When any part of the Marijuana plant is used for the treatment of health-related problems and symptoms of illness, then it is defined as Medical Marijuana. It also acts as a remedy and medication for other conditions.
Interestingly, the drug used in Medical Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana is the same. The only difference between the two is the intent of consumption. People use Medical Marijuana only for medical purposes, and not to get high.
The Marijuana plant contains many chemicals known as cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid has a different effect on the human body, because of which it is capable of treating a range of diseases and symptoms.
We can use the whole or unprocessed marijuana plant, or its essential extracts for Medical Marijuana. In the USA, the use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal only in 31 states, plus the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, as of June 2018.
What are the ingredients of Medical Marijuana?
As mentioned earlier, it contains chemicals called cannabinoids. Presently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant, which are mainly used for medical treatment, are Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC produces the pleasurable experience of feeling ‘high’ when a person smokes marijuana; but it also has some positive effects, that can be used for medical treatment. On the other hand, CBD may be useful for some health-related issues, but it doesn’t cause a person to get ‘high.’
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How does Medical Marijuana work?
When you smoke marijuana, THC travels from your lungs into the bloodstream, which causes your brain cells to release dopamine, resulting in you getting high. People who smoke marijuana start feeling its effects almost immediately, and those who eat it may not feel it up to an hour.
Whereas, CBD is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective, antipsychotic, and anti-emetic in nature. The Cannabinoids in medical marijuana are similar to the human body chemicals, which are involved in memory, appetite, movement, and pain. The health benefits of medical marijuana are as follows :
- Relieves pain and spasms.
- Reduces anxiety and stress.
- Decreases nausea and vomiting which is caused by cancer chemotherapy.
- Improves appetite and weight gain in people with cancer and HIV.
- Reduces seizures in people with epilepsy.
- Eases and relieves sclerosis symptoms like muscle stiffness, spasms, frequent urination, etc.
- Acts beneficial for several mood disorders and sleep-related issues.
What are the uses of Medical Marijuana?
Medical Marijuana may be used for the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions, diseases, and disorders such as :
- Pain and Inflammation
- Depression and Anxiety
- Crohn’s disease
- Appetite loss & Anorexia
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscle Spasms
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Wasting syndrome (cachexia)
Some interesting facts about medical marijuana :
- California was the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana, in 1996. As of now, it is legal in almost half of the US states.
- Till date, there have been about 60 research studies, observing and analyzing the health benefits of medical marijuana.
- The Results of 68 % of these studies found that medical marijuana does have health benefits. 8 % of the results concluded that it doesn’t have any positive effect at all. Moreover, the remaining 23 % of the studies could not come to any conclusion and ended up being neutral.
- Out of THC and CBD, more research has been done on CBD to date. This is because CBD has much more health benefits than THC.
- The CBD compound in medical marijuana happens to be neuroprotective in Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, & Alzheimer’s disease; and other neurodegenerative conditions & movement disorders.
- Medical Marijuana has other health benefits also, like modulating the immune system and promoting neuroplasticity.
- Furthermore, it also promotes other emotional and cognitive modulation such as learning & motivation, appetite, etc.
Legality of Medical Marijuana in the USA
- Medical Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance by the Federal Drug Administration. Thus it is illegal at the Federal level.
- As of June 2018, the use of marijuana or cannabis for medical purposes is legal only in 31 states of USA, including the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
- In most states which allow (legal) medicinal marijuana, you require a prescription, authorization, or medical recommendation to buy medicinal marijuana. Also, a card or license is issued for the same. Only if all these legal formalities are complied with, then a person is allowed to buy medical marijuana.
- In those states where medical marijuana is legal, the shops and dispensaries sell marijuana products in many forms. Medical marijuana is available in edible forms as cookies or candies, oils, extracts, etc. It is also available as a plant which can be smoked or inhaled directly.
- The Dispensaries require a medical marijuana card before they can sell the marijuana products to you. The regulations regarding the issuing of a Medical Marijuana card varies state to state. You also require a prescription from a licensed health-care professional.
What are the different ways of consuming Medical Marijuana?
There are various safe and healthy ways of consuming Medical Marijuana, as explained in the below-mentioned points :
Pack a small amount of dried marijuana into a pipe, bong (water pipe) or joint (rolling paper). Then, light a flame and burn the cannabis side of the pipe with this flame, until it combusts. Simultaneously, you can inhale the smoke from the mouthpiece or another end of the pipe.
A great quality pipe is an essential aspect of smoking medical marijuana. Also, when it comes to exploring an awesome variety of glass pipes, we recommend that you should check out the amazing collection of Mile High Glass Pipes.
First, preheat the Vaporizer to a certain temperature. Then, put in a little quantity of dried (cured) cannabis flower or extract into the vaporizer. Press the button and start inhaling the marijuana smoke. Vaporizers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, from fancy home units to pocket-friendly pens.
3.Ingestion or Eating :
Medicated food products containing medicinal marijuana can be eaten or ingested directly. Some typical examples are (medicated) brownies, ice-creams, chocolates, popcorn, cookies, etc.
4.Using Medicated Skin Products :
These skin products contain medical marijuana, as one of their chemical constituents. They can be applied to your skin directly. For example- (medicated) lotions, oils, sprays, creams, etc.
5.Tinctures or Sub-Lingual Sprays :
Tincture Sprays are made by mixing extracted cannabinoids with alcohol, glycerin solution or MCT Oil (Medium-Chain Triglyceride), which generally is coconut oil. These tinctures or sub-lingual products are mostly in the form of a small bottle. You can squirt or spray it, or you may also put a few drops of this liquid under your tongue.
Side effects of Medical Marijuana
The side effects are minimal when it is consumed in low doses. Post consumption, some short-term side effects can occur immediately like :
- Fatigue and Dry mouth.
- Mood changes like sudden happiness, feeling relaxed or sleepy, anxiety, etc.
- Short-term memory can get disrupted. Also, it can negatively affect your decision-making ability.
If medical marijuana is consumed in large doses, then there can be more severe and long-term side effects as mentioned below :
- Psychoactive effects such as hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, etc.
- In the long run, smoking marijuana can aggravate your breathing problems like asthma, bronchitis, etc. Also, it can worsen your respiratory issues even more.
- Regular smokers may develop a chronic cough and an increased risk of lung infections.
- Consumption of Marijuana during pregnancy increases the risk of health problems in babies.
- Habitual usage can lead to mental illness, depression and suicidal thoughts. It may also result in addiction.
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The good news is that there may be more potential health benefits of medical marijuana, which are yet to be discovered. Scientists from all around the globe are conducting clinical trials & experiments with medical marijuana, and its extracts to treat various health problems & other conditions.
Excess of anything is harmful and detrimental for health, and the same goes for medical marijuana too. Also, as with other medicinal drugs and medications, it needs to be consumed in a safe and balanced manner.
Always remember that its extremely crucial to consult a licensed health-care professional, before using/consuming any form of medical marijuana. Moreover, it can prove out to be quite beneficial for your health, if used the right way, as prescribed by your doctor.