According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of November 4, 2020, “a total of 36 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands have approved comprehensive, publicly available medical marijuana/cannabis programs.”
Medical marijuana programs differ from state to state. In some states, authorities have allowed medical marijuana to help treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, HIV, and some cancers. Many require a doctor’s authorization, which designates specific levels of THC and CBDs or certain strains to treat the indicated illness.
Along with these laws, many states are allowing residents to participate in recreational marijuana use. This opens the door for people to choose to use cannabis in place of traditional over-the-counter medications. As laws change now and in the future, we may see more people using cannabis products without an official physician authorization to manage pain and discomfort instead of other OTC drugs.
Why choose cannabis over OTC drugs?
As more states legalize cannabis, people are starting to become interested in it as an alternative to traditional over-the-counter medicines. Not only could it be cheaper in the long run, but it doesn’t have the same slew of side effects that plague many OTC drugs. That could be because it’s a natural alternative to a synthetic drug, therefore potentially healthier for users compared to traditional OTC drugs.
There are also a lot of new ways to partake of cannabis products, so users don’t have to battle preconceived notions of becoming a “pothead” or “stoner.” Instead, they can add a tincture to their coffee, pop in a CBD gummy bear, or even use a cannabis-infused massage oil to help sore muscles relax. There is always the option to take a puff from a joint or your dry herb vaporizer, but those aren’t the only options anymore, which has helped cannabis’ image as a viable alternative to OTC drugs.
How does it work?
The human body already seems primed to interact well with cannabis products because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Whether or not you use cannabis products, you still have the endocannabinoid system, and its receptors jibe with cannabis. The ECS mostly supports important functions like memory, mood, appetite, sleep, and reproduction, which just so happen to be the areas that people tend to treat with over the counter (OTC) drugs.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is found in high concentrations in hemp and CBD-dominant strains of weed. Many states have legalized or at least decriminalized CBD that comes from hemp because there is less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis. When CBD binds to the receptors in the ECS, it helps calm things down in the digestive area as well as subduing chronic pain and sleep problems. CBD also doesn’t have potential side effects the way THC does.
On the other hand, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), isn’t legal in many states, and it’s still illegal on a federal level, even if individual states have legalized it. People don’t typically think of THC-dominant strains for pain relief, but strains with more THC can help with pain as well as increase appetite and focus.
Your endocannabinoid system is thought to help your body achieve homeostasis, or the state of equilibrium. There is still a lot of research to be done to provide definitive answers, but it’s generally accepted that cannabis products can help the endocannabinoid system do its job keeping everything in check.
What can cannabis help?
Cannabis has been associated with relief for the following:
- Sleep Disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Migraine Headaches
- Attention Problems
It’s important to note that different strains of cannabis will have varying effects on the body. The strains that help with focus may not help with anxiety. Hybrids that help with sleep disorders might not mix well with people who battle with depression. Luckily, there is a lot of research on the different hybrids to help you make decisions that will best address your symptoms.
It’s also worth noting that cannabis isn’t a perfect product. There isn’t federal regulation yet, so you need to do a lot of research before purchasing through a dispensary. There is also the potential for bad trips if you use strains that are THC-dominant. Some cannabis products can increase sensitivity, which could be a problem for some people seeking relief from specific ailments. Additionally, certain strains aren’t safe for use when you’re out and about or needing to make important life decisions. Before using any cannabis product, make sure that you’re in an environment with safety precautions in place.
That said, it’s looking more and more like cannabis products will make some big waves in the OTC market in the coming years. Some Big Box stores are even rolling out hemp-derived CBD products to help people treat various ailments. Hopefully increased availability and acceptance of cannabis products will lead to more people experiencing the benefits cannabis can bring to the table.
Whether you are incorporating cannabis into your lifestyle for the first time, or continuing to use it to enhance your life, make sure that you are equipped with the best accessories. Our 2 and 4 piece grinders, one hitter dugouts, stash boxes and smell proof bags can help take your herb-use experiences to new heights.