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Medical Cannabis Products

medical cannabis extracts in open jars - various kinds

Author

Dr. George Stantchev
Dr. George Stantchev

PHD, MBA, MSEE, Entrepreneur and CEO of most innovative extraction technology company.

What is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is a form of treatment that uses the cannabis plant or its extracts to alleviate symptoms of certain medical conditions. Cannabis contains several compounds called cannabinoids, which have therapeutic effects on the body. The two most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects and is known for its potential therapeutic benefits. Medical cannabis has been found to be effective in treating conditions such as chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms, seizures, and other conditions. However, it is important to note that the use of medical cannabis is still controversial and regulated differently in different countries and states.

Medical cannabis extracts are refined products where the essential oils and active compounds are separated from the raw cannabis plant. These extracts are highly concentrated, meaning that even a small amount can have a potent and long-lasting effect.

Cannabis extracts are a type of concentrate obtained from cannabis through chemical or mechanical extraction methods. During the extraction process, force, solvent or other compound is used to pull out the plant’s active ingredients.

Traditional solvent cannabis extraction products consist of three main components:

  • Solute: The substance that gets dissolved, in this case, cannabis.
  • Solvent: The liquid substance that dissolves the liquid.
  • Solution: The final substance, which is a combination of the solute and solvent.

Medical cannabis extracts contain high levels of cannabinoids like CBD and THC, much higher by weight than dry cannabis flowers, leaves, or stems. They are pure, potent, and more bioavailable, especially when taken in tincture form.

Various methods are used for extracting medical cannabis, including butane extraction, ethanol extraction, carbon dioxide extraction, dry sifting, ice water extraction, rosin pressing, and aerosol extraction. Currently, using aerosol extraction is considered the newest and most cost-effective and convenient method for medicinal cannabis extraction.

Importance of the extracts

Extracts’ importance can vary depending on the context in which they are used. In the culinary world, extracts are often used to add flavor to dishes or baked goods, while in the beauty industry, they are used for their potential skincare benefits. In the realm of science, extracts can be used to isolate and study specific compounds or molecules, leading to advancements in various fields such as medicine and agriculture. Overall, extracts can play a significant role in many different industries and applications.

A banner with hemp leaves and text highlighting the benefits of medical cannabis The therapeutic importance of medical cannabis extracts lies in their ability to provide relief from pain, muscle spasms, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and anorexia. They also contribute to immune function, neuroplasticity, emotional regulation, vascular health, and digestive function.

As the cannabis industry shifts from a black market to a legal one, there is a growing focus on product development and extraction methods. 

Medical cannabis extracts offer consistent and accurate dosing, which is crucial for medical use. Both THC and CBD are effective in alleviating pain, making cannabis concentrates and extracts popular among those with chronic pain.

In conclusion, medical cannabis extracts play a vital role in medicinal therapy due to their potent and therapeutic properties. However, further research is needed to optimize drying and extraction methods. It’s also important to develop environmentally friendly and sustainable extraction techniques for the future.

Understanding Medical Cannabis Extracts

Types of Medical Cannabis Extracts

A picture comparing the different spectrums of medical cannabis extractsMedical cannabis extracts are concentrated derivatives obtained from the cannabis plant. They are used to treat specific symptoms or diseases. The terms cannabis and marijuana are often used interchangeably to describe the drug isolated from the plant’s leaves and flowers. There are 3 main types of extracts: full-spectrum extracts, broad spectrum extracts, and isolates. Full-spectrum extracts contain all active compounds from the cannabis plant. Broad-spectrum extracts are similar to full-spectrum but without THC, offering a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes.  Isolates focus on one specific compound, like THC or CBD, extracted in pure form.

Extraction Methods

Extraction methods are important for making cannabis extracts. There are two main ways to extract cannabinoids from cannabis: solvent-based extraction and mechanical (solventless) extraction. Solvent-based extraction uses chemicals to dissolve the trichomes from the plant material. This method is common in cannabis processing. While solventless and hydrodynamic extraction methods are known for their high yield and feasibility, more research is needed in these areas.

Active Compounds in the Cannabis Extracts

The main active compounds in cannabis extracts are Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the part that makes you feel high, while CBD offers health benefits without the high. Both compounds interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, but they have different effects on your body and mind.

Chemical formulas of CBD and THC

Application of medical cannabis extracts

1. Pain Management

Medical cannabis shows promise in managing chronic nonmalignant pain by improving pain scores and quality of life. The primary compound in medical cannabis, CBD, may also help suppress neuropathic and inflammatory pain. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and safety.

2. Neurological Disorders

Different types of brain waves
  • Epilepsy: CBD, a component of cannabis, has FDA approval for treating rare forms of epilepsy and has demonstrated a reduction in seizure frequency.
Picture of a human brain and brain related to CBD usage.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Cannabis has potential benefits in MS, including immunosuppressive, analgesic, neuroprotective, and remyelinative effects. However, further research is needed to confirm these effects.
Picture of human neurological system, explaining potential benefits of medical cannabis

3. Mental Health Disorders

  • Anxiety: Medical cannabis, particularly CBD, shows potential in reducing anxiety symptoms. However, THC can have varying effects on anxiety depending on the dose, administration method, and individual factors.
  • Depression: Current research does not support the use of high-THC therapeutics for treating depression.

