Recreational cannabis users are increasingly seeking relief from a variety of mental and physical ailments
By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by The Green Joint
Cannabis consumers are looking for all kinds of wellness benefits from their marijuana these days, including relief from stress, pain, anxiety, sleep problems, inflammation, depression and more.
Legal recreational marijuana in Colorado means you don’t need a medical card to enjoy the medicinal benefits of cannabis anymore. Budtenders at The Green Joint in Glenwood Springs are helping customers find the right strains and products that produce their desired effects.
“We have a lot of customers who shop recreationally for the medicinal benefits of cannabis,” said The Green Joint General Manager Melissa Finn. “We see a lot of people from the Baby Boomer generation that may have tried cannabis as young adults and are interested in cannabis therapy for various issues.”
Whatever the method of ingesting cannabis, Finn said it’s really up to each individual user’s personal preference. The Green Joint cautions customers that cannabis is not a “miracle” plant that will necessarily “cure” them, but there are many success stories that provide optimism for the future.
“Illnesses like cancer are very complex and everyone’s biochemistry is different. What one person responds to successfully may not be the case for another individual,” Finn said. “It’s why funding cannabis research is so important.”
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, while the psychoactive component is tetrahydrocannabinols, or THC. In other words, CBD doesn’t make a user feel high or stoned.
THC has been known to increase appetite and reduce nausea and pain inflammation, while CBD can help with anxiety, muscle disorders, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions.
“It’s not just about getting high anymore. We have so many products that do not produce a psychoactive effect,” Finn said. “I am personally blown away by the science behind topicals. We have transdermal patches, feminine suppositories, and intimate oils that are really helpful for a lot people. All the feedback we hear from our customers and patients about how cannabis improves their lives is really amazing.”
Nora D. Volkow, the then-director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control in 2015 that there is significant preliminary research supporting the potential therapeutic value of CBD. She said this evidence highlights the need for rigorous clinical research.
Is it right for you?
CBD and THC aren’t the only things that influence the effects or benefits felt from cannabis, though. Terpenes are chemical compounds in plants that protect it from predators and infestations. In cannabis, terpenes are known to react with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which affect the way the cannabis makes a person feel.
There are more than 100 known terpenes in cannabis, each providing distinctive tastes and smells. Limonene, for example, smells like citrus and reportedly aids in stress relief. Pinene smells like pine trees and can help with alertness and reduce inflammation. Myrcene smells musky and herbal and delivers relaxing effects.
“Trial and error and communicating with our staff are the best ways to find out what products are going to work,” Finn said. “When I first became a medical patient in 2009, I tried several strains and products before I was able to find what works best for me.”
Gone are the days when marijuana users fit into stereotypes such as “Cheech and Chong.” Legalization has revealed that cannabis users come from all walks of life.
“People who use cannabis are not lazy, stupid or criminals,” Finn said. “Many of us are highly educated who have very successful careers in all fields. We use cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals that were not effective or resulted in debilitating side effects.”
Finn said it’s important to talk to your health care provider before choosing cannabis therapy as an alternative to other medicines. She’s hopeful that more research can have a strong, positive impact on the country’s opioid crisis.
“The opioid epidemic in this country has decimated communities. It is really wonderful to see someone regain their life back by using cannabis to end their addiction to pharmaceutical painkillers,” she said. “More research needs to happen. We are seeing more funding towards this type of research on cannabis and opioids.”