Medicinal Marihuana VS Street Weed

There has been a significant amount of attention pertaining to the area of marihuana in recent months. Attention is not only being placed on the area of medicinal marihuana but also the recreational use it. I would like to take this opportunity to provide some information to those interested in the debate as well as those curios about the medicinal uses of marihuana. 


First off, it is important to note that marihuana comes in a wide range of strains and potencies. Therefore, it is also important to note that medicinal marihuana and the current (illegal) street marihuana are not the same.


I have been a member of the Saskatoon Police Service for 10 years. I am often called to provide expert testimony in all areas of drugs, including, marihuana. I have done extensive research in the area that not only includes training and education courses but real life research from the street. I am only mentioning this in hopes of developing some street cred for the information below:


Now, when it comes to our current (illegal) recreational marihuana and medicinal marihuana (here in Canada) there are BIG differences. Most notably, consistency. If you are using marihuana for medicinal purposes, then like any medication, consistency of the medicinal ingredient is of the upmost importance. If your doctor prescribed you 10 milligrams of medication X, you wouldn't then take 10 today, 60 tomorrow, and 20 the next day etc.


The two important ingredients in marihuana are THC and CBD.  THC is what gives users a euphoric state and the higher the concentration of THC, the higher you get. This ingredient has been known to aid in areas of pain relief while acting as an appetite stimulant. CBD is the unique ingredient in marihuana that researchers are finding may have the most medicinal benefit. This compound is what recent studies have shown to decrease inflammation, reduce the size of cancer tumours in lab rats and aid in treating other health conditions such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and epilepsy; to name a few.


Most recreational marihuana strains that are considered top quality on the street and may have names like "purple kush" and "AAA" etc, typically have a very high level of thc (10-25%) and a very reduced level of cbd (1-5%). In my experience, recreational dispensaries (or unlicensed medical dispensaries) and your local marihuana dealer are not laboratory testing their strains. Rather they base the quality off the look, smell, and type of high it gives the user. That is perfectly fine for a recreational user, however is not for a medicinal user who is trying to determine a treatment strategy using the drug. For example, one strain of marihuana could significantly reduce anxiety but another could cause it to sky rocket. 


It's important to know that plants of the same strain, produced in the same grow can produce buds with different levels of THC and CBD. Medicinal marihuana grows, such as, Prairie Plant Systems, here in Saskatchewan, grow their marihuana in an amazing laboratory like facility and have scientists constantly testing the strains they are producing to ensure consistency. Please note, I am not endorsing Prairie Plant Systems or Cannimed (the label it's sold under), I just have knowledge of their products as they are local to Saskatoon. Licensed medicinal grower strains have differing levels of THC and CBD clearly labelled so that users can find the perfect strain for them. Cannimed even offers a product that has a 1% THC with a 13% CBD, which means it could give the user medical benefits without the ability of getting high. They also recently started supplying oils which is another great option as it can be put into a capsule or used as an edible. 


If you feel that you may benefit from medicinal marihuana, it is essential that you get a prescription and get your supply from a licensed grower. This grower is regulated and allows you to know exactly what strain and potency you are getting. If you are just beginning your medicinal marihuana journey, using a recreational, unregulated strain of marihuana is not going to serve as an effective test to see if it's right for you. It is also not going to give you the consistency required for ongoing use.


If you are currently suffering from a health condition that has an ineffective or invasive treatment plan and you can switch to a few puffs off a vaporizer or even munch on a delicious brownie, then that is a step forward in your healing journey. Conduct your own research, consult with your physician, and ensure you only take government regulated medications.