The processing of cannabis, from seed to sale, generally includes a trimming process that significantly reduces the medicinal value of the cannabis. Understanding how and why the trimming process is negatively impacting the medicinal benefits of cannabis is the first step in advancing the quality of healthcare services provided to qualified patients under the Medical Marijuana Program.
The numerous smaller leaves that surround the cannabis plant’s THCA laden buds are generally trimmed off after the plant is harvested.
The trimming process exposes the THCA laden buds and enhances the unique aroma of the plant’s terpenoids. Trimming makes the plant more saleable in a market that values the psychoactive aspect of cannabis and understands the appeal of aroma.
However, the trimming process strips the cannabis plant of valuable medicinal benefits. The smaller leaves, surrounding the potentially psychoactive THCA cannabis buds, are also laden with an assortment of other medicinally valuable “cannabinoids” that are non-psychoactive.
In addition to THCA/THC (the dominant cannabinoid in cannabis) and CBD (the second most common cannabinoid), there are another 109 cannabinoids that have been identified to date. Significantly, THCA is the only cannabinoid that can produce a psychoactive effect. The other 110 cannabinoids (CBN, CBG, CBC, etc) are non-psychoactive.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a single cannabinoid molecule that can be found in the industrial Hemp plant. Currently CBD is being extracted from Hemp and used to make CBD only medicinal products. CBD only products are deficient because research studies indicate that the numerous other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant work together to increase medicinal benefits.
Studies conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals, producers of Sativex, indicate that the assortment of cannabinoids found in cannabis play an integral role in its medicinal value. The cannabinoids have been shown to work synergistically with THC to reduce anxiety and improved wakefulness and extend the efficacy.
Patients who use a vaporizer to ingest cannabis will realize the optimum medicinal benefits from cannabis plants that remain untrimmed. Sadly, cannabis, that is untrimmed, can be difficult to find in a medical cannabis dispensary.
One of the best ways to get untrimmed cannabis into the medical cannabis dispensary is to ask for it and explain the reason for your request.
One of the most important benefits for patients, who are allowed to cultivate under a state approved Medical Marijuana Program and physically able to tend the plants, is having access to the full medicinal benefits of the whole cannabis plant with all of its active compounds.