Cannabis was first used by ancient civilizations in spiritual and religious rituals as a medicinal plant. Research indicates that the first cannabis plants originated from Central Asia, specifically Mongolila and southern Siberia.

Records indicate humans in ancient civilizations used cannabis several different ways, including:

  • Burning and inhaling the smoke
  • Crushing it and mixing with other herbs
    • mixtures were made into poultices, salves, and ointments
  • Cooling it and creating tonics and beverages

Medicinal Cannabis

Medicinal cannabis is usually made from the flower of the female plant.

Cannabis Overdose

A lethal overdose specifically and directly from cannabis is unlikely. This is largely because cannabis does not affect the parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, or body temperature. Typically, receptors in the brain react to cannabis by creating a psychotropic high. However, impaired judgement that is connected with a psychotropic high could cause a person to partake in actions that could be harmful.

Cannabis Strains

Cannabis cultivars grown for medicinal or recreational use are often referred to as ‘strains’. Popular strains of cannabis include Charlotte’s Web, Gorilla Glue, Northern Lights, Sour Diesel, Snow White, and Kush. Different strains of cannabis have been cultivated to contain specific chemical makeups and potencies. This is important because knowing the strain you are purchasing will help you anticipate the effects. When choosing a strain, pay particular attention to the cannabinoids within them. Most strains at minimal, have a mix of CBD, THC, CBDV, CBG, CBN and CBC. THC produces an altered state of mind, often described as a ‘high’. CBD and other cannabinoids affect and can protect your brain without causing an altered state of mind.

Cannabis Indica vs Cannabis Ruderalis vs Cannabis Sativa

Strains are often mixed and described as ‘indica dominant’ or ‘sativa dominant’. Producers mix strains to find unique qualities and to distinguish the effects of their products from competitors. Note: Cannabis ruderalis contains low amounts of THC and resins. Currently, researchers are disputing whether it is a unique plant, or a version of Cannabis sativa.

  • Growing time
    • Cannabis indica typically mature between 8 to 12 weeks.
      • Given the shorter growing time, Cannabis indica plants are sometimes more numerous at legal cannabis dispensaries.
    • Cannabis sativa plants take longer to grow, maturing between 10 to 16 weeks.
  • Height
    • Cannabis indica plants typically grow 3 to 4 feet tall and have broad leaves and dense flower clusters.
    • Cannabis sativa grows up to 20 feet tall, with thinner, serrated leaves.
  • Body reactions
    • Indica dominant strains typically create a sense of calm and are more likely used to relieve anxiety, reduce chronic pain, and as a sleep aid.
    • Sativa dominant strains typically acts as a stimulant and create a sense of alertness or and increase in productivity.

Talk with your doctor about medicinal cannabis

Before purchasing medicinal cannabis, talk with your doctor and make sure medicinal cannabis is a good option for you. If your doctor decides that cannabis is an option, ask lots of questions and ask for recommendations on which strains, dosage, and how frequent you should take it.

Storing cannabis securely at home

Treat cannabis as you would treat any prescription or over-the-counter drug, alcohol, cleaning product, or any other substance that can be toxic to children and pets. Cannabis should not be accessible to children regardless of age. Keep it out of their reach and in a safe, secure (locked) location.

Cannabis flower is kept fresh in airtight containers that keep out light. A metal box or a colored glass jar or bottle should be sufficient. If the airtight container is not lockable, store it in the airtight container and then place the airtight container in a lockable box.

Cannabis concentrates and tinctures will degrade over time. It is important to keep them in the container or bottle they came in. Storing concentrates and tinctures in their original containers AND a lockable box is recommended. They degrade slowly when placed in a cool, dry place.

Cannabis edibles are usually best consumed within a week or two of purchase. Usually edibles are kept in the refrigerator. Make sure that edibles are properly labeled and stored in a childproof container.

Questions to ask when purchasing medicinal cannabis

  • Is it pesticide free?
    • Was it grown without the use of pesticides?
  • Is it free of heavy metals?
    • This is especially important when purchasing hemp.
  • What is the ratio of THC to CBD and other cannabinoids?
  • Is it THC dominant?

Use the Medicinal Cannabis Usage log to record your body’s responses to cannabis. Share this with your doctor.

Print the log here.

An important note from Self-treatment can be dangerous and put your health at risk, so be sure to include your doctor in your decisions.

MamasHealth acknowledges that research on CBD and cannabis and the effects of CBD and cannabis on the endocannabinoid system are rapidly evolving and the range of possible findings remains wide. MamasHealth makes no claims that CBD and cannabis products are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and recommends all individuals consult with their health care professionals prior to using CBD or cannabis