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You might have heard the term ‘medical cannabis’- according to the NHS website, this is a broad term for any cannabis
containing medicine used to curb symptoms of an illness or ailment.
At Alphagreen, we cater to your health and
lifestyle; including stocking some well known medicinal strains, carefully cultivated for specific needs.
Medical cannabis is usually a strain of cannabis Sativa or Indica. It’s usually prescribed by your doctor for a specific
Unlike CBD oils, suppositories, vapes or topicals, medical cannabis should not be treated as a daily supplement to
improve general health and wellness. Much more targeted, medical cannabis is often prescribed by a healthcare
professional to treat a condition. Unlike other medications, medical cannabis will typically contain over 120
cannabinoids and 400 different chemical compounds.
According to the NHS, it’s pretty rare to
be prescribed cannabis as a treatment. With more research (as well as the ongoing genetic modification of cannabis to
promote healing to a greater degree) we anticipate that cannabis might be used as a wider treatment in the next few
But, so far, cannabis has only been prescribed for the following conditions:
Chemotherapy can be an intense process to undergo without medical help. As research advances, many studies have found
that the cannabis strain, Nabilone, a man-made cannabis compound, typically taken orally, can help to provide relief
from symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nausea.
This research tells us that 70-80% of
chemotherapy patients suffer from nausea- this is known as CINV (chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting).
Nabilone’s antiemetic (anti-nausea and vomiting) effects have proved successful, as it tends to block receptors in the
central nervous system. This works because chemotherapy can induce overproduction of several neurotransmitters which can
stimulate nausea- including serotonin, dopamine and GABA, and something known as substance P.
When these neurotransmitters are overproduced (as is typical in chemotherapy) they bind to 5-HT, D2, NK1 receptors,
causing nausea. Nabilone acts very similarly to THC- it blocks CB1 receptors in the brain, as well as many
neurotransmitter receptor sites in the CNS. This prevents nausea.
It’s also been said that specific areas of the brain tend to cause CINV, especially the nucleus of the solitary tract
within the dorsal vagal complex of the brainstem. When cancer patients undergo chemotherapy they are typically
administered cytotoxic drugs. The nucleus of the solitary tract region of this part of the brainstem tends to detect
these cytotoxic drugs as ‘abdominal irritants’ which tends to cause nausea.
Nabiolene’s tendency to bind with CB1 receptors in the brain stem. Our brain stem tends to have more CB1 receptors than
any other kind of receptor. This is really useful in preventing CINV- when CB1 receptors in the dorsal vagal complex are
bound to, this can prevent the nucleus of the solitary tract region from inducing nausea.
A rare form of epilepsy, known as
Lennox-Gastaut (LGS) or Dravet Syndrome, can affect children as young as two years of age. Symptoms involve
seizures and fits, learning disabilities, behavioural problems and abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
With new research, it’s been discovered that epidiolex, a CBD-enriched cannabis (usually in a purified liquid form, so
that young children can take it), could be useful in helping to treat this condition. Epidiolex is 99% CBD, making it an
incredibly potent medication- but it’s proven useful in helping to inhibit the release of the neurotransmitters
responsible for seizures.
Patients born with epilepsy tend to experience a reduction in seizures with epidiolex- possibly because CBD can promote
higher levels of the endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG, which can act on CB1 receptors to prevent the release of
certain neurotransmitters, preventing ‘excess neuronal activity’ which is particularly responsible for a person
experiencing debilitating seizures. Another great reason for CBD to treat seizures is because endocannabinoids,
anandamide and 2-AG, can bind to a specific CB2 receptor found mainly in the gut/ spleen and immune cell area- this
receptor is known as CB2R.
CB2R is very useful for preventing seizures– it’s found on microglial cells in the central
nervous system, as part of the body’s immune system. When activated the CB2R on microglial cells can help the system
maintain a healthy neuronal activity, preventing ‘neuronal hyperexcitability’.
