High there! You know it’s 4/20 so I had to do it. 🙂 Seriously, though, what are your thoughts on marijuana for medical use? What about recreational use? Did you know there are many cannabis health benefits and it is now widely used by many patients to help with various health conditions?
If you were to ask me about two years ago if I “celebrated” 4/20 (also known as “Weed Day”), I probably would have laughed and quickly said, “No way!” But here I am– writing an article about medical and recreational marijuana in honor of 4/20!
For about a year now, I have been researching cannabis because I am considering getting my medical marijuana card. I even shared my decision with my mom and she surprisingly said she’s not against it. We were talking on the phone the other day about it and we both agreed it’s amazing how far the cannabis industry has come over the years.
In fact, when I was a teenager, I remember hearing more about marijuana being used for recreation. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I started to hear people talk about using it for medical reasons.
With more research being conducted on marijuana, more and more people are starting to see the health benefits of using marijuana.
WHAT IS A MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROVISIONING CENTER?
Medical marijuana provisioning centers can now be found in many cities across the country. In Detroit alone, there are over 10 legal, licensed provisioning centers. You can find a list of provisioning centers at the Licensed and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website here.
A medical marijuana provisioning center is also called a dispensary. According to Weed Maps, a dispensary is “where marihuana is sold to registered medical cannabis patients or primary caregivers. Michigan state law stipulates the use of the term as well as the spelling of marihuana in reference to its law.”
To learn more about the health benefits of cannabis, I connected with Sabina Lone, a compliance manager at BotaniQ provisioning center in Detroit.
Co-owned by Anquenette “Q” Sarfoh, the medical marijuana provisioning center opened its doors in Corktown in the fall of last year. Q is also an advocate for medical marijuana. In 2013 she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and uses cannabis to manage her MS symptoms.
According to BotaniQ’s website, after Q made changes to her diet and used cannabis for managing her MS symptoms, “she went from taking nine pharmaceuticals a day to no longer taking any.”
Last weekend, Sabina invited me to take a tour of BotaniQ and I have to say, I was very impressed! Before I arrived at the provisioning center, I didn’t know what to expect.
When I walked into the center, I loved the decor and chill atmosphere. The staff was very friendly and helpful with any questions I had about medical marijuana.
SABINA– CANNABIS ADVOCATE
Sabina is also a medical marijuana cardholder and she uses cannabis to help with her medical conditions. She told me cannabis also helps her with sleep and anxiety.
About 10 years ago, Sabina discovered marijuana when she was in medical school. She wanted to find more natural ways for her medical needs and to help other people. Although she is not a medical physician now, she extensively researched and studied the health benefits of cannabis.
Soon Sabina became an advocate for medical marijuana. “I knew from all my experience and studying that this was medicine,” Sabina explained to me. “There’s no way that you can deny that cannabis is not medicine.”
CANNABIS HEALTH BENEFITS
One very significant health benefit of cannabis is it can be an alternative to opiate and pain medication usage. “Because of the opiate crisis and pain pill crisis, I think a lot of people can benefit from [medical marijuana],” Sabina said.
I read an article by Dr. Peter Grinspoon, contributing editor for Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School, and in his article, he states the most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is pain control.
“While marijuana isn’t strong enough for severe pain (for example, post-surgical pain or a broken bone), it is quite effective for the chronic pain that plagues millions of Americans, especially as they age. Part of its allure is that it is clearly safer than opiates (it is impossible to overdose on and far less addictive) and it can take the place of NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve, if people can’t take them due to problems with their kidneys or ulcers or GERD.”“Medical Marijuana” by Peter Grinspoon, MD
Dr. Grinspoon’s lists a few other ways patients have said medical marijuana has helped with their medical condition or illness.
- ease the pain of MS
- ease nerve pain
- muscle relaxant
- lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease
- manage nausea and weight loss
- treat glaucoma
- help PTSD patients, particularly military veterans
You can read more of Dr. Grinspoon’s article here if you like. He shares the advice he’d give patients who are considering using for cannabis health benefits and the advice he’d give doctors whose patients ask them about using cannabis as a remedy.
CANNABIS CAN HELP PATIENTS WITH VARIOUS HEALTH CONDITIONS AND ILLNESSES
Something else that really opened my eyes to the cannabis health benefits is how it is helping patients who have various medical conditions and illnesses.
“I would say epilepsy is really big, especially with the CBD,” Sabina told me. “[Marijuana is] preventing seizures in people– in kids especially. It’s one of the few medications that’s decreasing or completely stopping seizures.”
