Marijuana

Marijuana – more properly “cannabis”, the correct term for describing the plant — has received increased attention regarding both its legality and the potential medicinal utility of the compounds inside–cannabinoids. Although cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug under the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, 29 states and the District of Columbia have thus far approved its use in specified medical conditions.

The Internet is rife with information about cannabis – some is valid, some not. Where does one find legitimate academic resources, provided by recognized leaders in the field? The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University–one of the nation’s leading healthcare learning institutions–is dedicated to providing accredited CME, CNE, and ACPE education to healthcare providers who are interested in cannabinoids as therapy.

The Lambert Center offers two accredited educational activities on medicinal cannabis; 1) a course for healthcare professionals that wish to be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DoH) to recommend or dispense medicinal cannabis in Pennsylvania and receive CE credits or 2) the accredited CE course, Expert Update in Therapeutic Uses of Cannabinoids, for those interested in becoming better informed about medicinal cannabis but do not need DoH certification. During the registration process, you will be required to indicate if you prefer Pennsylvania DoH/CE Credit or CE Credit Only.
NOTE: You may only claim credit for one of the CE courses.

The DoH/CE Credit activity is a 4-hour set of 7 modules that fulfills the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s training requirement for physicians who wish to recommend medicinal cannabis to patients, and for physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners who wish to work in Pennsylvania dispensaries. All course activities, including the 7 video modules and the 25 question post-test, must be completed in their entirety in order to receive Pennsylvania-approved certification. The post-test requires a completion with at least 80% correct responses in order to be considered complete.

The CE Credit Only activity is an accredited CE program that includes 6 video modules on medicinal cannabis and is accredited for 3.5 hours. All 6 modules must be completed, along with successful completion of the 20 question post test in order to receive CE credit for this educational activity.

Looking for additional educational courses on Medicinal Cannabis? 

The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University now has 11 new courses on Medicinal Cannabis. These are elective, educational courses, not part of the PA Department of Health- approved training program. Each course focuses on a different topic, features expert speakers, and awards continuing education credit for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and pharmacists.*

To access the new Medicinal Cannabis courses, please go to:https://cme.jefferson.edu/lambert/content/lambertLG. If you have already completed the PA Department of Health- approved training program, look for an email from the Office of CME at Thomas Jefferson University with a special, one-time discount on these new elective courses! 

You may opt-in to receive email updates when you register for the program. We will send all participants that Opt-in an email announcement about new content or updates to the lambert-medicalcannabis-edu.com site.

CBD vs THC: what’s the difference?

In recent studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it has been concluded that marijuana and CBD have the same effects as cannabis. CBD is the only non-psychoactive component in marijuana and has no psychoactivity. The compound was originally found to be beneficial for people with epilepsy and the same can be said of cannabis.

Marijuana does contain both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). The former has more medicinal and psychological benefits, while the latter is a stimulant that will increase your physical and mental energy.

The major distinction between the two is the concentration of the compounds within them. With CBD, it is much easier for your body to absorb it, which is why so many doctors recommend it. Water soluble CBD oil is a new product that exists mainly to simplify the manufacturing process of including CBD oil in alcoholic drinks as it blends very easily with alcoholic beverages. Traditional CBD tincture products do not blend well with alcoholic beverages because the fatty oil tends to separate easily and is not very dense like water. To make sure that the oils do not separate, it is important that you add the oil to a cold base alcohol base product. Cold base products tend to be more consistent in adding the oil to the liquid you are trying to mix it with.  But with marijuana, you must consume it in higher doses. The result of this is that the human body tends to produce an abundance of the chemicals in marijuana. In order to have the most benefit from it, you will want to avoid marijuana altogether if you are looking to reduce your dependency on the drug.

It is also important to note that smoking marijuana is not necessarily bad for your health. While it may create a very intense high, it is often used as a way to induce a state of relaxation. And the chemicals contained within marijuana are not known to cause harm to the brain or to cause addiction in its users.

However, there are some possible side effects that are associated with marijuana. Among them are headaches, respiratory problems, stomach irritation and constipation. In rare cases, the use of marijuana can cause psychosis and anxiety.

What are CBD and THC?

Both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are phytocannabinoids. They cause various effects within our bodies as a result of interacting with certain cells, particularly those in our brains.

As cannabinoids, they both have their similarities. For starters, they are the two most abundant cannabinoids that you could find naturally in hemp. On top of this, the various applications they could be used for at a molecular level are quite similar. Such resemblances are so strong that, until recently, the scientific community actually believed they were the same substance.

But this hypothesis has since been proven false. Nowadays, we know that THC is a psychotropic drug controlled by various government authorities, whereas CBD is considered safe and is used legally across the world. However, none of this has stopped a steady stream of misinformation being produced about the two. Time to set the record straight. So what are the differences between CBD and THC?

The obvious and visible difference between THC and CBD is that THC can get you high, while CBD cannot. Both are known to have healing properties, but high amounts of THC are less likely to be tolerated by patients, while CBD is known to be tolerable even at high doses.

CBD vs THC: Health benefits

There has been extensive research into the benefits of THC. This research suggests that THC has many therapeutic properties which can be utilised in a myriad of clinical applications.

On the other hand, research into the benefits of CBD are still in their infancy. Initial studies suggest CBD has many of the same therapeutic properties as THC, but without the high and other adverse side effects associated with THC. In fact, CBD can actually protect against the more derogatory effects of THC.

CBD vs THC: Chemical structure

Both CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing impacts on your body.

Both CBD and THC are chemically similar to your body’s own endocannabinoid system. This allows them to interact with your cannabinoid receptors. The interaction impacts the release of neurotransmitters in your brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals responsible for relaying messages between cells.

CBD vs THC: Psychoactive components

Despite their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same psychoactive effects. In fact, CBD is a non psychoactive compound. That means it doesn’t produce the “high” associated with THC.

THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It produces a high or sense of euphoria.

CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors, this is why it does not produce a “high” in users. In fact, it can interfere with the binding of THC and dampen the psychoactive effects.

CBD vs THC:​ ​The scientific view

As you must have guessed by now, it’s more-or-less universally accepted within the scientific community that CBD is safer than THC.

Studies showing correlations between using THC over a long period of time and showing symptoms of particular psychiatric disorders – such as psychosis, schizophrenia and depression – have supported these views. However, we have to be clear that correlation doesn’t always mean causation – the source of the problem may be something else.

On top of that, there’s still a lot of research to be done on CBD and – with early results looking positive already – scientists, on the whole, are hoping that even more beneficial applications are yet to be found.

CBD vs THC: Legality

Due to the psychoactive properties of THC it is classed as a controlled substance in the UK, and therefore illegal. In fact, this is also the case in most parts of the world although changes are slowly occurring as the therapeutic properties of THC are becoming more widely accepted.

CBD, on the other hand, is non psychoactive and therefore it won’t get you high. It is 100% legal in the UK and many other countries around the world. CBD oil food supplement is sold in the UK, just the same as the vitamins and minerals supplements you buy. To make sure you are buying a safe and legal CBD product, please only purchase from a reputable company.