Chapter 2 – Intro To Cannabis


  • The oldest known written record on cannabis use comes from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 BCE (before current era)
  • Ancient Greeks and Romans were also familiar with cannabis, while in the Middle East, use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa
  • In 1545 cannabis spread to the western hemisphere where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber
  • In North America cannabis, in the form of hemp, was grown on many plantations for use in rope, clothing and paper
  • Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man. It has been used for  paper, textiles, and cordage for thousands of years. In fact, the Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BCE.


The difference is in its use. Hemp and Marijuana both come
from the same plant-Cannabis Sativa L. The term ‘Hemp’
commonly refers to the industrial/commercial use of the
cannabis stalk and seed for textiles, foods, papers, body care
products, detergents, plastics and building materials. It is nonpsychoactive (less than 0.03% THC)

What is a Cannabinoid?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that interact with receptors in the brain and body to create various effects. There exist dozens, and potentially more than 100, cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, but THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), is most widely known among these due to its abundance and psychoactive attributes. CBD (cannabidiol), is the most common non-psychoactive

Cannabis medications work so efficiently because of the endocannabinoid (EC) system, present in all humans and many animals as well. This system consists of a series of receptors that are configured only to accept cannabinoids, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

CNS Effects of Cannabis

  • Impact pain perception, inflammation, and psychological states.
  • Cannabis causes: bronchodilation, decreased intracranial and intraocular pressure, glucagon release, reduces insulin resistance, lymphocyte suppression, antimicrobial, anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, antiemetic, and anticarcinogenic effects (Vipperman, 2014).

Cannabis in the Brain

  • ECS regulates levels of two major brain neurotransmitters GABA (inhibitory) and glutamate (excitatory).
  • THC in cannabis suppresses both neurotransmitters, which can lead to changes in sensory experiences (GABA suppressed) and relaxation (glutamate suppression).
  • Excess glutamate can also cause excitotoxicity > damage of brain neurons. Decreasing glutamate can therefore provide brain protection (Vipperman, 2014).

Glial cells are also impacted by cannabis, with implications around memory storage, recall, and forgetting (may help with extinguishing painful memories, old habits, making way for the new to emerge). Helpful in PTSD. (Lane et al, 2005).

Other Effects of Cannabis

  • Note that effects of cannabis may be both context and dose related.
  • Reports of increased appetite, nausea relief, changes
    in time perception, intensified self awareness,
    relaxation, euphoria, increased heart rate, lowered
    blood pressure, memory effects, enhanced creativity,
    changes in sexual desire, changes in anxiety levels
    (Vipperman, 2014).

Oral Delivery Method
Onset of action

  • Pills – 1-3 hours depending on metabolism
  • Sublingual – 15-30 minutes
  • Sprays – 15-30 minutes
  • Edibles – 1-3 hours depending on metabolism
  • Tinctures – 1-3 hours depending on metabolism
  • Raw Cannabis Juice – Non-psychoactive

Duration of action

  • Can last for 5 hours or more.

Inhalation Delivery Methods
– Onset of action

  • 5-15 minutes

– Duration of action

  • 2-3 hours

– Onset of action

  • 5-15 minutes

– Duration of action

  • 2-3 hours

Oral Administration
Edibles, teas
– Difficult to dose

  • 10-20 mins.


  • 2-3 hours

Varies in consistency. Mostly made with THC. Can be applied to painful, itchy areas. Does not have systemic side effects

Drug to Drug Interactions
Very little research in this area. Most information has been observational CBD can either increase the plasma level of certain meds or decrease the plasma level CBD can deactivate the enzyme that many other drugs metabolize through

Metabolic Pathway of THC

When cannabis is smoked or vaporized, delta-9-THC enters the bloodstream via absorption through the lungs. Once in the bloodstream, the delta-9-THC travels straight to the heart, and the heart then pumps it through the entire body—including the brain—allowing it to bind to cannabinoid receptors. The psychologically experienced high kicks in as the THC molecules pass the blood-brain barrier and bind to receptors in the brain.

