The Role of Marijuana in Medicine

Even though U.S. Federal Law defines marijuana as a controlled substance and prohibits its use, several states allow it to be used for medical purposes. Doctors recommend medical marijuana, also known as medical cannabis, for a variety of conditions. Dispensaries sell therapeutic marijuana in several forms, but patients need a prescription to get any type. Although cannabis is generally safe, caregivers must monitor patients for side effects during its use.

A Definition of Therapeutic Marijuana

Marijuana used for medical purposes consists of Cannabis sativa plant derivatives that have been shown to relieve an array of symptoms. There are hundreds of compounds in Cannabis sativa, but just two are used for medical purposes. The first is Cannabidiol (CBD), which provides health benefits and is not considered addictive and creates no psychoactive effects. THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is the other compound and the one that can cause a “high.”

Patients May Need Authorization to Buy Marijuana

Laws surrounding the purchase of marijuana for medical treatments vary from state to state. Most states require patients to present a state medical I.D. card to purchase cannabis. Authorities need a physician’s confirmation to provide the cards. Nearly every state allows the sale of medical cannabis, even those that prohibit recreational sales.

Medical Cannabis Offers Benefits for Several Conditions

Most states that have legalized therapeutic marijuana restrict its use to a list of specific medical conditions. Patients who want to try cannabis to relieve symptoms need to meet particular requirements and have qualifying conditions such as:

  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • Chronic and severe pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Extreme nausea
  • Crohn’s Disease

Patients suffering from uncomfortable symptoms like nausea and ongoing pain often get relief when they begin using cannabis. However, many physicians try other options before authorizing the use of therapeutic marijuana.

Doctors tend to be cautious about the use of cannabis because patients can experience side effects. Therapeutic cannabis may cause dizziness, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and hallucinations, so patients using it must be carefully monitored.

Patients Can Buy Marijuana in Several Forms

The traditional way to use cannabis is to smoke it, and many patients do just that. However, medical cannabis dispensaries provide other choices that are often better suited to patients with respiratory problems that prevent smoking. Suppliers usually sell a wide variety of products in forms that include pills, vaporizing oils, oral solutions, topical applications, and dried buds or leaves. Where and how patients can legally buy marijuana and which types are available depends on their location.

Each form of marijuana affects symptoms differently. Inhaling cannabis vapors is the fastest way to get relief but also creates side effects more quickly. Pills are the slowest acting. Patients can also buy forms that do not affect moods or generate a feeling of intoxication but still provide the same relief.

In recent years, several states have legalized the sale of marijuana for medical purposes. Doctors may recommend cannabis for the relief of symptoms related to a variety of conditions that include glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Patients generally need a state-issued medical I.D. card to buy therapeutic cannabis, which is sold in several forms that do not require the patient to smoke marijuana to get relief.

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