Medical marijuana is used to treat certain medical conditions. While it isn’t legal in every state, more and more states are getting on board with using marijuana for medicinal purposes. The FDA has only approved the use of medical marijuana for epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, but many health practitioners are prescribing medical marijuana for a host of other chronic issues. There haven’t been a lot of studies conducted on the use of marijuana for health issues, however, many people are turning to it to help ease their pain and symptoms.
Uses for Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana is being used to treat numerous health issues including:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Mental health conditions
- Multiple Sclerosis
If you are experiencing symptoms or side effects of medical treatment, especially pain and nausea, talk with your doctor about all your options before trying marijuana. While medical marijuana can be used to treat symptoms it is not seen as a cure, but can help you have a better quality of life.
How It Helps
The active chemicals in marijuana – cannabinoids – are similar to chemicals in the body that helps appetite, memory, and pain. There isn’t a lot of research yet, however, research that has been conducted shows that cannabinoids can reduce anxiety, inflammation, pain, control nausea, and help manage the symptoms of cancer. When THC enters the body, it attaches to and stimulates cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The stimulation of these receptors affects the body in various ways. Among its effects are reduced pain and inflammation, increased appetite, nausea, and insomnia.
THC and CBD
THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. This is what gives you the “high” feeling when you take medical marijuana. CBD is another compound found in marijuana that doesn’t have a psychoactive and is thought to be behind many of the health benefits of marijuana. Medical marijuana is available in a wide range of THC and CBD products.
How to Take Medical Marijuana
There are a few ways you can take medical marijuana they include:
- Inhaling it through a vaporizer
- Eating it
- Applying it to the skin in the form of lotions and creams
- Tinctures that are placed under the tongue
Your medical provider can help you decide which method of ingesting medical marijuana is right for you. Not all methods work the same way. A licensed provider can help determine the dose you need to experience the benefits.
Is It Safe?
While there hasn’t been a lot of studies done on the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana, some side effects of taking it include:
- Increased heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Increased appetite
There is great debate on the addiction associated with medical marijuana use. Another risk is for patients that smoke it. Smoking can increase your chances of COPD or lung cancer. It is important to work with a medical provider when beginning any alternative treatment.
How to Get Medical Marijuana
In states where medical marijuana is legal, you can go to dispensaries to get it. You should always consult with your doctor before starting any treatment. You will also need to get a medical marijuana card from a healthcare provider. The laws for medical marijuana vary by state so ensure you read up on the laws for your state before trying to obtain a license.
If you suffer from a chronic condition and are considering using medical marijuana when other treatment options have failed, you will need to talk to your healthcare provider. Your doctor can help you determine if using medical marijuana will benefit you.
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