improve Medical Marijuana, Infused Products

It’s been reported that certain terpenes dilate capillaries in the lungs. Logic tells us that this would be useful in the case of smoked or vaporized cannabis. Dilated capillaries would enable beneficial cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream easier. This certainly could be useful for growers who know how their crops will be ingested, and in the production of cannabis concentrates.

In fact, a number of concentrate makers enhance their finished product with pure terpenes. This is typically done for added flavor, as the more volatile terpenes can be lost during the extraction process. However, infusing concentrates with a specific terpene for added effect would be equally beneficial. For instance, pinene is a bronchodilator, which could benefit asthma patients.

In fact, similar processes already exist. According to Jeff Raber, founder of The Werc Shop, a lab-testing facility in Los Angeles, they are able to infuse concentrates with the terpenes lost. “Based on the terpene-profile of each strain,” he added, “we can recreate as much of the whole plant component as possible.”

One step further, K believes terpene-rich extracts could play a major role in the future of medical marijuana. He points out that some patients might want the terpene-related flavor and relief, without the high from THC.

Another potential application of terpenes could benefit users of medicated topicals. Nerolidol, a sedative terpene, is a known skin penetrant. Therefore, it could aid in cannabinoid absorption if infused in topicals.

The benefits of terpenes are widely recognized, but they just now are being explored by experts in the cannabis industry. As Ethan Russo pointed out, terpenes may influence a number of cannabis’ benefits. Their interaction with cannabinoids often impacts the effectiveness of medical marijuana strains and products, and could be used to facilitate a better overall experience.

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Five Ways Cannabis Affects Sleep

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Five Ways Cannabis Affects Sleep

Medical patients often suffer from not sleeping well. We dug into recent studies to see if cannabis improves sleep. Here are five things you should know:

THC boosts melatonin

The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC has been shown to dramatically increase melatonin production, causing a spike up to four thousand times that of baseline levels. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates circadian rhythm and sleep.

Increase slow-wave sleep

According to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of San Diego, THC increases the third and fourth stages of the sleep cycle, also known as ‘slow-wave sleep’ (SWS). Increased SWS has been linked to an increased reduction of beta-amyloid, the harmful neural protein associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other memory loss conditions.

Reduce REM

While cannabis is known for increasing SWS, it also reduces the fifth phase of sleep, commonly known as rapid eye movement (REM). Less REM means having less dreams, but there is yet to be any evidence of negative effects.

Treat sleep apnea

Cannabis’ sleep-inducing properties are an excellent natural remedy for those suffering from sleep apnea. This helps them to fall and stay asleep easier and with less interruption.

Reduce RBD in Parkinson’s Disease

By using a high-CBD cannabis before bed, you can lessen REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) effects such as tremors, violent movements, and nightmares. High-CBD cannabis has been found to be more effective than Levodopa, a prescription drug commonly prescribed to patients with Parkinson’s and onset-RBD.

More Information

Melatonin and marijuana (Lissoni, P., Resentini, M., and Fraschini, F. “Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on Melatonin Secretion in Man.”)
Cannabinoids for medical use (Journal of American Medical Association)
Effect of drugs on sleep (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
THC effects on sleep & sleep during withdrawal (Europe PMC)
How Cannabis can help RBD in Parkinson’s (Vanwinkles.com)

Has cannabis had an affect on your quality of sleep? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Grow Medicinal Marijuana At Home With A Grow Box

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Grow Medicinal Marijuana At Home With A Grow Box

Growing your own medicinal marijuana is a liberating experience. You control all the variables. You know exactly what is in the bud you are smoking. grow box is a discreet and easy way to grow marijuana indoors at home, freeing yourself from dependence on both doctor and dispensary.

Gain independence with a grow box

A grow box is like a tiny, camouflaged green house. It is a self-contained unit with soil or hydroponic growing medium, lights, filters and pumps. Just add seeds, electricity and voila! You are growing your own medicinal marijuana.

