Medical marijuana refers to cannabis or cannabinoids that are prescribed by doctors to treat different health conditions. For ages, marijuana has been used an as effective medicine to treat several ailments. It is only recently scientific research has emerged to verify the therapeutic potential of the natural drug.
Two major components of medical marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC possesses mind-altering properties and its consumption is associated with high sensation. Apart from psychoactive effects, THC is believed to affect pain and inflammation, appetite, nausea, and insomnia.
CBD – the second major component of cannabis – also possesses healing potential. Unlike THC, CBD does not create a high sensation.
Recognizing the therapeutic properties of CBD in 2018, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a cannabidiol (CBD) based medicine – Epidiolex – to treat seizure disorders. Many of the cannabis advocates describe the first FDA CBD medication approval as an implicit endorsement of cannabis therapeutic potential.
Cannabis is categorized as a Schedule 1 drug with ‘no medical use and high abuse potential’. Therefore, the research is not coming out at a pace people are using marijuana to treat their various health symptoms. Yet there is emerging evidence that shows medical marijuana can help address several health conditions.
What health issues medical marijuana helps to treat?
As noted earlier, the research on the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana is in preliminary stages. However, whatever evidence has come out endorses the healing potential of the plant. There are several health conditions that research has shown can effectively be treated using medical marijuana.
For example, scientific evidence demonstrates that medical marijuana can effectively address anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia.
Similarly, a study involving rats suggests that medical marijuana can provide relief from arthritis-related pain. Yet another study found that due to its anti-inflammatory character medical marijuana can treat skin issues such as acne vulgaris.
The natural drug is also found effective in treating some of the potentially life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy. It is widely used to treat chronic pain that plagues millions of people across the globe, especially as they age.
Part of medical marijuana’s attraction comes from the fact that it is clearly safer than opiates. No one can overdose on medical marijuana, furthermore, it is far less addictive. Particularly, it demonstrates therapeutic prowess in an area where few other options exist such as multiple sclerosis, nerve pain. Unlike opiates that are highly sedating, patients reported that medical marijuana allowed them to resume their normal activities without completely out of it and disengaged.
Consult your physician
It is always a good idea to consult a physician before starting the consumption of medical marijuana. Especially, people who are on medications need to seek doctor’s advice for possible reactions and effects prior to making any consumption decisions.
Are there any side effects of medical marijuana?
Since cannabis is a natural drug, it is safe to consume. However, there are a few mild side effects that may result from medical marijuana consumption.
National Institute of Cancer has provided a list of possible medical marijuana’s side effects, that include:
- increased heart rate
- low blood pressure
- dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting
- short-term reduced memory
- short-term reduced attention span
- decreased problem-solving skills
Besides, following the cognitive side effect may also result from medical marijuana consumption:
- lowered blood sugar levels
- adverse interaction with other medications or herbs
- dry eyes
- dry mouth
All the above-listed side effects are dose-dependent and they are most likely to affect with larger doses and with inexperienced cannabis users. Therefore, starting with smaller doses and then increasing the intake helps the patients to reap maximum health benefits while avoiding the side effects.