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Medical Marijuana Basics Part 2

May 26, 2020

The Basics

Another chemical compound found in the cannabis plant is known as cannabidiol or CBD.  CBD has seen a massive uptick in popularity because it delivers medical benefits without any of the psychoactive properties associated with THC.  In fact, CBD does not bind to CB1 receptors, which is where psychoactive effects are triggered, and can actually mute some of the effects of THC itself.  CBD stimulates receptors that are responsible for diminishing pain, helping alleviate inflammation, as well as regulating oxygen, blood flow and dopamine levels.  Additionally, studies have shown that CBD has also been found to slow down serotonin receptor signals, thus acting for some as an antidepressant.

Cannabis gets its intense aroma and flavor from over 120 terpenes.  Terpenes are pungent oils produced in the trichomes to seduce pollinators and keep away predators.  All plants that produce an aroma contain terpenes.  More commonly recognizable terpenes are found in coniferous trees as well as citrus fruits.  When cannabis flowers are dried and cured, oxidation converts terpenes into terpenoids which interact with cannabinoids in the human body to modulate the effects of THC and regulate both dopamine and serotonin.  The more that is learned about terpenes the more important they have become in the treatment of medical conditions.  Scientists are studying terpenes in order to treat pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and fungal and bacterial infections.

The people that grow cannabis have as many ways for processing the plant as the plant has cultivars.  Just like every corn farmer swears his secret method is the best, cannabis farmers are no different.  However, they all cover the same common ground.  Cannabis should be dried and cured so that it retains enough moisture to enjoy but is not so wet that it allows for the growth of mold.  Proper curing, which is dependent on the plant’s genetics and environment, enhances and preserves the plant’s aroma, flavor, and potency.  As a general rule, cannabis plants are ready to be harvested when the trichomes turn cloudy white and the leaves start fading and take on autumnal hues.  Cannabis should be harvested in the morning because certain terpenes evaporate when the sun rises fully.  Once the cannabis plants are harvested, the fan leaves are removed for juicing and cooking.  Then, the branches are hung on a clothesline upside down to dry for between four and ten days, depending on the climate.  When the stems are almost hard enough to snap but the flowers will not yet crumble to the touch the plants are ready to trim and cure.  Trimming is the process by which the flowers and their sticky trichomes are brought forth to be used.  Good, old fashioned mason jars with airtight lids tend to be the best storage for cannabis flowers.  As long as they are stored away from light, heat, moisture and airflow, cannabis flower should keep for a year or more in a jar with a tight seal.  Some companies market wooden boxes, similar to humidors for cigars, however this is not a necessity and a strong mason jar is capable of getting the job done for a fraction of the cost.

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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