Can Marijuana Be Used as Medicine?

Medicinal cannabis or medical marijuana is on the rise for those facing medical conditions around the world. While studies are still being conducted, it has been reported that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have potential benefits for certain medical conditions. The most notable medical treatments include pain relief, anti-nausea, and anti-inflammation. This is due to the cannabinoids within the Cannabis sativa plant that interact with the endocannabinoid communication system in the brain and body. Receptors within this system inform your sleep, appetite, memory, learning, and mood. 

CBD contains trace amounts (if any) of THC, which is the “high” inducing component of marijuana, so many people who seek to gain the benefits of the Cannabis sativa plant without any mind-alterations opt for CBD products. Medicinal cannabis can be taken in various forms including sprays, capsules, topical oils or lotions, and more. 

Is Medical Marijuana Safe? 

As with any treatment for medical conditions, it’s vitally important to consult your doctor before considering medical marijuana. The topic of medical marijuana is hotly debated, specifically the benefits and long-term effects of medical marijuana. Many would argue that there is not enough research to know the long-term outcomes and are concerned about the risk of becoming dependent upon it. Others argue that the research clearly indicates the many medicinal benefits. If you are considering this as a treatment, be sure to research and discuss with your doctor to fully inform yourself. 

Is Medical Marijuana Legal?

The legality of using marijuana for medical purposes varies from state to state, so it’s important to research your area’s laws on marijuana use before considering it for any form of treatment. 

Medicinal Uses of Medical Marijuana

While studies are still being conducted, many have reported that medicinal cannabis has helped with:

  • Pain management
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle spasm control 
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Glaucoma
  • IBD
  • Parkinson’s 
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Chronic pain
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Sleep disorders
  • PTSD management
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression

Potential Side Effects of Using Medical Marijuana

If your doctor has prescribed medical marijuana or you are considering trying medicinal cannabis for treatment, it’s important to ask questions about the potential side effects, just as you would with any medication or prescribed activity. Every person is unique and it is prudent to consider all the risks involved with using marijuana for medical conditions so that you have all the information before starting.

  • May impair cognitive and motor functions: Marijuana consumption for any use can lead to short-term cognitive impairment, affecting motor skills, coordination, memory, and the ability to concentrate. Dizziness and loss of balance have also been reported side effects.
  • Psychological repercussions: Some people have negative interactions with marijuana and may experience hallucinations, paranoia, or anxiety.
  • Respiratory issues: For those with pre existing respiratory conditions, smoking marijuana can have negative impacts such as wheezing, coughing, or chronic bronchitis. 
  • Cardiovascular concerns: Heart rate and blood pressure are often increased by marijuana use, so those susceptible to heart conditions should take extreme caution. 
  • Interactions with other medications: Any time multiple medications are being consumed, it’s important for your doctor to assess the risks of mixing such medications. Confirm that adding medical marijuana to your medication line-up will not diminish or interact with any other medication.
  • Developmental risks: This is an especially concerning aspect for adolescents and young adults whose developing brains may be greatly affected by marijuana use for any reason.