Metabolic Pathway of THC

When ingested, delta-9-THC enters the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach and intestines. Tests with radiolabeled delta-9-THC molecules show this process to be highly effective, with 90-95% of delta-9-THC molecules being absorbed, depending on the carrier medium.3 When absorbed gastrointestinally, delta-9-THC travels first to the liver where most of it is eliminated or metabolized before it has ever had a chance to activate a receptor. After this first pass through the liver, the remaining delta-9-THC and both its metabolites get to the heart and from there into circulation. Delta-9THC and 11-OH-THC reach the brain simultaneously.

THC leaves the body as:

  • Sweat
  • Urine
  • Feces

It’s important to also keep in mind that some traces of THC will remain in your
body longer. As THC containing fat cells are burnt off for energy.
Trace amount of THC can be permanently trapped in:

  • Hair
  • Nails
  • Bones


  • Because urine tests are so common, THC’s exit through the urinary tract is probably the most well know.
  • Once release from fat, THC enters the blood stream and gets filtered out by the kidneys.
  • But because burning off fat takes such a long time. Expelling marijuana through urine can take days, weeks and even months.
  • If you have only smoke weed once, expect 3-5 days detox time
  • If you smoke regularly, it can take 3 months or more get rid of THC


  • A mix of waste fluids and solids, feces is an effective way to expel bodily toxins.
  • It takes hours for food to make its journey through the digestive system. As it does, fluids are absorbed into the solid ad disposed of.
  • THC is detectable in feces for about the same time as it is in urine.
  • Diets low in fiber along with poor water consumption can greatly extend detox times.

The main purpose of perspiration is to regulate body temperature. When your body is over heating, you start to sweat, helping you stay cool and healthy.

We also know that sweat is not only composed of water and salt. It also contains other trace minerals along with waste and toxins.

Thanks to that info, sweat drug tests where created. The bad new is it takes longer for THC to leave in sweat as it does through urine.

Even after one-time use, marijuana can be detected in sweat for weeks

Most prominent THC strains

Sativa strains are traditionally known for their uplifting, energizing, and cerebral effects. Mind enhancing.
Alertness, increased energy, euphoric, appetite stimulant

Indica strains often have heavier, more sedating full-body effects.
Body relaxing.
Pain relief, sleep aid, appetite stimulant.

Hybrid strains typically provide a mixture of Sativa and Indica effects.

A large number of factors affect the size of the dosage that will work for you. The
quality and potency of the CBD oil will certainly affect what you feel, but other
factors to consider include:

  • Your weight.
  • Your metabolism.
  • Your diet.
  • The condition being treated.
  • The severity of your illness.
  • Your tolerance to CBD.

Insurance Coverage

Currently, medical cannabis is not covered by most insurance plans. However, medical cannabis may be claimed as a medical expense for tax purposes.

*** As of 1 Mar 18 Sunlife is providing coverage for cannabis for particular diagnosis such as: HIV
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Palliative Care
Coverage is updated monthly as studies conclude.

Important notes

  • The only legal access to medical cannabis in Canada is through Health Canada Licensed Producers. Some Canadians still have personal production license, which grants them authorization to produce medical cannabis for personal use.
  • Travelling with medical cannabis is permitted within Canada. Be sure to carry your registration documentation and store your cannabis in its original prescription bottle. If you’re flying, call the airline ahead of time to ensure you won’t run into any security delays.
  • Patients may possess up to 30 times the daily quantity of dried marijuana specified in their medical document or up to 150 grams (whichever is less). In accordance with the ACMPR, a patient’s proof of authorization to possess medical cannabis is the client specific label with their details on each of their bottles and an appropriate piece of photo identification to demonstrate legal possession.
    Therefore, we are no longer required to supply our patients with a Patient ID card, and they are no longer required to carry one.

30-161 Liberton Drive
St Albert AB T8N 6A7
How to get a prescription at The Herb Clinic

Get a referral from your Physician with a confirmed diagnosis
Book an appointment with a Physician at a Medical Cannabis Clinic
Speak with an experienced educator about strains, ingestion methods, and Licenced Providers
Order from the Licenced Provider of your choice
Come to The Herb Clinic for our open house information sessions!

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