As medical marijuana becomes more and more accepted in today’s society, professional marijuana caregivers are in high demand and the truth is growing medical weed with the intent of treating patients takes a lot more than planting a seed and giving it sunlight and water.
Choosing which strain to grow is first and foremost.
Medical marijuana is based on two different species- indica and sativa.
“For the most part indica strains provide more of a body high that’s good for pain relief and sativa strains are good for relaxation and conditions that affect the mind like anxiety or insomnia,” said Andres Aguirre, a manager at Parc Dispensary in Tempe, Ariz. “It is required we label the strain a customer is buying on the packaging so they always know what they’re getting.”
The strains found at a legal dispensary versus strains found off the street make all the difference. The growers are responsible for not only growing decent looking buds, but also ensuring that patients receive the highest quality care through the content they put into the plants. Remember this word: cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are the secret ingredient that makes marijuana medical.
“These are the chemicals in marijuana that cause the drug like effects all over your body, like the nervous system and immune system,” said Aguirre.
Within these hybrids are the two main active cannabinoids in marijuana: Delta-9-THC and cannabidiol (CBD). These are what are responsible for the “medicinal” part of marijuana.
According to the National Cancer Institute, these chemicals found in medical marijuana are useful in treating the side effects of cancer, blocking cell growth, anti- inflammatory activity, relieving muscle spasms and antiviral activity.
It all comes down to genetics and science.
“It’s insane how now patients can choose what flavor they want or what potency they want,” said Tyler Mielke, a medical marijuana cardholder in Arizona for chronic pain in his knee following an ACL injury. “If you want slow, gradual relief with a fruity taste, they have it. If you need fast relief they have that.”
This is because different hybrids of indica and sativa have been crafted so each hybrid can cater to a different specific need and dispensaries all across the United States have it down to a science.
For example, people who deal with chronic pain but still must work all day for a living would lean towards a hybrid of the two, which would result in fighting pain but not causing drowsiness.
“By being able to experiment with a pretty much endless amount of combinations, growers make new strains all the time and old classic strains that people seem to always come back for can be made more and more potent,” said Aguirre.
When asked on the difference of quality of marijuana between dispensaries and off the street, Mielke’s answer was without hesitation.
“It’s light-years beyond weed you’d buy from a dealer. It’s consistent, it’s regulated and it’s grown by professionals who do it for a living.”
Of course there are those who abuse the system and use medical marijuana for recreational purposes but for most medical marijuana cardholders suffering from anxiety, cancer, chronic pain and more, the cannabis they receive at dispensaries provides a necessary alternative to prescription pills.
“Even after having my ACL injury repaired through surgery, long term healing and physical therapy, I still have pain in my knee,” said Mielke. “The choice between continued use of pain medication or medical marijuana was a no brainer.”
Elisabeth is a caring, dog crazed bookworm. When not swamped with school, she enjoys traveling to new places, working at dog day cares or pestering people to give her new books to read.