How I use medical marijuana: vaporizers, science, weed, and cancer

In this video my good friend Michael Backes, medical marijuana R&D expert and author of the book Cannabis Pharmacy (2014), shares some of his knowledge on the therapeutic power of pot.

During my treatment for breast cancer, I learned how powerful medical marijuana truly can be in helping to alleviate some of the serious side effects of cancer treatment, including pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. I was not a pot smoker at the time of my diagnosis, and hadn't used weed since I was a teen. Backes and my fellow cancer patients shared their experience and knowledge with me, and with the blessing of my oncologist, I found that it could be a very helpful form of relief.

In this video, Backes talks about how to use vaporizers, how to dose correctly for different forms of therapeutic relief, the difference between smoking, edibles, and vaporizers, CBD vs. THC, why the classifications of Indica and Sativa don't matter as much as most people think, and why temperature is important when vaporizing weed.

This video is part of an underwritten series on the benefits and uses of medical marijuana, and is sponsored by Ascent by DaVinci: a glass-on-glass, temperature-controllable personal vaporizer for people who care about quality.

Director: Eric Mittleman. Music: Shawn Tynan. Special thanks to Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group.

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Michael Backes, cannabis expert and longtime friend of Boing Boing.


Michael Backes, cannabis expert and longtime friend of Boing Boing.

Packages of edible medical cannabis products available at LAPCG. I like this brand.


Packages of edible medical cannabis products available at LAPCG. I like this brand.

Various strains of medical marijuana on display at the Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group, the dispensary where I obtained medical marijuana during my treatment for breast cancer.


Various strains of medical marijuana on display at the Los Angeles Patients and Caregivers Group, the dispensary where I obtained medical marijuana during my treatment for breast cancer.

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Notable Replies

  1. What is more important than simplistic Indica/Sativa distinctions appears to be the content of specific essential oils produced by the cannabis plant, in addition to the variety's cannabinoid content. These terpenes are responsible for modifying the effects of THC, the sole cannabinoid found in quantity in the most common drug cannabis cultivars. For example, the indica effect is commonly characterized as being more sedative than the stimulating effects associated with sativa cultivars. This sedative "indica" effect is strongly linked to the presence of a terpene called myrcene. Ethan Russo wrote an excellent paper about the chemical constituency of cannabis called Taming THC. Highly recommended.

  2. You mischaracterize the point that I am trying to convey in the video. Adverse effects of cannabis can be minimized through careful attention to dose. We have a much more appropriate conception of dosing LSD than cannabis. Many people that use cannabis medicinally, recreationally or in some combination, consume far in excess of what I recommend. I advocate using the minimum effective dose and no more. I find your statement about high-CBD low-THC cannabis odd, since at a ratio of 9:1 CBD to THC, a consumer should experience no psychoactivity whatsoever. Period. Impugning the medicinal efficacy of CBD is unfair and simply not supported by evidence. And I never claim that cannabis is any sort of panacea, as it certainly is not, but that cannabis can be used as an effective medicine when dosed intelligently and with considerable restraint.

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