What is Cannabis?

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is derived from the cannabis species plants cannabis sativa, cannabis ruderalis and cannabis indica.
In PA: Medical cannabis has been approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to treat 17 qualifying conditions and will be available to patients in 2018.


What are the different forms of Cannabis?

  • Marijuana: dried leaves and flowers

  • Concentrates: made from the resin of the cannabis plant where it is dried and pressed into small blocks

  • Oil: thick oil that is distilled from the cannabis plant or hashish

In PA: Under Act 16 of 2016 , the only types of medical cannabis allowed are pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, liquid and non-whole plant forms.


Where can Cannabis be grown?

Cannabis can be grown in almost any climate, but thrives in warm, indoor areas.
In PA: Only licensed growers and processors are permitted to grow medical marijuana indoors in highly secured facilities.



What types of compounds are in Cannabis?

There are more than 500 chemical compounds in cannabis. The two major active chemicals in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta- 9 tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC). CBD is considered to be one of the chemicals in cannabis that has medical applications with no psychoactive properties. THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis causes the “high” associated with use.
In PA: Products containing both THC and CBD products will be available. Dosage of each compound will be determined through doctor recommendation.


What are the medical uses of Cannabis?

Research and evidence has shown that medical marijuana can assist patients suffering from certain medical conditions by alleviating pain and improving their quality of life.
In PA: Under the Medical Marijuana Program, patients who are residents of the commonwealth and have a serious medical condition as certified by a physician will be able to obtain medical marijuana at approved dispensaries and have a validly-issued permit from the department.


The statute defines a “serious medical condition” as any one of the following:




Crohn’s Disease




Huntington’s Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Intractable Seizures

Multiple Sclerosis


Parkinson’s Disease

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Chronic Pain

Sickle Cell Anemia

Spinal Cord Nerve Injuries


Photo credit: Leafly.com