Medical Marijuana: 3 Things To Know
Medical marijuana has long been used as an alternative option to help relieve pain, nausea, and other ailments. The marijuana or cannabis plant, which is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, contains cannabinoids that cause psychoactive effects. Psychoactive substances bring about changes in the thoughts, feelings, and moods of an individual.
The chemicals used for medicinal purposes in the case of marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s the chemical THC that produces that feeling of ‘getting high’ once ingested or inhaled. Although federal laws in the United States still consider cannabis a Schedule I drug, many states have declared marijuana legal. Depending on which state you reside in, marijuana may be used legally for recreational or medicinal purposes.
States that have legalized medical marijuana require patients to have medical marijuana cards. These cards can be procured in places like the Sanctuary Medical Marijuana Cards, where licensed medical marijuana doctors can evaluate patients and issue cards to those who qualify.
A Brief History Of Medical Marijuana
Since ancient times, the cannabis plant has been used by the earliest physicians to treat medical ailments. It was initially used to create fabric and rope in China and Japan during the Neolithic Age. The oldest known archeological proof of burning cannabis was found around 3,500 BC inside Romanian grave vessels.
Emperor Shen Nung’s pharmacopeia listed the earliest record of the cannabis plants being used as medicine. Ancient texts from Assyrians, Hindus, Greeks, and Romans also revealed that cannabis seemed to have therapeutic effects and could be used to treat medical conditions such as inflammation, arthritis, and chronic pain. The plant would be dried, crushed, turned into powder, and mixed into medicines.
By the 1800s, cannabis extracts were being sold by pharmacies across Europe and the United States to treat stomach pain. In the United States, the cannabis plant was introduced way back in the 17th century to produce clothing and rope. It was during the 19th century that Americans incorporated the cannabis plant into their medicinal products.
With the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, the U.S. Congress effectively declared cannabis illegal. In 1970, cannabis was classified as a Schedule I drug, lumping the plant with dangerous and addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine. The image of cannabis as a dangerous and highly addictive drug, however, diminished. In 1996, California declared medical use of marijuana as legal—the first state to have done so.
What You Need To Know
The effects of marijuana in treatments of medical conditions have been long debated in the medical field. Whether you’re using it for its supposed medical results or primarily for relaxation, here are a few things you need to know about medical marijuana:
Forms of Medical Marijuana
Patient consumption of medical marijuana comes in different forms or ways. Choosing the best method would be on personal preferences. Listed below are the common types or forms of medical marijuana that you may find in shops legally allowed to sell them:
- Pills/Capsules: Cannabis oil with THC and CBD are contained in capsules and pills that could easily be swallowed and digested. This type of treatment claims to have more potent effects compared to being burned or vaporized. One advantage of consuming medical marijuana pills is that dosage is easily regulated.
- Vaporizing: This method is done by heating the plant and inhaling the vapor and is considered to be one of the more affordable options in consuming medical marijuana. However, this method makes controlling the dosage a bit harder. Those with pulmonary problems shouldn’t use this method as this could irritate the lungs and cause other issues.
- Patches: Also known as transdermal patches, this method is typically used for treating pain. Once the patch is applied to clean skin, the CBD is absorbed into the body. As with pills, the dosage of patches can be easily controlled. One disadvantage of using medical marijuana patches is that they could cause allergic reactions such as rashes
- Topicals: This method is quite similar to using patches. It can be absorbed through the skin. Topicals such as oils and lotions can be infused with cannabis oil and directly applied to the skin.
The methods or ways of consuming medical marijuana aren’t limited to the options listed above. Have a medical consultation first before trying out other ways on how to consume the drug. You may also want to ask your doctor if there are other forms or methods that you could try.
Side Effects Of Medical Marijuana
Further studies are still needed to fully understand the extent of what marijuana does to the body. If you are a first-timer taking medical marijuana, you might want to look out for the following side effects:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Low blood pressure
Other side effects that physicians are looking into are effects on the mental health and lungs of the user. Methods such as vaping or smoking medicinal marijuana are supposed to cause lung problems such as bronchitis. Long-term memory loss and a decline in I.Q. are also believed to be effects of extended consumption of marijuana. Additional research, however, is needed to provide enough evidence to prove such claims fully.
While most side effects might not apply to everyone taking medical marijuana, it’s best to communicate with your doctor if you experience some of them.
The strength and potency of medical marijuana might vary depending on its dosage and where you purchased it from. The United States does not regulate marijuana the same way the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates prescription medicine.
Additionally, in states that legalize the use of medicinal marijuana, doctors will require you to present a copy of your ‘marijuana card’ before they prescribe the medicine. Not all states in the U.S. have been mandated to incorporate it in medical practices. Out of the 50 states, 36 have decided to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
Medical marijuana is slowly gaining popularity as a possible treatment for chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, and other medical disorders. With cannabis being readily available in many states in the U.S., patients must first discuss its proper usage, adverse effects, and regulations of purchasing and consuming marijuana with their doctors.