4. Digestive Disorders

Diagrams of Crohn’s disease and colitis ulcerosa
  • Crohn’s Disease: Anecdotal reports suggest cannabis can improve symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss in Crohn’s disease patients. However, there is no evidence that medical cannabis reduces inflammation or improves disease activity in IBD.
  • Nausea: Medical cannabis can alleviate nausea associated with cancer or chemotherapy treatment.

5. Other Potential Applications

Cannabis extracts may have uses in treating conditions like glaucoma and asthma. Additionally, there are suggestions for its industrial applications, such as microbial control in cleaners and sanitizers. However, more research is needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of these applications.

Benefits of using medical cannabis extracts

1. Potency and Bioavailability

Medical cannabis extracts are highly potent and offer precise dosing with rapid effects. Solvent-based products are particularly potent, with THC levels averaging between 54-69% and sometimes exceeding 80%. Non-solvent-based extraction methods yield THC levels ranging from 39-60%. The bioavailability of cannabinoids like THC and CBD varies depending on the method of ingestion. When swallowed, bioavailability ranges from 4% to 20%, but sublingual administration increases it to 40% to 50%.

Picture if THC and CBD chemical formulas in medical cannabis extracts and hemp leaves on background

2. Versatility in Usage

Medical cannabis extracts are available in various forms, including edibles, topicals, and tinctures. 

  • Edibles are foods or drinks infused with cannabis and can contain non-psychoactive CBD for easier digestion.
  • Topicals, such as balms or lotions, are applied directly to the skin for localized relief of discomfort or inflammation. 
  • Tinctures are liquid extracts of cannabis that can be taken orally under the tongue or added to food or drinks for quick relief.
  • Vapes, or vaporizers, heat cannabis to a temperature that releases its active compounds into a vapor, which is then inhaled. Vaping is often favored for its rapid onset of effects and because it’s considered less harmful than smoking.
  • Raw extracts, also known as concentrates, are highly potent forms of cannabis that have been extracted to keep only the most desirable plant compounds (primarily terpenes & cannabinoids), while removing excess plant material and other impurities. They come in various forms like oil, wax, and shatter, and are often used for severe pain and other serious conditions due to their high potency.

3. Controlled Dosing

A picture of extracts produced from cannabis for medical purposes.Medical cannabis extracts allow for precise dosing, which is essential for medical use. Patients can start with a small dose of a CBD-dominant strain and gradually increase every 2–3 days up to a certain limit. Clinicians may then consider adding THC and titrating it until reaching a maximum daily dose. This controlled dosing approach enables fine-tuning of treatment, ensuring safety and effectiveness.

Challenges and Considerations

The use of cannabis extracts faces several challenges and considerations. As cannabis transitions from an illegal to a legal market, there’s a focus on improving product development and extraction methods. A pill with a cannabis leaf on it.However, laws vary widely, affecting how patients access cannabis, how healthcare providers prescribe it, and rules on distribution and possession. Safety is also a concern, as cannabis extracts can cause side effects like dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. Regular use may also increase the risk of mental health issues. More research is needed to understand the effects of minor cannabinoids on the body, develop sustainable extraction methods, and explore the role of the endocannabinoid system in skin health. Despite these challenges, interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis extracts remains strong.

Conclusion

A picture of a cannabis leaf and small icons around it highlighting the potential things to consider about using cannabis extracts for medical purposes.In conclusion, the importance and potential of medical cannabis extracts cannot be overstated. These extracts have shown promising results in various therapeutic applications, offering hope for numerous medical conditions. However, despite the significant strides made in this field, there is still much to be understood. The complexities of cannabis extracts, their interactions with the human body, and their potential side effects necessitate further research. Therefore, it is a call to action for researchers, medical professionals, and policymakers to invest more in understanding cannabis extracts. This will not only ensure safety and efficacy but also unlock the full potential of these extracts, paving the way for new breakthroughs in medical science.

FAQs

What is the difference between THC and CBD in medical cannabis?

Psychoactive effects are produced by THC, while CBD offers therapeutic benefits without the associated high. At PURE5™, we focus on extracting and preserving these beneficial cannabinoids for various medical applications.

Are there potential side effects of using medical cannabis extracts?

Common side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. However, the effects can vary based on individual tolerance and dosage. PURE5™ prioritizes quality and safety in our extraction processes to minimize adverse effects.

Is medical cannabis legal everywhere?

Regulations regarding medical cannabis vary by region. Some countries have legalized medical cannabis for specific conditions and patient populations. PURE5™ adheres to legal standards and supports the responsible use of medical cannabis extracts.

Safety of long-term use of medical cannabis extracts?

While generally considered safe, the long-term effects of medical cannabis extracts require further investigation. At PURE5™, we prioritize research and development to ensure the safe and effective use of our products.

Can medical cannabis extracts be used alongside conventional medications? 

Medical cannabis extracts may interact with certain medications. Patients should consult healthcare providers to ensure safe coadministration and monitor for potential drug interactions. PURE5™ supports patient safety and responsible use.

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