Oklahoma Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Legalizes Medical Marijuana

ok medical marijuanaWith a ballot measure approved by voters in Oklahoma on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the state became the 30th in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. A total of 57 percent of voters were in favor of this change, which will give doctors the right to prescribe cannabis for any condition they feel would benefit from it. This comes as a surprise to many, as Oklahoma is considered one of the country’s most conservative states. Not only did they approve this measure, but it is also one of the most liberal medical cannabis laws in the country, allowing doctors to use their discretion when prescribing marijuana.

The bill faced much opposition from many state officials but passed despite their open comments against the measure. Those who support medical marijuana legalization believe this shows the growing acceptance of cannabis treatments in our nation as a whole. It also confirms that the support of access to legal medical marijuana is a nonpartisan issue, as Oklahoma is historically a red state.

Leading up to the Election

Like many states, although Oklahoma didn’t have a comprehensive medical marijuana law in place, it did allow limited access to non-psychoactive cannabis extracts. However, the state reserved these medicines for those with seizure disorders or other severe medical conditions. Oklahoma State Question 788 gave voters the chance to vote on this issue for themselves. However, it faced vocal opposition leading up to the election. Dissidents included religious groups, the business community and even government officials like Governor Mary Fallin, Republican Senator James Lankford and others.

In fact, many believe officials placed the measure on the June primary election ballot in an effort to sink its chances. In general, older, more conservative voters attend these elections compared to the general elections in the fall. They may have hoped that younger voters and other demographics who are more in favor of medical marijuana would be less likely to vote.

In a last-ditch effort, many different groups, like the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorneys Association openly campaigned against the measure. There was even a $500,000 advertising blitz from an opposition group who tried to derail the vote.

In contrast, those in support of the medical marijuana legislation didn’t receive much funding from national drug policy reform groups. Defying all the odds, voters approved the initiative during the June primary election.

What This Means for Oklahoma Residents

Despite all the opposition, the fact that Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788 is a huge step forward for medical marijuana legislation both here and in the U.S. as a whole. It means that despite official opposition, the state is still acknowledging the voice of the people.

Unlike other state programs, Oklahoma will not have a set list of qualifying medical conditions. This means doctors will be able to use their discretion and prescribe cannabis treatments to those they feel would benefit.

Although Governor Fallin did not support the measure, she has said she would respect the will of the voters. Her main fear was that this law would open the door to the legalization of recreational marijuana. To ensure the health and safety of Oklahoma citizens, she will work with lawmakers this summer during a special legislative session. Their goal will be to:

  • Determine how best to proceed
  • Address provisions
  • Establish a regulatory framework
  • Ensure medical cannabis use will truly be for valid medical illnesses

What’s Included in the New Law?

Although the new law is subject to amendments and provisions, as drafted, it would implement a program that would make accessing medical marijuana easier than in other states. First and foremost, the Oklahoma State Department of Health would open and administer a new office. Their responsibilities would be to:

  • Enforce regulations
  • Dispense licenses for growers, distributors and producers
  • Oversee the issuing of medical cannabis ID cards

Any adult over the age of 18 would be allowed to get an ID card as long as they have authorization from a board-certified physician. Minors would need the approval of two physicians, as well as permission from their parent or legal guardian. Patients could also designate a caregiver to purchase or grow cannabis in their stead.

ok marijuana card

Once they have their state ID card, patients would be able to:

  • Possess up to three ounces of cannabis in public
  • Store up to eight ounces at home
  • Cultivate up to six mature plants and six seedlings
  • Possess one ounce of cannabis concentrates

Even patients without a medical marijuana identification card would receive a level of protection from the new law. Those caught with less than one and a half ounces of marijuana would only face misdemeanor charges as long as they state they have a medical condition. This type of offense would be punishable by no more than a $400 fine.

