While the laws surrounding medical marijuana vary from state to state, at this point, more than half of the country has legalized some form of it. Medical marijuana is the prescription use of cannabis. Essentially, users get the same product as recreational users, only with a different term and legal definition.
Currently, the FDA has only approved the use of marijuana for two conditions, both rare forms of epilepsy (Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome). However, research is being actively conducted on the many other benefits of marijuana, and doctors have begun prescribing it for different conditions.
How Does It Work?
Medical marijuana is not all that different from any other prescription. It affects the brain and nervous system, altering the messages received. This has many benefits, including relegating pain for chronic conditions.
How Is It Used?
Medical marijuana comes in many forms and can be consumed via several different means. It can be:
- Taken as a liquid (extracted from)
- Applied as a lotion/spray/oil to the skin
Each method works differently, and the preferred method varies depending on the user. Additionally, each method has a different time period before it will begin to work. For example, smoking or vaporized cannabis can be felt nearly right away, while ingesting it can take a couple of hours.
Are There Side Effects?
There are a few known side effects for medical marijuana, many of which are common knowledge these days. Side effects can include bloodshot eyes, dizziness, hallucinations, low blood pressure, drowsiness, and euphoria.
What Conditions Can It Treat?
As stated above, only two conditions have approved treatments according to the FDA. However, there are many other conditions that doctors have begun treating through these means.
Studies have shown that cannabis has a positive impact on dozens of different conditions. Most commonly, medical marijuana has been used to treat those dealing with chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia.
Further research hints towards the effectiveness of marijuana helping Alzheimer’s patients and treating those with arthritis (chronic pain), asthma, Chron’s disease, and Glaucoma.
Research has only begun to dig into the potential of medical marijuana. Recently, scientists have even found that marijuana kills specific cancer cells, indicating that someday medical marijuana may also be used as part of cancer treatment.