All You Need To Know About Medical Marijuana
You can’t open the news today without hearing about marijuana and the ongoing worldwide debate surrounding this plant. Some countries have already legalized it, and within the US, you find a few states have begun the legal sale of it too.
The use of marijuana is a highly debated topic globally, but as more people start to use it and more studies are conducted on it, marijuana use is proving to be quite beneficial for the well-being of the mind and body.
We have the scoop for you on medical marijuana with everything you need to know about this drug.
What is medical marijuana?
Marijuana, which is commonly known by other terms like cannabis, is a plant that is grown globally. For centuries this plant has been used for herbal remedies to treat various ailments. Marijuana possesses compounds known as cannabinoids; these compounds are biologically active and can be beneficial for the body. The two most prominent compounds are:
- THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBD (Cannabidiol)
THC causes a high while CBD doesn’t. Both compounds have been linked to providing pain relief for those who have cancer or arthritis. Some patients feel that CBD is more effective in pain relief than THC. The World Health Organization released a report in 2017 that stated that, in its pure form, CBD is safe and has zero harm to public health. It also has the slightest potential for substance abuse.
The main medical conditions marijuana can treat
While marijuana is not a treatment to cure cancer, studies have shown that acts as an excellent pain reliever. Since it is still federally illegal in the US, there is limited research to show the actual effects of marijuana when it comes to cancer. However, it is important to note that most states have passed a law that legalizes the use of medical marijuana while recreational is still up for debate.
The use of marijuana has been shown to the ease of following conditions:
- Hot flashes
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and or vomiting
- Epilepsy that is non-responsive to other drugs
CBD in marijuana can help both children and adults with epilepsy. It has also been linked to providing some benefit for those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. However, more research needs to be conducted on these subjects.
The use of medical marijuana by cancer patients is not just for pain management. Studies show that it provides relief from numerous conditions caused by chemotherapy. Cancer patients tend to lose their appetite from the harsh effects of chemotherapy, and marijuana is an excellent way to stimulate hunger.
Doctors in Colorado, a state where medical and recreational marijuana use is allowed, have noted that when it comes to breast cancer, marijuana presents doctors with a chance to cut back on other drugs post-chemo. The plant gives patients a natural remedy, which is quite effective to combat the side effects of the therapy and has limited side effects of its own.
It allows patients to take somewhat control over their conditions as they can take marijuana whenever they feel pain or nausea without having to worry about consuming too much because you can’t overdose on it. On the other hand, it is very easy for a patient to develop an addiction from overusing pain medication.
Of course, there is a recommended amount of marijuana that doctors suggest to patients.
How is medical marijuana available?
Medical marijuana is available in different forms. Each form has different levels of potency and active compounds present. This means that the impact of marijuana can differ from one form to another. These forms include:
- Edibles such as marijuana mixed into brownies, cookies, candy, and so on
- Buds or leaves for smoking purposes
- Oils which can be used as drops in tea, food, or vaping
- Sprays used under the tongue
- Cream that is applied for topical pain relief
While smoking and vaping are probably the two most common ways to use marijuana, edibles and oil drops are catching a lot of steam. Smoking and vaping may lead to lung damage, so mixing marijuana with food or drinks is a safer option. Some of the side effects of marijuana use include dizziness, paranoia, increased heart rate, and low blood pressure.
Things you should know about medical marijuana
- There are different strains of marijuana, and within each strain, the level of THC and CBD varies. Each of the two compounds has a different effect on the body. CBD may provide more pain relief while THC may provide relief from nausea.
- Doctors can help you determine which strain is suitable, but most users find it easier to test on their own. You can find a dispensary and do your research by experimenting with the ratio of THC and CBD to determine which amount works best for you. It depends on your body so what might have worked for someone else may not for you.
- Working in a state that hasn’t legalized the use of marijuana may be a problem. If your workplace conducts drug tests on a regular basis, you may want to check with HR or review the marijuana use policy before you start using it for medical or recreational purposes.
Tips for first-time medical marijuana users
Know your marijuana strains
There are three types of marijuana strains that are available. These are:
- Cannabis Sativa: This strain is used for stimulating physical activity and creativity. Since it is used more for mental health, this strain is recommended for those with conditions such as depression or chronic fatigue.
- Cannabis Indica: This strain has provided users with health benefits related to relaxation. This strain is best for those who have chronic pain or insomnia.
- Cannabis Hybrids: This strain is developed combining the Sativa and Indica strain. These hybrids provide relief associated with each of the two strains.
Do your research
It is important that you go to a dispensary and talk to someone who knows their marijuana. You want to be comfortable with the budtender — the marijuana expert at the dispensary. You should know exactly what questions to ask to ensure that the dispensary is right for you and determine their level of expertise. Some basic questions include:
- Where do they get their product from? Is it grown organically?
- How often do they get their stock?
- What is the cost of each strain?
- What are their store hours?
These questions will give you an insight into what to expect from the dispensary and gauge their reliability.
Know your optimal dosage
While there is no proof that you can overdose on marijuana, you still want to make sure you don’t become too reliant on it. Like any medicine, there is an amount you don’t want to exceed. Make sure you follow your doctors recommended dosage and stick to it. If you still feel pain, then consult your doctor rather than consuming more marijuana on your own.
Experiment with your strain
We’ve already touched upon this, but this is an essential aspect on which new users should focus. Studies have found that THC and CBD affect each user in different ways. While they have specific benefits, they still may vary from person to person. You want to experiment with the amount of THC and CBD present in marijuana, so try out different blends. Having a reliable dispensary will help you get what you need and make the experimentation process much simpler.
When buying marijuana, you want to ensure that you get them from the proper channels. Marijuana is still readily available on the black market even as more dispensaries are established. There is a slight risk with black market marijuana as these forms are usually exposed to other substances such as PCP.
If it is legal in your state, then it is always best to get your medical marijuana from a reliable dispensary.