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With cannabis becoming more accessible for both medical and recreational use thanks to changing legislation, it’s only natural that more and more people would become interested in the many potential benefits this substance can provide.  Getting started can be intimidating, though.  You may not feel comfortable asking your family, friends, or coworkers about the effects of cannabis or which products will best meet your wants and needs.

PureRx is happy to help with a simple primer on what, exactly, cannabis is, how to differentiate strains and products, and how you can purchase cannabis in Oklahoma.  Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about cannabis, but were too afraid to ask.

WHAT IS CANNABIS?

Cannabis sativa, also commonly referred to as marijuana (as well as a variety of other colorful monikers), is a flowering plant characterized by broad, serrated leaves divided into a flat, fan-like shape.  Cannabis consists of hundreds of chemical compounds, including dozens of cannabinoids.

Two of the best-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive properties.  When plants are dried and processed, chemical compounds may be extracted in order to make a variety of products.  Cannabis and cannabis products can be smoked, ingested, or used as a topical treatment, although further research and testing are needed to determine the full extent of potential benefits inherent to cannabis and its many compounds.

It is believed that mankind has cultivated and used cannabis for at least 6,000 years, but it has been increasingly criminalized over the last century.  Restrictions in the U.S. began in 1906.  It was increasingly criminalized during the 1930s, leading to the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, and it became illicit under the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.  While cannabis has recently been legalized in several states for medical and/or recreational use, it remains an illicit drug at the federal level.

To date, the FDA has approved only a single cannabis product, Epidiolex (containing CBD), which is used to treat “seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older”.  That said, continued research, education, and advocacy may lead to increasing legalization and decriminalization of cannabis products and marijuana use throughout the U.S.

Differentiating Cannabis Strains

There are three main strains of cannabis: sativa, indica, and hybrid.  What makes one different from another?  Physically, they all feature the broad, serrated leaves common to the cannabis plant, but sativa leaves tend to be slimmer than indica and the color of sativa is lighter, while indica plants exhibit deeper hues.

When it comes to usage, sativa is known to provide a more euphoric high and an energy boost, while indica offers a more relaxing experience.  The difference in effect could be described as a high (sativa) versus a stoned (indica) feeling.  Hybrid plants blend the features of both indica and sativa plants, not only in appearance, but also in the affects you can expect from usage.

Understanding Cannabinoids

Increased access

Increased access to cannabis has paved the way for further research and testing nopportunities.  We’re learning more about this amazing plant every day.  There are now over 400 identified chemical compounds present in cannabis and researchers have isolated over 100 cannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids

The human body naturally produces substances called endocannabinoids as part of the larger endocannabinoid system (ECS).  The ECS is a neuromodulatory system (regulating nervous/neural activity) that consists of cannabinoid receptors located on cells throughout the body, endocannabinoids that bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors, and metabolic enzymes that control the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids.

ECS Receptors

In essence, the cannabinoids found in cannabis interact with ECS receptors similarly to the endocannabinoids our bodies produce, in some cases producing similar response.  For example, both endocannabinoids and cannabinoids could trigger immune response that reduces inflammation.

Metabolic Enzymes

The main difference is that cannabinoids don’t interact with receptors in exactly the same way as endocannabinoids do, and they don’t have the same regulatory process.  While metabolic enzymes stimulate both the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids, the same process does not apply to inhaled or ingested cannabinoids.

Psychoactive Effects

What does all of this mean?  We’re still working to understand exactly how different cannabinoids interact with the ECS and what consistent and measurable effects are produced.  We know that THC, for example, produces psychoactive effects that are not present with CBD, although both have been found to have some similar benefits in terms of reducing pain, inflammation, and other physical and mental symptoms.

Ongoing Research

With over 100 known cannabinoids, it may be some time before we understand them all, but ongoing research will only help us to fully grasp the many potential benefits of cannabinoids, other chemical compounds found in cannabis, and cannabis as a whole.

THE TRUTH about Terpenes

In addition to cannabinoids, cannabis plants contain chemical compounds called terpenes that are best known for providing a diverse array of aromas and flavors.  Terpenes are actually found in a wide variety of plants and are even produced by some insects.  These fragrant oils, secreted in resin glands, give different types of cannabis plants their distinctive smell and taste.

Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in cannabis, and while this is important for the flavor profile, you should also know that terpenes impact the cannabis experience.  They bind to ECS receptors, just like cannabinoids, and can alter the effects one experiences.  Growing conditions and curing processes can alter terpenes, just like other chemical compounds in cannabis, so lab testing to determine terpene presence and potency is important.

The Wide World Of
Cannabis Products

Oils

Marijuana Flower

Infusions

Tinctures

Vape Products

Edibles

Creams and Lotions

and more

Some products can be smoked while others can be ingested, and some are designed for topical use.  The products that are right for you will depend on your particular needs and preferences.

Purchasing Cannabis Products In Oklahoma

In the state of Oklahoma, citizens may legally purchase cannabis for medicinal purposes with a state-issued Medical Marijuana License, and may legally possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana in public, 8 ounces of marijuana in the home, 1 ounce of concentrated marijuana, 72 ounces of edible marijuana, and/or 6 mature and 6 seedling marijuana plants.

CBD oil that contains less than 0.03% THC can legally be used for medical trials or shipped to patients with authorization from a licensed Oklahoma physician.  Recreational cannabis remains illegal.

If you’re interested in exploring what cannabis producers and dispensaries have to offer, you should know that cannabis products are many and varied.  Products may include:

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