In the United States, Medical marijuana has started receiving constitutional backing with more than 20 states already legalized the usage.
In the recent years, alternative medicine has become one of the popular ways to relieve everything from depression to back pain. Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, crystal therapy and other sorts of alternative methods have proven effective and serve as common replacements to the traditional doctor’s office visit. One of these effective methods that is replacing frequent visit to the hospital is use of medical marijuana.
Use of some herbs for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient Chinese era; there has been a long and well-recorded uses of this “magical” herb praised for its hallucinogenic and soothing qualities.
The laws that allows people to buy and use medical marijuana in United States requires the individual to get a prescription from doctor which will them allow the individual to obtain a card known as “marijuana card” that he can use to buy marijuana from authorized sellers known as dispensary.
Medical marijuana is mostly use for relieving pain, treating muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, soothe nausea from cancer chemotherapy, heal Cohn’s disease and seizure disorders.
How Does Medical Marijuana Work?
According to Laura Borgelt, PharmD, of the University of Colorado, human body produces a chemical that works like marijuana; this chemical affects pain, inflammation and lots of other processes. When you take medical marijuana, it will help these natural chemicals to work faster and better, enhancing their overall quality and function.
Medical marijuana is gaining increase in popularity since it was legalized in many states in United States. Decades of research have revealed a number of health benefits of medical marijuana, some of which include:
1. Pain Relief
Pain relief is one of the most common uses of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana contains an ingredient known as tetrahydrocannabinol which is responsible for pain relief when taken. Studies revealed that tetrahydrocannabinol works by activating pathways in the central nervous system. This pathway will then block pain signals from being sent to the brain. They are also very effective in relieving neuropathic pain or nerve-related pain.
A 1970 research showed that smoking marijuana can help to significantly decrease symptoms in glaucoma patients. Glaucoma is an eye disease that can damage the optic nerve and cause loss of vision. Medical marijuana can be used to prevent this condition. According the National Eye Institute, Marijuana, when smoked, can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and also in glaucoma sufferers. It can help to reduce the progression of the glaucoma disease and total blindness.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Another common use of medical marijuana is in treatment of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients who suffer from PTSD can get relief from taking medical marijuana. Interestingly, it can also lead to temporary impairments of memory. Research has shown that taking medical marijuana orally can aid in relieving a variety of PTSD-related symptoms which includes agitation, flashbacks and nightmares.
4. Nausea and Vomiting
Since the 1980’s, medical marijuana has been made available in the pills that are used in the treatment of nausea and vomiting in the cancer patients. Marinol is the FDA first-approved medicine that contains synthetic medical marijuana, since then, other pills containing medical marijuana have been developed and prescribed to patients undergoing chemotherapy. Example of such a pill is Cesamet.
The use of medical marijuana for the treatment of asthma is not popular yet. However, according to a research, medical marijuana has an ability to improve breathing in asthmatic patient. The research also showed that smoking marijuana could help calm asthma attacks.
6. Sleep Aid
Medical marijuana possesses sleep-inducing effect. Studies revealed that taking oral doses of medical marijuana can help both the insomniacs and healthy individuals fall asleep faster. Those who suffer from sleep disorder known as sleep apnea can use medical marijuana to improve night-time breathing and reduce sleep interruptions.
7. Appetite Stimulant
Apart from helping patients with sleep apnea sleep better, medical marijuana also act as powerful appetite stimulant in both sick and healthy individuals. Hence, some drugs that contain medical marijuana such as Cesamet and Marinol are regularly prescribed to cancer patients and those with HIV-associated wasting syndrome to boost their appetite.
How Can You Use Medical Marijuana?
When you get your medical marijuana from the dispensary, you may use it in one of the following ways:
- Take as a liquid extract
- Eat it in the form of cookies or candy
- Smoke it
- Vaporize it
Marijuana Side Effects
Just like other medicines, medical marijuana also comes with some side effects albeit minor ones. Some side effects of medical marijuana include:
- Short-term memory loss
Risk and Limits
Unlike other FDA-approved medicines, medical marijuana is not closely-watched by FDA. You may not be aware of its potential to lead to cancer or side effects when using it. Medical marijuana is recommended only for those who have gotten their marijuana card from a certified medical doctor. Doctors are not allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to people under 18 years of age, pregnant women, those with history of psychosis and people with heart disease.