Once the new law is enacted and put into place, it will be a good source of revenue for the state government. Businesses that cultivate, process, transport and dispense medical marijuana would have to purchase a license from the state’s medical marijuana office. In addition, there will be a seven percent retail tax placed on cannabis purchases. All revenue earned above what’s needed to run the medical marijuana program would go to the state’s education budget, as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Looking Toward the Future

Although there is no set implementation date, Governor Fallin has stated lawmakers will begin discussing the implementation of this law as soon as this summer. This means Oklahoma patients could be receiving medical marijuana treatment in the very near future.

As a vocal advocate for medical marijuana laws throughout the United States, we at MarijuanaDoctors.com will keep you up-to-date on all changes occuring in Oklahoma and beyond. More states will be voting on similar legislation this fall during the general elections, and we will be here to report the results.

Once Oklahoma has established their medical cannabis program, you’ll never have to look far to find a qualified prescribing physician. We’re here to connect you to the top medical marijuana doctors in Oklahoma.

marijuana-before-bed

Benefits of Marijuana Before Bed

Benefits of Marijuana Before Bed

marijuana before bedMany users of both medical and recreational marijuana find that one of its most amazing benefits is its ability to act as a sleep aid. Not surprisingly, the research on this topic backs up these reports. Not only does it help treat certain medical conditions, but it actually has an impact on the biology of sleep, allowing those who use it to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

If you’re experiencing sleep disturbances, keeping some marijuana at your bedside might be the perfect tool to a good night’s rest. The right strain can provide a deep sense of relaxation, as well as other useful benefits that promote sleep. Even those with persistent insomnia find that cannabis before bed gives them the opportunity to drift into a peaceful slumber.

Marijuana’s Effect On Sleep

Marijuana affects your sleep in a variety of ways. As with most of the plant’s beneficial qualities, its interaction with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) produces these effects. Marijuana’s cannabinoids — such as THC, CBD and CBN— mimic the activity of naturally occuring brain chemicals and bind themselves to ECS receptors. The ability of cannabis to produce these effects is what allows it to regulate sleep on top of offering other medical benefits.

Specifically, both THC and CBD change a user’s sleep cycle, the process that occurs while we sleep that includes five different stages. These changes are primarily to the progression and length of the cycles. For example, the REM cycle may be shortened but the period of deep sleep is extended. However, the result is a more restful night’s sleep. Those who use marijuana as a sleep aid typically experience four key benefits.

1. Falling Asleep Faster

A moderate amount of cannabis before bedtime can be more effective than chamomile tea. Since the 1970s, researchers have found that those who use marijuana before bedtime fall asleep faster. However, moderation is key, as high doses of cannabis may produce the opposite effect.

2. Longer Periods of Sleep

Not only does marijuana help people fall asleep faster, but they also experience more extended periods of uninterrupted sleep. Increased doses of THC corresponded to increased time asleep. However, users should be aware that increasing the amount of THC they take could lead to symptoms resembling a hangover.

marijuana better sleep

3. Increased Deep Sleep

One of the sleep cycles cannabis affects the most is the slow wave or deep cycle. THC allows users to stay in this cycle longer than average. During this stage, sleep is at its most restful and revitalizing, which means the body can get the complete benefits of a full night’s sleep. Most sleep deprivation is believed to be caused by shortened or interrupted periods of deep sleep that can impact a person’s health, leading to such conditions as high blood pressure and stress.

4. Rest for Those With Medical Conditions

Many disorders and medical conditions can lead to sleepless nights. Because of marijuana’s positive effects on sleep, patients who experience difficulties sleeping due to an underlying condition may experience a restful night as a result of medicating with cannabis. Patients with the following disorders have found that marijuana is a useful treatment option:

