In Arizona, a patient must be diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” in order to participate in the medical marijuana program? The list of qualifying conditions is listed below.
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
- Severe and chronic pain;
- Severe nausea;
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
Medical marijuana refers to various forms of marijuana that are used medicinally for the treatment of specific symptoms and medical conditions.
Marijuana originates from the Cannabis plant, which flowers annually. Marijuana is produced by harvesting, drying, curing, and trimming the dried flower buds of flowering female Cannabis plants. High quality marijuana is not produced from the leaves, which are trimmed away from the flower bud.
CANNABIS PLANT SPECIES
The two Cannabis plant species that are used to produce marijuana are the Cannabis Sativa plant and the Cannabis Indica plant. Each species offers a different sensory experience and taste or smell. Medical marijuana is available in pure sativa strains, pure indica strains, or “hybrid” strains that include varying amounts of both sativa and indica.
Cannabis Sativa is a tall, slow to grow and mature plant that typically has long thin leaves. Sativa flower buds are long and thin and turn red as they mature in a warm environment. In cooler environments, the buds may be slightly purple. Sativa plants smell sweet and fruity and the smoke is generally quite mild.
The Cannabis Sativa medicating effect is often characterized as uplifting and energetic, and is mostly cerebral. Sativa users typically experience a feeling of optimism and wellbeing, as well as a good measure of pain relief for certain symptoms. A few pure Sativas are also very high in THC content and are known to have a hallucinogenic effect. Sativas and Sativa-dominant hybrids are often a good choice for daytime medication. Conditions and symptoms that Sativas typically provide the most relief for are: Psychoactive Conditions, Social Anxiety, Mild Depression, fatigue and more.
Cannabis Indica is short to moderate in height with leaves that are generally dark green, and sometimes tinged with purple. Indica is a strong smelling plant with a “stinky” or “skunky” smell. The Indica medicating effect is most often described as a pleasant body relaxant. Indicas are great for stress relief, and for an overall sense of calm and serenity. Cannabis Indicas are also very effective for overall body pain relief, and often used in the treatment of insomnia. They are the late evening choice of many patients as an all-night sleep aid.
Conditions that Sativas typically provide the most relief for are: Pain Relief, Sedation, Anxiety, Neuropathy/Neuralgia, Menstrual Cramps, PMS, Glaucoma, Muscle Cramps, Muscle Spasms, Asthma, AIDS, Epilepsy, IBS, Gastric Disorders, Arthritis (Osteo & Rheumatoid), Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Crohn’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, ALS, Migraines, Hyperactivity, Insomnia, ADD and more.
In addition to pure Cannabis Sativa and Indica plants, thousands of different types of hybrid plants are in existence. Hybrids typically fall into two different groups: Indica-Sativa (I/S) or Sativa-Indica (S/I), the first plant strain of the title generally being the dominant of the two. The goal of hybrid strains is to combine characteristics of each strain to minimize some of the unwanted effects of one while adding the desired effects of the other. For instance, Indica-dominant hybrids are effective for pain relief with the Sativa component allowing the patient to maintain energy and activity levels. Sativa-dominant strains are good for stimulating appetite, with the Indica component helping to reduce body pain and increase relaxation.
METHODS OF CONSUMPTION
Medical marijuana can be ingested in many different ways. Effects may vary slightly with different methods of consumption. The length of time it takes for the medicine to take effect, and the length of time that the medicine remains effective, can vary greatly with different methods of consumption.
According to Americans for Safe Access (www. safeaccessnow.org), marijuana vaporizers are designed to let users inhale active cannabinoids while avoiding smoke. Vaporizers work by heating the marijuana to a temperature just below the point of combustion, the point at which smoke is produced. When the marijuana is properly heated, THC and other cannabinoids are emitted in the form of a vapor.
Marijuana can be eaten, although usually in the form of baked goods like cookies or in candy-like products since THC and other cannabinoids are more efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream when combined with butter and other lipids. The time to onset of effects depends strongly on stomach content, but is usually 1 to 2 hours, and may continue for a considerable length of time, whereas the effects of smoking marijuana are almost immediate, lasting a shorter length of time.
The most common forms of edibles are treats, such as cookies, brownies, cakes, or candies.