What makes marijuana medical grade?
Medical marijuana refers to the use of the Cannabis plant as a physician-recommended herbal therapy. A quick check of Wikipedia for Medical Cannabis provides an excellent description of medical cannabis, and provides a general history of cannabis as medicine including an immense amount of supporting documentation.
Cannabis as a medicine became common throughout much of the world by the 19th century. It was used as the primary pain reliever until the invention of aspirin. Modern medical and scientific inquiry began with doctors like William Brooke O'Shaughnessy and Moreau de Tours, who used it to treat melancholia and migraines, and as a sleeping aid, analgesic and anticonvulsant.
Cannabidiol, also known as "CBD", is a major constituent of medical cannabis. CBD represents up to 40% of extracts of the medical cannabis plant. Cannabidiol relieves convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, nausea, and inhibits cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown cannabidiol to be as effective as atypical antipsychotics in treating schizophrenia. In November 2007 it was reported that CBD reduces growth of aggressive human breast cancer cells in vitro and reduces their invasiveness. It thus represents the first non-toxic exogenous agent that can lead to down-regulation of tumor aggressiveness. It is also a neuroprotective antioxidant.
The fact is, all marijuana can be considered medical-grade, meaning it has some therapeutic effect. If you are consuming marijuana to alleviate a medical condition, or the treatment of that condition, you are using marijuana medicinally, hence medical marijuana. Many believe medical marijuana has to be of a minimum potency or that it should be grown organically, but those are strictly personal preferences. Marijuana only needs to be consumed by a person to treat a medical condition to be considered medical marijuana.
Marijuana strength, or potency, is different from strain to strain with lower strengths starting at 2 - 3% THC, and strong strains with a THC potency level of up to 30%. Stronger cannabis does mean less has to be consumed per dose so if the patient smokes, stronger may be better in terms of their overall health. Organically grown marijuana, free of chemicals, fertilizers, pests and their excretions, is also a better treatment option for patients. Purity and lack of contaminants, including molds, chemicals, fertilizers or anything in your grow environment including pests and their excretions, are important considerations that patients must weigh. Lower strength strains can be processed to make a hash or extract to lessen the amount needed per dose and are a very useful way other then smoking to get your medical relief.
If you don't know where it was grown or who grew it, the marijuana you're consuming could be contaminated by anything. Commercial-grade (street) cannabis is often transported across the border in garbage trucks, used hazardous waste containers, and is often coated, wrapped or covered with any number of chemicals to hide the scent from dogs and devices. It has also been reported that some street dealers are adding lead to bags of marijuana so they weighed more. Perhaps the biggest concern for a marijuana consumer is improperly processed marijuana. Marijuana not properly harvested and dried not only adds weight but also molds easily. Contaminants are dangerous enough for healthy people but they can be deadly for the sick.