What is THC and how can veterans benefit through using it medicinally? What are some of the most popular strains for beginners and how should you go about in deciding which strain is right for your symptoms? Continue reading to learn more.
What to know about THC
THC is one of the many chemical compounds, or cannabinoids found in marijuana. It binds with our system’s cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1) found mainly in the brain and our body’s central nervous system. Activating our body’s CB1 receptors is what induces the psychoactive effect that is associated with marijuana.
The effects of THC on the body include:
- Pain relief
- Appetite stimulant
- Reduce the symptoms of glaucoma
- Natural sleep aid
- Counteract anxiety
- Muscular spasticity
Other potential uses include the treatment and use of THC for chronic pain such as; neuropathic pain, pain caused by injury or accident, depression, insomnia, and PTSD; which are just a few among a growing list.
What is legal, where?
Multiple states across the country have passed laws approving the use of marijuana medically and/or recreationally. Still, as federal law stands, marijuana is considered a Schedule One controlled substance. This means that because the VA is a federal program, VA health care providers may not recommend or help veterans in getting marijuana. On the other hand, veterans are allowed to use marijuana both medically and recreationally, as state law allows. This will not affect a veterans’ eligibility to receive care and services from the VA.
ACCORDING TO FEDERAL LAW, MARIJUANA CANNOT BE PRESCRIBED BY ANYONE. THE USE OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES IS STRICTLY REFERRED TO AS SELF-MEDICATING. A PHYSICIAN MAY LEGALLY REFFER YOU TO USE MARIJUANA BUT CANNOT PRESCRIBE.
As the laws currently stand, nine states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. These states are: Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, California, and Vermont.
Nineteen other states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. These states are: Montana, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Arizona, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and West Virginia.
Check your state’s laws and the VA website regarding the use of medical marijuana for veterans and make sure to consult with a qualified physician prior to making any decisions about self-medicating.
The difference between indica, hybrid, and sativa
If you have visited a dispensary or have heard of marijuana you have probably also heard of the fact that there are different strains of the plant and that these strains are categorized as indica, sativa, or a hybrid of the two. Cannabis culture has come to expect different effects such as indica being more sedative and relaxing compared to sativa, which is known to be more uplifting and energizing. Yet, these terms actually do not foretell what kind of “high” is going to be felt, instead they refer to the type of plant itself. Where sativa has come to describe the taller plants with narrower leaves and indica describes shorter plants with broader leaves.
In fact it is not whether the marijuana is indica, sativa, or a hybrid that defines the effects, it is the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the marijuana plants themselves. THC and CBD concentration levels along with different terpenes (aromatic compounds found in plants and commonly used in aromatherapy as essential oils with either sedative or uplifting effects) are what should be considered when deciding which strain is right for you instead of just deciding between an indica or a sativa. Indica’s, sativa’s, and hybrids all contain different combinations of cannabinoid levels and terpenes, meaning experiences vary across strains.
Best smokable strains for beginners
For beginners who are looking to smoke marijuana, it is generally advised to choose a strain with lower levels of THC and higher levels of CBD. This will help some of the potential side effects of THC, such as anxiety. Later, you can choose to slowly introduce strains with increased levels of THC.
Some strains, according to Leafly, that are CBD-dominant and good for beginners are: Harlequin, Sour Tsunami, Pennywise, Harle-Tsu, ACDC, Cannatonic, and Dancehall. These strains are all known for their relaxing properties.
Some strains that are higher in THC and also good for beginners according to Leafly are: Blue Dream, Jack Herer, Chernobyl, Plushberry, Maui Wowi, and Permafrost. These are all known for happier, more uplifting effects.
Remember that what works for one person might now work the same for another. Always check the strain’s level of THC and CBD content. If you are a beginner and the THC content is over twenty percent, that might be too strong for you.
What are dabs? …Oils? …Extracts?
Concentrated oils, or dabs are extracted from the marijuana plant. Oils, along with other extracts can be found with differnt levels of CBD and THC. Concentrates are often inhaled through the use of a vaporizer or by digestion, applying the oil sublingually (under the tongue). While vaping is a common, discrete method to consume THC, it is also much more concentrated and generally stronger than marijuana itself. Meaning that less is needed to feel relief. Oils are also available in a variety of strains and can take some shopping around and experimenting before the right strain for you is found.
Best Edibles for beginners
Edibles are also a very easy way for a beginner to consume THC without smoking it. If you are a beginner, start with small amounts and a low dosage. Edibles take longer to kick in thank smoking or vaping, however edibles tend to have longer lasting and more intense effects than when it is inhaled.
In a future article we will go more in depth into the multitudes of ways that CBD and THC can be eaten or ingested through foods, capsules, beverages and more.
As part of the veteran’s community, we here at the Veterans Cannabis Operations look forward to answering any questions you may have about medical marijuana for veterans.
In the upcoming months as we continue to work closely with the veteran community, and providing assistance to veterans in Miami. Keep a look out on our social media for giveaways and the announcement of our own line of CBD products.