  • Insomnia: This pervasive condition affects millions of Americans. Most patients resort to over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids, but many have found successful results by using cannabis. On average, those with insomnia were able to fall asleep over an hour faster than usual.
  • Sleep Apnea: This sleep condition — characterized by interrupted breathing while sleeping — affects a significant number of the population. Those with this disorder often stop breathing during the night, causing them to wake suddenly. As opposed to wearing a cumbersome CPAP mask to aid breathing, cannabis could be a natural treatment option. THC is a bronchodilator, which means it has been shown to calm and regulate breathing. Although there are limited research studies to confirm the plant’s treatment of sleep apnea, the few that do exist show promising results.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition one may experience after a traumatic event, such as a war, disaster or assault. One of the characteristics of this disorder is the prevalence of nightmares which lead to sleeplessness. Because marijuana shortens the REM cycle, sufferers of PTSD report fewer nightmares and higher quality sleep.
  • Chronic Pain: Pain is a common symptom associated with a massive list of medical disorders, from cancer to Parkinson’s disease to fibromyalgia. Painful sensations can disrupt a patient’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, so marijuana’s combination of pain-relieving and sleep-inducing properties is the perfect medication for those who struggle with chronic pain.

Factors To Consider Before Using Marijuana as a Sleep Aid

Before visiting your local dispensary, there are a few things to consider about using marijuana to help you sleep. Tons of different strains are out there, and if you pick the wrong one, it could have effects you don’t want or need for your unique situation. So, here are some factors to keep in mind to help you find the perfect cannabis strain for a good night’s rest:

  • Indica Vs. Sativa: When you’re searching for a strain, indica varieties tend to be the best choice for sleep. There are also a few hybrids that can be effective. However, sativa strains are known for their uplifting and energizing qualities, so you may want to stay away from them if you already have trouble sleeping.
  • Combine Terpenes To Maximize Effects: Some theorize that the terpenes present in indica strains — or the flavor and aroma profile of the plant — are what give it its sedative qualities. To maximize cannabis’ effectiveness, try combining it with natural remedies with similar terpenes, like chamomile or lavender.
  • CBD Vs. THC: Many users prefer strains with a large CBD content because this non-psychoactive cannabinoid will not get users high. However, CBD has been shown to promote wakefulness. So, you may want to consider a strain higher in THC before bedtime.

Talk To a Marijuana Doctor About Using Cannabis as a Sleep Aid

If you struggle with a condition that leads to sleepless nights and are interested in using cannabis as a sleep aid, you may qualify as a medical marijuana patient in your state. Make an appointment with a marijuana doctor near you to find out if you meet your region’s criteria.

How to Judge the Quality of Marijuana

How to Judge the Quality of Marijuana

How to Judge the Quality of Marijuana

Access to quality cannabis remains one of the premiere concerns within the industry — both for doctors, patients and those exploring the ever-evolving applications behind one of the world’s oldest whole-plant medicines.

While medical cannabis has undeniable health benefits, patients can’t tap into those benefits unless they’re utilizing the highest possible quality of marijuana.

Beyond the desire for product safety and reliability, knowing how to judge the quality of cannabis allows for more empowered consumer decision-making. By recognizing the characteristics to look for when judging marijuana and understanding the difference between high-quality and subpar cannabis, you can be sure your body gets the best.

The Importance of Buying and Using Quality Marijuana

People turn to medical marijuana for a variety of health-based, personal and lifestyle reasons. Regardless of the rationale, every consumer deserves transparent, health-supporting strains grown by professionals who take their role within the industry seriously.

It is essential to be knowledgeable and proactive about the quality of cannabis for three key reasons.

1. Health Benefits

Following the larger logic behind most things we consume and metabolize, the fresher it is, the more “goodies” our bodies can extract from it.

Like produce straight from farmer’s market, high-quality cannabis contains a more elaborate mix of the 400 to 500 chemical compounds known to exist within its composition. More than 60 of those compounds are cannabinoids with an impressive array of medical purposes.

If you’re routinely opting for inexpensive or lower-quality kush, you’re missing out on the abundant blend of antioxidants, flavonoids and phytonutrients present in certified, professionally grown and high-quality buds.

2. Potency

The lower the quality of weed, the lower the complexity of cannabinoid concentrations. With a lower level of cannabinoids, you will be less likely to experience balanced, more-regulated interactions within your endocannabinoid system.

