What Is Medical Marijuana? 3 Things To Know | cannabisMD

What Is Medical Marijuana? 3 Things You Need To Know

3 things you need to know about medical marijuana

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Cannabis or marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. However, due to its potent recreational use and tendency to cause addiction, it is a banned substance in America and Canada. If fact its consumption is limited across the world. However, legalized marijuana and cannabis products are allowed in some states of America for medical benefit. While science addresses it as Cannabis, users term it as marijuana. For the sake of this article we will call it marijuana.

Genus Cannabis contains hundreds of compounds and more than eighty of those are cannabinoids. One of the most psychoactive cannabinoid or psychotropic compound in cannabis is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Some of the other cannabinoids present in marijuana, a plant which is native to some parts of Australia include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabicyclol (CBL). These variants contain negligible amounts of psychoactive substance.

Incidentally, Indica and Sativa are two important variants of genus cannabis that produce large amounts of psychoactive cannabinoids. Medicines made out of these compounds are available across America and Canada as schedule II and schedule II class pharmaceutical products.

While THC is produced from the stem of genus cannabis which contains high amounts of this substance, CBD which is less psychoactive is manufactured by distillation of its flower seeds. Most of the marijuana medicines use this oil which as mentioned is extracted from the flowers of marijuana plant. Medical marijuana is cultivated under strict supervision and in limited area, and the medicines made from it are available from cannabis dispensaries, statewide registered programs and special drug stores approved by the licensing authorities.

Growing research is pointing to the many benefits of cannabis for the relief of pain in patients. As a result, interest in the potential uses of medical cannabis has skyrocketed in recent years across America and the wider world. In many states the product remains illegal, but in others it represents a rapidly growing and thriving industry.

3 Things That You Need to Know About Medical Marijuana and its Application Areas
Marijuana based medicines have been proven to be of huge benefit for both mental and physical illnesses.
Marijuana medicines typically contain one of the two below mentioned substances.

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. As mentioned above, the marijuana plant has hundreds of chemical compounds and more than eighty of them are cannabinoids. One of the substances with high levels of psychoactive element is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. However, its use is limited to very few medicines. Moreover, it is diluted extensively before it is made available for medicinal use.

The other form of cannabinoid with negligible amount of psychoactive element is cannabidiol or CBD which simply means it has less euphoric property. This compound is used for most of the marijuana medicines. By using CBD as the main source, products derived from it are typically available off the shelf or under normal prescription. These are classified as schedule II or III medicines.

Because marijuana is a banned substance and its medicinal research limited to few labs. This means the exact benefits or the efficacy of some of its derivatives is still uncertain. However, with the increasing number of THC and CBD medicines available in the drug stores and its growing popularity amongst users definitely point towards its genuine curing and healing properties. Interestingly, all marijuana medicines are administered in strict dosage and anything less or more may aggravate the symptoms.

Uses of Medical Marijuana
1. Marijuana users report significant reductions in the levels of anxiety.
2. Due to its anti inflammatory and analgesic properties patients can find instant relief from swelling and associated pain.
3. Some of the side effects of surgeries and chemotherapy are negotiated through marijuana medicines, especially nausea and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
4. Medicines derived from medical marijuana help slow down the growth of tumors and reduce the spread of cancer cells. It is also known to terminate cancer cells.
5. THC based drugs relax muscle and combat muscle aches and pains.
6. It helps improve immune system and stimulate appetite.

Cannabinoid compounds have positive impact on cannabinoid receptors CB (1) and CB (2) in a human brain. They secrete similar anti-inflammatory and analgesic chemicals. Apart from producing these substances the human body also releases other types of chemicals which are similar. They improve appetite, memory, immune system and multiple sclerosis.

Marijuana medicines can be bought from limited number of drug stores which are also known as dispensaries. They are prescribed strictly under doctor’s written recommendation. Moreover, not many doctors advise patients to opt for something which has not been advocated by majority of medical professionals. The availability depends on marijuana’s legal status in that particular state. Even after getting the prescription and submitting the relevant documents it may still be difficult to find the right medicine with the right potency and contents.

Medical marijuana can be consumed, applied or sprayed which makes it extremely versatile. It is available in an array of forms and application types such as – capsules, medicated candy, vapor concentrates, tinctures, cannabis edibles, dermal ointments and inhalers.

Each of these administering methods has a different impact. For example, to reduce anxiety one can simply inhale CBD oil by adding few drops to a desktop vaporizer. Tincture mixture can be applied directly onto a wound. Dermal patches can be used on the face to treat acne and assorted skin ailments. Incidentally, tablets take a longer time to provide relief.

The Side Effects of Medical Marijuana
Medicines which contain THC or CBD can cause some medical issues such as:

  1. A dulling of the senses
  2. Speech difficulties
  3. Increased heart rate and low blood pressure
  4. Impaired motor control
  5. Loss of focus or concentration
  6. Short term memory issues
  7. It is also noticed that medical marijuana decreases reaction times or reflexes

Medical marijuana has its benefits and shortcomings. It is still in its nascent stage. Much more testing is required in order to understand its uses and effects in more depth. However, with more and more promising lab tests, extracts of marijuana for medicinal application seems like a much needed respite for chronic sufferers.

Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty is a writer and multimedia producer for cannabisMD where she is constantly evaluating the continued growth of CBD and its presence in the news. Her research and writing on cannabis and CBD can be found at niamhtumilty.com.

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