Choose the right marijuana strain for you

There are two important considerations when choosing a strain of medicinal marijuana to grow yourself:

Your Medical Requirements – Are you looking for a powerful sedative effect to help with your insomnia or a functional day-time smoke to relieve pain and lighten anxiety?

Your Growing Space – Choose small, bushy strains like Indica or hybrid seeds instead of a tall, leggy Sativa. For your first grow an auto-flowering marijuana variety is the best choice because they require very little care or expertise.

Grow enough marijuana to meet your needs

Grow boxes are available in all sizes. Several surveys in the UK, Canada and the US suggest that most medicinal marijuana patients use 1-3 grams per day, or about 2 ½ pounds per year.

Even the tiny PC Grow Box, which holds just two small plants, can produce two pounds of dried bud per year. The compact SuperBox allows you to grow 8 plants at once with annual yields of 7 pounds or more.

Grow your medicinal marijuana under lights

Marijuana grows best under lights that mimic natural sunlight. There are three common types of grow lights used in the cultivation of marijuana:

  • Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
  • High Intensity Discharge Lights (HIDs)
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Most grow boxes use either CFL or full spectrum LED grow lights. HIDs don’t work well in the enclosed space of a grow box because they get too hot.

While you can grow small amounts of marijuana successfully using CFLs, high quality LED grow lights save electricity and produce the highest yields.

Obtain higher yields using hydroponics

A hydroponic system doesn’t use soil. Growing hydroponic marijuana is not as complex as it may sound.

Many grow boxes come with a simple hydroponic system already set-up. You simply add nutrients, which often come with the grow box, and water. You can even choose to grow marijuana with organic nutrients.

Grow marijuana naturally in soil

Some people prefer to grow marijuana as naturally as possible. The Earth Cab grow box series is one style of grow box designed for soil.

Grow a continuous supply of medicinal marijuana

Once you get started you don’t need new seeds for each growing cycle. You can propagate new marijuana plants by taking cuttings, called clones, of your favorite existing plant.

A dual chamber grow box has a special space for making clones. These grow boxes allow you to produce a constant supply of fresh buds.

Find the perfect grow box for your situation

For the many medicinal growers discretion is essential. Look for a specially designed stealth grow box.

You can also choose a fully automated grow box that allows you to leave town for two weeks and come home to healthy plants.

Use this detailed review of the best grow boxes of 2015 to find the perfect set-up for you.

Grow medicinal marijuana at home with a grow box

Are you considering growing at home? Let us know why in the comments below!

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How Edibles Are Made

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How Edibles Are Made

Since there are so many manufacturers throughout the US, cannabis-infused foods are produced in a variety of different ways. Read up on how your favorite edibles are made and learn how to make your own medicinal treats:

They’re usually made with trim

Trim contains the leftover leaf matter from the cannabis flower that growers usually throw away. It’s less potent than bud, but it’s full of trichomes and can be used in large quantities to produce a stronger effect.

Cannabis is decarboxylated

Decarboxylation activates THC and other cannabinoids to result in a more potent product. To achieve this, cannabis needs to be heated either through smoking, vaping, or baking. The flower is typically cooked for a long time over low heat before it’s used to make edibles. Eating raw cannabis won’t have a very strong effect, and it won’t taste good.

Cannabinoids are extracted

Edibles are infused with highly concentrated cannabis extracts. Depending on the extraction method, edibles can contain either tinctures, canna oil, or cannabutter. If you’re wondering how a specific edible was made, ask your budtender or contact the manufacturer.

Canna oil and cannabutter are common

THC is fat soluble, so cannabis is often cooked with oil or butter. When heated, the activated cannabinoids absorb into these ingredients. Check out this recipe for cannabis cooking oil and this one for cannabis-infused butter. Or try making cannabis coconut oil.

Tinctures are used in hard candies

Some edibles don’t go through a baking or cooking process, so tinctures are added instead of flower. Tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts made from a solvent like alcohol, vinegar, or glycerol. Rather than passing through the digestive system like cannabinoids in most edibles, these are absorbed by the body and can result in a quicker effect.

Have you ever made your own edibles? Tell us in the comments below.

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