Cancer patients can also find some relief in using medical marijuana. “It is decreasing the sizes of tumors,” Sabina explained. “It is helping patients with appetite stimulation and sleep and nausea, especially those who continue to use both chemotherapy and radiation.”
According to the State of Michigan, the medical conditions listed below qualify for the medical use of marijuana:
- HIV Positive
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Scierosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Nail Patella
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Tourette’s Disease
- Chronic Pain
- Cerebral Palsy
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces 1 or more of the following:
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Severe and Chronic Pain
- Severe Nausea
- Seizures (including but not limited to those characteristics of epilepsy)
- Severe and Persistent Muscle Spasms (including but not limited to those characteristic of MS)
MEDICAL VS RECREATIONAL USE OF CANNABIS
On December 6, 2018, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act went into effect. The new recreational marijuana law made it legal for people over the age of 21 to smoke marijuana.
However, there are some stipulations to the recreational marijuana law. For instance, you can legally smoke marijuana, but you can’t buy it. Only medical marijuana cardholders can legally buy marijuana.
Here’s an article from Michigan Radio which lists 5 things you need to know about Michigan’s new recreational marijuana law.
Sabina told me it’s going to take about a year for the new law to be enacted. The reason is that lawmakers have to come up with rules and regulations for the recreation use of smoking marijuana. There will be different rules and regulations for recreational use.
Here are a few differences Sabina shared with me:
- She thinks the recreational limit will differ from the limit of marijuana medical cardholders are allowed to have.
- Age will be another difference. Medical cardholders need to be at least 18-years-old, whereas non-cardholders need to be at least 21.
- Another difference Sabina thinks will be what items you can purchase and how much of the times you can purchase for recreational use.
- Business owners who want to sell marijuana for recreation use must have two years of experience running a medical provisioning center.
To learn more about Michigan’s recreational marijuana law, click here to read more from the state’s official website.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO JUST SMOKE CANNABIS!
To my surprise, I learned there are many different ways to consume cannabis. For instance, there are edibles in the form of candy and desserts. You can also cook it in your food!
“Anything you can think of as a dessert, they pretty much have as an edible,” Sabina explained. “There’s even things like lollipops and hard candies. People seem to like the gummies the best. I think the gummies are the most popular.”
A few ways you can use cannabis:
- bath bombs
- tinctures such as CBD oil
- edibles such as gummies, chocolate, cookies, brownies, lollipops, and other hard candy
- trans-thermal patches
- vape pens
- capsule made with coconut oil
There are so many more ways one can consume cannabis and use it in different forms! I even learned that not all methods of using cannabis will give you a “head high” or have a psychoactive effect.
For instance, bath bombs that contain marijuana in it are used to help manage pain. The effects of using the bath bomb will calm the body and give pain relief, but it does not make you feel high.
EDUCATION ON MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE IS KEY
Sabina believes education about the recreational use of cannabis is important, especially for young people. “I think there’s going to be a need for education in the healthcare facilities,” she explained, “even in schools because they need to understand it’s going to be more prevalent and kids are going to have it.”
For example, some of the marijuana edibles look like candy and desserts. It’s important for parents to keep edibles locked up and out of reach of children. Although you can’t overdose on cannabis, Sabina says if a person consumes too much marijuana “it can cause some uncomfortable adverse effects like an increase in heart rate or dizziness, even vomiting.”
Thankfully, professional staff members at medical marijuana provisioning centers are willing to help clients with any concerns or questions they have. At BotaniQ, for instance, a staff member will guide a patient with their marijuana needs.
They teach the patients what dosage is recommended for their medical need, such as for managing pain or PTSD symptoms. Clients don’t have to worry about feeling confused or overwhelmed because a staff member will help them.
When we take the time to learn more about cannabis and the health benefits of using it, then we can clear up any misconceptions we may have. Just from my personal research alone, I have learned valuable information about cannabis. It has definitely changed my perception of marijuana usage for medical and recreational needs.
The important thing to remember is we must keep an open mind and be willing to learn more about cannabis health benefits. Just as Sabina said to me, it’s important to educate ourselves on the reasons why people choose to use cannabis AND the proper way to use it, whether it’s for medical or recreational reasons.
Hopefully, as more research is conducted and more cannabis advocates continue to speak out, more citizens and lawmakers will adopt a positive viewpoint on marijuana usage.
If you’re celebrating 4/20 today, have fun and be safe!
What are your thoughts?
Do you think marijuana should be legal in all 50 states for medical and recreational use?
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ALL IMAGES WERE TAKEN AT BOTANIQ DETROIT BY JENNIFER HAMRA FOR GOOD LIFE DETROIT.