Know Your Bud: Euphoria, Relief Come in Many Forms

closeup photo of a cannibus bud


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Now that marijuana is legal in many parts of Montana, many seniors might ponder whether to give it a try. As with all new things, a little knowledge can be very useful, especially knowing what to expect in medical recreational applications.


It starts with knowing the ingredients. The plant from which marijuana is derived, known as Cannabis sativa, produces two main kinds of cannabinol. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the ingredient that provides the feeling of euphoria, the so-called “high” forbidden by law until recently in parts of Montana and elsewhere. CBD (cannabidiol) products, which contain virtually no THC, can be purchased over the counter. It produces no high and is believed to work with other elements of the body to produces feelings of well-being. CBD is best suited for people who don’t want the psychoactive effects of THC. 

“The older generations look to cannabis to try to find some kind of natural relief, rather than deal with the pharmaceuticals doctors are prescribing,” said Eric Harding, Lifted Meds operations manager. “The most commonly sought relief by seniors is looking to treat arthritis, and typically we can recommend a pain cream or salve that has a lot of other therapeutic ingredients as well.”

According to Harding, THC and CBD in combination can definitely work very well with other ingredients, like essential oils. “It can be very therapeutic to help with arthritis or sore muscles in the shoulder, for example,” he said.

The National Institutes of Health reports, in concentrations below 10, or even 5, percent, cannabis has demonstrated efficacy in treating neuropathic pain.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, drugs containing cannabinoids can also be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer, as well as treating for weight loss and loss of appetite associated with HIV/AIDS. It also cites evidence suggesting cannabinoids can be useful for chronic pain, for multiple sclerosis symptoms, and for sleep issues.

First-Timer Dispensary Decisions

For newcomers looking for recreational marijuana, walking into a dispensary is almost like walking into a wine shop. But, instead of wine or a sommelier to guide them through, they’ll find budtenders offering wide array of products, from a host of bud varieties to pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes, edible products, concentrates, and more. Indica and sativa varieties and hybrids are available, with mysterious names such as Kush or Diesel or Blue Dream. 

Knowing what you want from marijuana will help budtenders guide you toward the varieties you might seek. For example, if you’re having trouble sleeping or having really bad anxiety, budtenders may recommend indica. People remember this variety as “in the couch.” It’s considered a relaxing, sleepy-time flower. 

Sativa varieties, on the other hand, are referred to as the workman’s weed: they help with energy and focus and allow users to accomplish their tasks—so long as they’re not driving or operating machinery—while getting a calming high. 

Hybrids can blend the two into a balance of relaxation, euphoria, and focus.

Everyone reacts differently to the effects of marijuana, depending on their palate.

“I find it very relaxing,” Harding said. “It slows me down, allows me to focus and complete a project. It’s mood-enhancing and puts a smile on my face.” 

Smoking Unnecessary people just don’t like to smoke, and edible and cannabis-infused tincture options are available for those seeking a high without the toke. 

Upstairs in Lifted Meds’s Kalispell shop, a crew works in a manufacturing kitchen to produce 95 percent of the company’s edible marijuana products. They produce gummies, gourmet chocolates, brownies, rice crispy treats, and infused breads, butters, and even cantaloupe. Seasonal items include cherry cordials and huckleberry loaves.

Lifted Meds makes between five thousand and eight thousand edible cannabis pieces every couple of days and can produce gummies in batches of 10 thousand in a few days.

Strains, Blueprints, Terpenes

Lifted Meds grows and produces marijuana plants at its High Humidity Farms. Most of their flower product is grown indoors. Harding, who serves as the company’s farm compliance officer, said the company has three different farms where they cultivate marijuana, with about 80 different strains growing. But within those strains are different phenotypes, which puts the total around 110. Phenotypes are the plants’ physical blueprints.

“Cannabis is a lot like humans,” he said. “Even though they may be from the same strain, each seed has different profiles, like children do, with different attributes.” 

Finding the right strain will help ensure a comfortable, enjoyable experience, said Harding, adding that no one strain is right for everybody.

“It’s really the terpene profile that makes up the genetic profile of the cannabis strain,” he said.

Terpenes are organic compounds providing flavor, taste, and aroma in cannabis flowers. They can influence how strong the weed may be, by interacting with cannabinoids.

“In today’s market we find a lot of people looking for the high THC percentage, but terpenes play just as an important factor in finding the right cannabis strain for you,” Harding said. 

Cannabis farmers are breeding seeds to create different strains with different terpene levels. Growers can sometimes process flowers that can be more potent with THC and CBD.

Safety First

“Cannabis is much safer today than it was prior to (legalization), just for the regulations on lab testing,” Harding said. “Not everyone grows good, clean cannabis. There are still farmers who will use pesticides that are systemic. Regulators will tell these farmers if their (product) is not up to standards.”

Shoppers visiting a Montana recreational or medical marijuana dispensary should be purchasing lab-tested, approved products. With the new rules, Harding said, each product is supposed to have a QR code, so customers can scan to see the testing results. However, there are still variances. Products can still have solvents or certain parts per millions of molds, for example, but it’s still passable product, still safe for human consumption. 

“It’s just like the produce market,” Harding said.” We don’t realize a lot of our produce in grocery stores is produced by big corporate farmers that grow outside, that deal with bugs and spray pesticides and that we consume and eat every day, and that isn’t even nearly as regulated as marijuana is.”

He claimed marijuana use has minimal negative impacts on users, however they should be aware of some of the after effects. 

For example, smoking it all the time is not recommended, due to the risk of potential carcinogens. As well, users can get the “munchies,” which can lead to weight gain and cottonmouth, that dry sensation from smoking or taking edibles.

“That’s the worst side effect from cannabis I can think of,” Harding said. “I believe it’s a pretty safe product, but just like any medicine or recreational drug, they can be abused. But in the right application, in the right form, there are several benefits to cannabis.”

Opening Day: Joy All Around

Harding said Lifted Meds received a lot of “happy customers” when doors opened after the first of the year, when recreational use became legal in the state.

“Our doors were flooded with a line out the door,” he said. “I think it’s starting to balance out a little bit. But it’s just the calm before the storm.” 

He noted once the tourist season hits, Montana will be flooded with millions of visitors, marking potential for tremendous growth in the state’s recreational marijuana industry.

“We knew what was coming, we were prepared for the flower aspect, but, as far as the supply and demand of the derivatives and the concentrates and the edibles, that’s a more challenging part to keep up with,” said Harding. “Lifted Meds and High Humidity Farms have a good stock on flower, and we don’t expect to run out.” MSN

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