In patients suffering with epilepsy, the prevention of ‘neuronal hyperexcitability’ is especially important- epilepsy
sufferers tend to have flawed microglia, which don’t do their jobs properly, allowing a large number of neurons to fire
up (or activate) all at once, leading to a seizure.
Nabiximols might also be prescribed for MS- in particular, in curbing the symptoms of muscle spasticity which is
typically exhibited by patients. According to The MS
society, nabiximols are an equal mixture of CBD and THC and are administered via oral spray- and it has the
potential to relieve muscle spasticity and tremors by 20% in four weeks.
According to studies, the 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD is ideal for keeping muscle spasms at bay, helping to improve the
mobility of MS sufferers. This is because MS tends to be considered an autoimmune disorder, where the body attacks
itself by forming inflammatory lesions on
the myelin sheath of neurons, preventing normal electrical transmission from occurring from the brain to the
muscles. This can lead to muscles contracting at random.
With CBD in the picture, higher levels of the endocannabinoid, anandamide, can be great to prevent this inflammation
from occurring, preventing the neurons from degrading. Since MS is caused by the release of cytokines and prostaglandins
by the brain (inflammation causing molecules) cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit the production of these.
Anandamide can also further work to protect the neurons by connecting to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central nervous
system, preventing their degradation- essentially working to protect and strengthen the neurons to a higher degree.
1:1 ratio levels of THC and CBD, such as those present in nabiximol, have also been shown to directly combat the problem
of muscle spasticity by working with the CB1 receptors. THC, in particular, can engage with CB1 receptors in the brain
and this has a direct connection with relaxing and stabilising muscles- this is because presynaptic CB1 receptors, when
bound to, reduce glutaminergic
transmission. This is essential in curbing muscle spasticity, since the excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate,
is responsible for causing muscles to spasm. THC can also promote the muscles to relax and, alongside CBD, help to
ease pain and discomfort in the body.
At Alphagreen, we offer a range of cannabis strains, for
medical purposes, which don’t require a prescription. These are potent, containing cannabinoids from high-grade CBD to
THC (and more). Although we always recommend consulting with a doctor before trying any of our medical strains,
if you are interested in doing some research, here’s some information on the basics:
a 13.5% THC content, the sativa-dominant bedrobinol is perfect for reducing inflammation, nausea and chronic pain.
Bedrocan: A sativa
strain, much like bedrobinol, but with a higher THC content of 22%, bedrocan is intoxicating and high strength- ideal
for those used to the effects of THC. This strain might be great for those suffering from nausea, depression or chronic
Typically, indica-dominant cannabis strains will be useful for sedation, muscle spasms, anxiety and relaxation. Sativa-dominant strains are more ‘awakening’- they are typically useful
for curbing nausea, pain, low mood and headaches.
Whether you’re just interested in researching the potential benefits of medical-grade cannabis or you’re looking to
purchase, development on medical cannabis is constantly in process.
And the reassuring notion that, with new illness might come the hope for new and developed treatment, we can safely say
that we’re behind the medical-cannabis movement.
Usually, your doctor will determine whether you’re eligible for medical-grade cannabis. Simply listing your symptoms will get you a diagnosis on whether you’re eligible.
While any doctor can prescribe medical-grade cannabis, it’s commonly prescribed by hospital consultants.
However a GP can prescribe medical cannabis under the direction of a specialist.
Some doctors specialise in medical cannabis- they’re most likely to prescribe you a medical-grade strain, should you exhibit certain symptoms.
No. The commonly-found CBD products that you see work as food supplements, for health and wellness, and not medical treatments. Cannabis should only be treated as medicine if prescribed.
Because medical cannabis contains higher levels of THC, there is a small risk of addiction. However, the unfortunate thing is that the stronger your medication the more addictive they can be.
The reassuring news is that cannabis can be less addictive than a lot of other medications commonly prescribed- such as opioids or sleep-aids.
Typically, the psychoactive levels of medical cannabis will be less than recreational- meaning a person might feel some intoxicating side-effects, but it won’t be overpowering. THC levels in medical-grade cannabis are pretty low- and the benefits tend to outweigh the negatives.