Frequently Asked Questions
As cannabis becomes more widely recognized and utilized as an effective and powerful medicine, the amount of accessible information about it continues to grow. This wealth of information can be overwhelming and finding reliable sources can be difficult. However, having a basic knowledge about cannabis can be a good place to start when choosing a medicine that fits your needs. Here, learn about the different types of cannabis and methods to ingest the medicine. As always, High Mountain Health is here to answer your questions and provide you with the best experience possible.
There are two primary species of medical cannabis, each having their own benefits. Although there are common effects from both strains, choosing a preference is a matter of experiencing the different strains available and making personal judgments. Each of these strains will have effects based on their terpene and cannabinoid profiles. Common terpenes include limonene, linalool and myrcene. Cannabanoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), among many others.
What is an Indica strain?
The Indica cannabis plant is typically short and bushy, with wide leaves. Medical cannabis patients will generally lean toward Indica or Indica-dominant strains for their relaxing and sedating effects. Patients report feeling calmer, sleepy and anxiety-free. These strains are often chosen to treat insomnia, stress, pain and muscle spasms. Popular Indica strains include Grand Daddy Purple and Super Skunk.
What is a Sativa strain?
The Sativa cannabis plant is tall and skinny, with long, thin leaves. Medical cannabis patients often seek Sativa or Sativa-dominant strains for their energizing, euphoric effects. They have been said to induce an appetite and provide a boost of motivation. These strains are ideal for treating depression, exhaustion and eating disorders. Popular Sativa strains include Jack Herer and Green Crack.
What is a Hybrid strain?
Hybrid cannabis strains fall somewhere between an Indica and a Sativa. These plants are bred to elicit the best of both strain categories. Popular Hybrid strains include Blueberry Cough and Blue Dream.
In what ways can I ingest cannabis?
One of the best things about cannabis is the variety of methods to ingest this incredible plant medicine. The method of ingestion can play a role in the strength and onset of cannabis’ effects. Here is an overview of the most common methods of ingesting cannabis.
This method represents one of the most ancient ways to consume cannabis. People have been inhaling cannabis smoke for its physical and psychological effects since the 3rd millennium B.C. The oldest reference to smoking cannabis is from 2727 B.C., by the Chinese emperor Shennong.
“Smoking” refers to lighting the dried cannabis “buds,” and inhaling the cannabinoids through the smoke. This may be accomplished with a classic glass pipe, a water pipe, a bubbler or a pre-roll.
People who want to avoid some of the tar and carcinogens associated with smoking may choose to vaporize instead. This newer technology involves evaporating the cannabinoids—at around 329 to 374 degrees Fahrenheit—without combusting the flower. Vaporizing also offers are more discreet and convenient option.
Inhaling cannabis results in almost immediate effects on the consumer.
Long gone are the days of the undeniably skunky “pot brownies.” Today, cannabis may be infused into any food item, ranging from energy bars to juice, to ice cream and, yes, to brownies. This option is one of the most versatile methods of ingestion, offering a huge range of items to consume. You can also learn how to make your own cannabis-infused butter or oil, which allows for even more culinary experimentation.
Edibles are an ideal choice for patients who do not want to smoke and do not want to deal with flower. One thing to keep in mind: start small and go from there! Edibles can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours to take effect. This onset time may be affected by genetics, metabolism and other food already in the digestive system.
Cannabis may be extracted using a solvent like alcohol or glycerol to create a tincture. Tinctures may be made with grape seed oil or olive oil for easy administration. This option for ingesting cannabis is often quite simple, requiring a full pipette (or as much as recommended) to be taken sublingually (under the tongue). Tinctures offer fast-acting effects, dosing ease and discrete medicating.
If you’re seeking localized pain relief and very little psychoactive effects, then topicals may be your method of choice. Topicals were developed to treat muscle soreness and painful skin conditions. They are often purchased in the form of a salve or lotion and are absorbed into the body transdermally.
The word “concentrate” has come to describe a huge range of cannabis extract products, ranging from hash oil to rosin to health oil. Concentrates are usually made by extracting a potent combination of cannabinoids and/or terpenes with a solvent. Common solvents include butane, CO2, and ethanol. Concentrates are becoming one of the most popular methods of ingestion for their effectiveness and potency.
These products offer sky-high THC contents—at times, up to 90% THC. That being said, these products are usually chosen by those with high tolerances and serious medical conditions. On the other hand, some concentrates are made with high CBD contents, which result in basically no psychoactive effects.
