Hemp refers to the more fibrous form of the plant, used for fabric and industrial purposes but also for medical benefits. Hemp is arbitrarily defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC, based on regulatory decisions designed to control access to the psychoactive compound THC.  However, hemp has numerous other chemicals, particularly CBD.

The term “marijuana” is used to refer to any cannabis cultivar that contains more than 0.3% THC, and it is common for THC to be as high as 28-30% in modern cultivars. 

Each cannabis plant contains more than 500 active compounds that offer a wide range of medical benefits. These compounds include phytocannabinoids (more than 140), terpenes (more than 200), flavonoids, stilbenoids, antioxidants and many others. Every cultivar has different genetics, and every plant will grow differently and express variations in chemical content in response to environmental factors. Different plants have different “personalities” just like us! 

Phyto-cannabinoids (PCs) are the compounds most associated with the cannabis plant and include the well-known compounds CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Interestingly, PCs are odorless and tasteless oils. Terpenes or terpenoids (Ts) are the aromatic essential oils that give cannabis as well as many other plants (flowers, herbs, trees), their characteristic odors and flavors.  

The effects of cannabis are intricately linked to the complex interactions of these compounds with each other and with the human body endo-cannabinoid system in what is called the entourage effect. It has been scientifically proven that the synergistic effects of cannabis whole plant products (full spectrum) are more medically effective than single compound products (isolates), just like eating an organic salad is better than taking a synthetic vitamin.

– Written by Corey Anden, MD- #CannabisCorey

 

Evaluation and Assessment

Your relationship with your doctor is one of the most important you have. Still, visiting the doctor can often be kind of a hassle. There’s a lot of information to process, protocols and insurance to deal with. Here’s what a Dr. Anden advises to help things go their smoothest.

Our office, just like every doctors office, will have paperwork to complete prior to your appointment. Please arrive early enough to give yourself time to complete this. These forms include the basics, like your contact information, insurance information, past medical history and medications.

In addition to preparing information for filling out your history, there some other things you should know before your visit.

Use this checklist to make sure you’re well prepared for your appointment.

  1. Medical history and current symptoms: Dr. Anden will discuss your current complaint, but will also need to get a full medical history for you and your family.
  2. Surgical history: Dr. Anden will ask about your surgical history. What surgeries have you had, why and when?
  3. Medications:  Be sure to know the name, exact dosage, and frequency (the number of times you take per day) of every prescription medication, over the counter drug, supplement, and vitamin you are taking. Bring the bottles if you need to.
  4. Imaging: Dr. Anden will want to review any imaging you have had on this area. Please bring a disc with the photos or inform Dr. Anden’s office where the images were done and we can call to receive them.
  5. Lifestyle health: Knowing a little more about your life will help your Dr. Anden serve you best. She may ask questions about where you live and with whom. Other related questions include what is your occupation, exercise routine, diet, do you smoke or drink alcohol?
  6. Questions and concerns: Call the Dr. Anden’s office if you realize you have any remaining questions or concerns following your first visit.

After you complete your front-desk check-in, Dr. Anden’s Medical Assistant will bring you back for your appointment. Dr. Anden will chat with you and try to collect as much information about your condition as possible. She will do a full physical exam and test all of you refluxes. She will ask about your current complaint and go through a complete history. We will review any prior imaging you may have had. At times you may feel as though you are answering the same question, but this is the best way for Dr. Anden to fully understand your symptoms before making a diagnosis.

While the process of preparing for your first office visit may seem time-consuming, in the long-run your preparation will help the visit be a much more rewarding experience. It will give you answers to questions important to your health and well-being, and it will help the Dr. Anden understand your condition better so she can treat you effectively.