Conversely, poor-quality or inexpensive strands can hold higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive chemical compound that is harvested for its medicinal properties and does not have the euphoric or mood-enhancing attributes of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Use your nose as the first detective indicator of the quality of your kush. There’s a reason cannabis smells are so potent, after all — those tiny, crystalline trichomes that dot their exteriors are resin glands that produce what’s known as terpenoids. Nearly 200 different variations exist in these terpenoid secretions, the combination of which is directly responsible for the smell and flavor profiles of strain types. It’s a pungent yet powerful plant fingerprint unique to a cannabis plant.

But don’t be mistaken — not all smells are made equal:

  • Sweet Aromas: Buds that give off notes of fruit, nuts and flowers are among the highest sensory hints as to the quality of the buds.
  • Earthy Aromas: Smells of pine, smoked woods, lawn grass and even bits of spice can indicate more mid-grade or average strains that haven’t gone stale.
  • Smoky or Ashy Aromas: The proverbial “skunk” smell so associated with kush is unfortunately due to prevalent, lower-quality blends. Cannabis that’s old, improperly stored, grown in unfavorable conditions or generally ill-cultivated tend to carry these balmy, strong smells.

2. Crystals and Structure

Quality marijuana can genuinely dazzle the user with its shapes and structures. Well-trimmed buds are known for their geometric intactness, showcasing visibly round and symmetrically shaped buds that indicate balanced, even growth.

Pronounced Trichomes

Quality affects both the trichome amount and composition. Craft cannabis from top-tier dispensaries often contains visible, pearly white trichome structures dotting the entirety of a bud.

Trichomes are often nicknamed “sugar” because of the appearance of its look. The more “sugar” you can see on your buds, the better.

Geometric Balance

Experts compare top-shelf cannabis to the shape of a pinecone when at its peak. This is a simple, effective way to visually assess a critical aspect of marijuana quality — with a few geometric indications.

Individual buds should be relatively even-sized and spaced. While curing marijuana produces variations in a bud’s final appearance, they should still be thick and full in appearance. Clumps of buds together should look lush and even slightly geometric. Your buds should not turn to powder when crushed, but instead, maintain some chunks. Well-cultivated cannabis may also make snapping noises when you grind it down.

Generally Intact

The trimming of your marijuana has a lot to tell you about its quality. That’s because higher-level strains tend to be more meticulously trimmed, often by hand.

Growers use specialty scissors and other tools to cut along strategic points in the plant’s nodes, maintaining the integrity of a cola, or group of buds. Stigmas and bracts should be noticeable to the eye, even after packaging compaction. Seeds and stems should be rare, but don’t be surprised if you occasionally find one even in premium cannabis.

Most importantly, the buds themselves should still look plump and round. Crushed, flattened or brittle-appearing buds are a tell-tale sign they’re not nearly as fresh as they could be.

3. Hair

“Hair” might seem like a funny thing to look out for when assessing the quality of marijuana. However, the anatomy of a cannabis plant does, indeed, contain an array of hair-like structures that play an essential role in governing individual bud quality.

That’s because as cannabis plants mature, those wispy, hair-like curls that run throughout the entire cannabis flower grow progressively darker and darker. These curls are known as pistils, and colorful pistils are a key sign of bud freshness.

You’ll be able to tell a plant’s age based on the following hair patterns:

  • Young Plants: Younger plants have white pistils, which will turn shades of orange and yellow as they age. The bigger and more pronounced the tangle of pistils, the likelier it is that you have a healthy, freshly matured plant at hand.
  • Old Plants: Older, less fresh buds will have dark brown, ashy-shaded pistils. Pistil structure will be less visible — if it’s there at all.

4. Color

Coloration is the next characteristic to look at when assessing cannabis quality. From the individual buds themselves to the color of residue or remaining oils post-ingestion, you can learn a lot about a strain — including how and where it was grown — from its overall color scheme.

color of marijuana

While the vast number of popular marijuana strains come in shades of green, this isn’t the sole color cannabis connoisseurs value. You’ll want to examine the following components:

  • The Buds: Green flowers are by far the most common hue associated with marijuana. However, the highest-quality cannabis contains green bases accented with a vibrant, near-rainbow shade of oranges, reds and purples. In other words, the more colors you see on the overall buds, the likelier it is you have a complex, fresh strain. When assessing the greenery of a bud, in particular, opt for hues that appear bright, light and lush. Crystal-appearing trichomes should dot the broader collection of buds, giving the buds a pearly, crystalline sheen. Meanwhile, hair-like pistils will lend the buds further color, with vibrant oranges or reds entangling around bud growths.
  • The Ash: Fresh, high-quality weed should leave behind nearly white ash, not residue that’s gray, brown or jet black. If you’re vaping, the cannabis should leave behind no dust or ashy residue at all.

