Explaining the benefits of cannabis to your grandma

No matter how trendy cannabis might be today, there are still plenty of misconceptions. That’s reflected in the fact that, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last March, most Gen Zers, Millennials and Gen Xers  are in favor of legalized marijuana, while baby boomers are divided and adults over 65 years old mostly said, “No thank you.”

What’s interesting, though, is nearly all the poll’s participants said they would support the legal use of medical marijuana as a treatment option if their doctor prescribes it. And indeed, a 2016 report by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy found that a lifetime use of cannabis carried a low risk of dependence, affecting only nine percent of the people surveyed. Other data suggests that cannabis can contribute to a low risk of developing lethal damage to the heart, declines in IQ or schizophrenia, and some studies have noted cannabis’s benefits toward mitigating chronic pain, motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis and even some types of cancer.

Related: How to Start a Cannabis-Focused Branding and Design Business

Still, mention cannabis to the average grandmother and she’ll probably sport a worried expression as she pictures stereotypical stoners and drug addicts. Admittedly, further scientific research is necessary to understand its potential medical applications, but in the meanwhile, scientists continue to develop cannabis-based treatments backed by legitimate medical research.

OWC Pharmaceutical Corp. Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Oron Yacoby Zeevi boasts more tthan 20 years of extensive experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and is fascinated with the healing power of cannabis, particularly for its potential to treat of complex, multifactorial diseases. However, she believes that nowadays there are too many companies trying to transform the world of cannabis, and that the only way the scientific community will make any significant difference in patient’s lives is by working together and sharing results.

STUDY: Seniors are the fastest-growing age group to use marijuana despite barriers

One obstacle is that not everyone is willing to smoke cannabis, even if it’s solely for medical purposes. Smoking solutions are often stigmatized and, along with the fear of getting high, may be the reason so many people choose to stay away. But there are a few alternatives out there. Vaporizing provides a smoke-free cannabis experience produced by heating up the plant up to a temperature at which the active ingredients are released as — per the name — a less harsh and less odorous vapor.

Vaporizing can also dramatically reduce the harms associated with inhaling toxins in marijuana smoke. Edibles — in the form of chocolates, gummy candies and other products — are another way to avoid smoking, but this method requires a lot more patience because of the digestive process involved, and can have intense psychoactive effects. And then there’s CBD, a key ingredient of marijuana that was successfully isolated by Dr. Rafael Mechoulam back in the ’60s. It doesn’t get you high and has no hallucinogenic effects, but is increasingly cited as a source of pain and anxiety relief, and comes in several forms including pills, oils, balms, vaping devices and edibles.

Related: 7 Facts About Starting a Cannabis Dispensary in 2019

An additional alternative was recently developed by Dr. Oron Zeevi’s team at OWC, which created a sublingual cannabis-based tablet that is currently being tested in a clinical trial by Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Fund. The tablet is designed to be absorbed under the tongue, enabling cannabinoids to enter the blood system more rapidly at specific doses and providing quick pain relief, essentially acting as an all-natural Advil.

CANNABIS IN MEDICINE: This new cannabis-based painkiller is 30 times more effective than Aspirin

While cannabis sativa is one of the world’s longest-cultivated plants, its medical use remains controversial. For this reason, it’s important to understand the progress that is being made by the scientific community, because what used to be taboo in the past is suddenly in high demand, possibly even by grandma.

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Yoav Vilner