Concentrates are usually ingested through dabbing, vaporizing, or applying directly to the inside of ones’ mouth or skin.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds in the cannabis plant that have specific physical and psychological effects on the consumer. THC and CBD have received the most attention because of their high contents in the cannabis plant, but it should be noted that there are over 100 cannabinoids in a cannabis plant. Varying amounts of each cannabinoid may result in slightly different effects on the consumer.
What is THC?
THC, an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, is most well-known for its psychological effects on the individual. It is the principal psychoactive component of cannabis. Individually, THC has been shown to alleviate nausea and vomiting as well as induce appetite. Furthermore, it presents medical benefits for those with neuropathic conditions, multiple sclerosis, and spasticity.
What is CBD?
CBD, an abbreviation for cannabidiol, has gained interest in recent years for its medical benefits and lack of psychoactive effects. It can actually counteract some of the effects of THC. Patients have demanded more high CBD strains, specifically because of its anti-anxiety and anti-convulsive benefits. Because THC is the primary regulated component of cannabis, CBD-only products are available to individuals without medical cards.
High Mountain Health offers a wide variety of both high-THC and high-CBD (or CBD-only) products. Additionally, we can suggest products that have a balanced presence of both cannabinoids.
What are terpenes?
Like cannabinoids, terpenes are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. However, unlike cannabinoids, terpenes are found throughout the natural world, giving plants their distinctive smell and flavor. They are also produced by some animals, including the swallowtail butterfly. This ability is thought to attract mates or repel predators.
In cannabis, terpenes are responsible for giving Sweet Afghani Kush its distinctively cheesy, herbaceous aroma and Blueberry Cough its sweet and fruity aroma. As more research has emerged regarding the medical benefits of cannabis, terpenes are recognized as playing a larger role than previously thought. They may interact with different cannabinoids to enhance certain effects or regulate others.
Some popular terpenes include:
This common terpene gives citrus fruits their bright and uplifting smell. When used medicinally, it can be anti-stress, anti-anxiety and elevate the mood. It is also anti-fungal. This terpene is commonly found Sativa strains such as Durban Poison.
This terpene is most commonly found in lavender. It has sedating and calming effects and works as a wonderful sleep aid. In addition, it may help with managing anxiety, pain, and convulsions. Linalool is commonly found in Amnesia Haze and LA Confidential.
Myrcene is responsible for giving many plants, such as mango and thyme, their herbaceous aroma. Urban legend says eating a mango before ingesting cannabis will intensify and prolong the effects — this may be a result of myrcene’s synergy with THC. Common strains with myrcene include Jack Herer and Cannatonic.
You can learn more about terpenes through our blog’s feature Terpene Tuesday.
Getting Your Medical Marijuana Card
How to Get (and Renew!) Your Arizona Qualifying Patient Card
You must first obtain a signed Physician Certification form from an MD, ND, DO or HMD. Your physician must use the form found at the AZ Department of Health Services (ADHS) Medical Marijuana Program site, http://azdhs.gov/.
If your own physician is not willing to sign the form, below is a list of naturopathic doctors we recommend:
- Altitude Cannabis Evaluations (ACE)
(928)719-7665 | www.flg420card.com
Medical records required.
- Flagstaff Clinic of Naturopathic Medicine
(928)774-1770 | www.flagstaffnaturalhealth.com/
Medical records required.
- Grand Canyon Clinics
(928) 499-3100 | www.GrandCanyonClinics.com
930 N Switzer Canyon Dr, Ste 104 | Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Once you receive your signed Physician Certification form, you need to file your application online with the ADHS. The application costs $150 for a 2 year period, unless you are on the AZ SNAP (Food Stamps) program in which case it will cost $75. If you file for yourself you will need to scan and upload the following:
- Your signed Physician Certification form – (PDF preferred max 2MB)
- Patient Attestation (found at http://azdhs.gov/)
- AZ Identification card, AZ driver’s license, or valid US Passport (PDF preferred max 2MB)
- 2×2 picture of yourself with a white background (JPEG preferred min 600×600 pixels; max 2 MB)
- SNAPS Documentation (SNAPS card with name and letter of acceptance from AZDES)
Once you have filed your application for your MMJ Patient card, you should receive an approval email from the AZDHS. Your card will arrive to the email provided as a digital copy. If you have not received your email after 7 days, you can contact the AZ Department of Health Services at (602) 542-1025.