Marijuana Basics: What is Cannabis?
When it comes to people who smoke marijuana, either medically or recreationally, the terms cannabis and marijuana, also called marajuana or marihuana, are often used interchangeably. Though this is common practice and by no means incorrect, the term cannabis is used to refer the genus of the marijuana plant. So, what is cannabis?
There are literally thousands of varieties of marijuana, but they all fit into either Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica or Cannabis ruderalis. The varieties, or strains, that fall under the sativa category tend to have higher levels of the chemical Cannabinoid, which is further broken down into three groups. The indica varieties of the marijuana plant are higher in THC as a general rule. The third type, Cannabis ruderalis is much shorter than the other types and has less popularity since it has lower THC levels than other varieties of the plant.
In terms of usage of the cannabis plant, it is specifically the flowers, or buds, that are most commonly smoked. New consumption methods are making their way onto the scene every day. Many are gaining popularity in the medical field because of the ability to more easily regulate the dosage and effects.
Doctors, scientists, and other researchers have been exploring the pros and cons of prescribing THC pills which are often synthesized in a lab. More research is now indicating that certain cancers, headaches, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and pain can now be treated with THC pills. The pill form of THC provides a way for chemicals to enter the bloodstream and provide potent treatment. The pills also provide an alternative solution for patients who cannot smoke it or choose not to smoke it.
Not all doctors agree that THC in pill form is the best way to administer cannabis as a medication. A recent study showed that while smoking marijuana (or vaporizing it), patients experienced full potency in 15 minutes. With the pill, many did not feel relief for upwards of an hour. When smoking marijuana, patients also have the ability to self-adjust, smoking more or less marijuana as needed.
In addition to smoking marijuana as a plant and using THC pill forms, many people are turning to cannabis oil, aka hash oil, as a method of getting THC into their system. Cannabis oil is derived from female marijuana plants. It is a thick substance created by using a solvent extraction process which separates the resins from the marijuana flowers. Cannabis oil has extra antioxidant properties making it a beneficial treatment of autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases and more.
When compared to either the cannabis flower or hashish, cannabis oil is by far the most potent. This is because, during the extraction process, the chemicals in the cannabis plant are concentrated. There are many recipes for cannabis oil extraction and unless you are purchasing it from a reputable MMJ dispensary, it is the best way to make sure that there is enough THC and Cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic illnesses to be effective.