5. Moisture Levels

While senses like smell and sight are more immediate and easily learned forms of assessment, recognizing proper marijuana moisture levels allows you to appraise the age, curing process, storage needs and more factors of quality buds. It sets you up to be an even more informed and conscientious consumer.

If possible, assess the two primary moisture variables in most cannabis flowers:

  • Stickiness: Cannabis should be mildly sticky to the touch, but not saturated. You don’t want a damp marijuana cut, otherwise, the plant has not been cured correctly and will be difficult to smoke or ingest. However, your fingers should contain small trace amounts of residue after handling any buds produced from healthy and active trichomes that weren’t dried out during the plant’s curing process.
  • Springiness: Even dense buds should have a bit of give when you apply pressure to them. Once relieved, however, buds should “bounce back” to their original plump form without deep impressions or diminishes. With too much moisture, the buds won’t the return to their pre-handled shape. With too little moisture, they’ll dissipate into powder at your fingertips.

6. Texture

Touch is an often-neglected variable when it comes to understanding and judging cannabis strains.

ripe marijuana

While many budtenders and dispensaries won’t let you touch cuts or buds with your bare hands, they may have tools to evaluate the texture-based aspects of prospective blends. This can easily complement your other forms of assessment to assure quality control with your desired marijuana type:

  • Opt for soft and plump buds that look ripe and stay full and evenly shaped when you handle them
  • Buds should have a sticky feel, rather than dry or brittle
  • Buds should not be sharp, prickly or thorny by any means. If cannabis feels this way to the touch, it’s either very old and stale or has been poorly cut. It could even contain traces of dried stem or clunky seeds that were not trimmed adequately when first harvested.

Risks Associated With Using Subpar Marijuana

Low-quality or expired marijuana not only lessons its medicinal properties, but it can also cause adverse side effects or even aggravate some of the conditions patients were attempting to alleviate.

The most common risks to look out for with ingesting low-quality marijuana include:

  • Frequent Headaches: Regularly consuming poor-quality, stale cannabis strains using any method of ingestion can leave users with headaches — which should not be occurring due to marijuana use.
  • Mold: Colloquially known as “bud rot,” cannabis mold most frequently occurs when buds have been over-exposed to moisture. The most common types of cannabis mold will dot a flower with milky black or white coatings — which can sometimes be mistaken for trichomes — but emit a strong musty smell. You can assure the difference between trichomes or mold spores by placing a flower underneath a black light. Trichomes will look the same, while spores will show up as bright, even fluorescent green under the light.
  • Mildew: While mold has a distinct fuzziness and black-light reveal, mildew can often appear like a white powder on the surface of marijuana leaves or buds. This white will be purer and more concentrated than what trichomes naturally give off, and may even look like the cannabis plant’s leaves have been sprinkled with snow. If so, the plant has been compromised.

Don’t hesitate to shop around between multiple dispensaries to guarantee you’re getting the highest quality product for your purchase. Ask budtenders questions about a specific strain’s cultivation, harvesting and curing practices, as well as what would work best for your lifestyle or intended medicinal needs. If you aren’t satisfied with the thoroughness of their answers, look up other area dispensaries to seek their expertise.

Your Trustworthy Source to Connect With Quality Doctors, Cannabis Dispensaries

MarijuanaDoctors.com is the nation’s premier medical service organization dedicated to connecting patients with cannabis-inclusive medical practitioners and transparent healthcare information. Whether you’re just beginning to research medical marijuana or are looking to update your prescription, MarijuanaDoctors.com can facilitate your needs in this established field of healthcare.