Medical Marijuana is a subject that stirs strong emotions among scientists, researchers, the general public, and policymakers. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana in the nation. The California law allows patients with specific requirements to legally use marijuana under a doctor’s recommendation. Over the last two decades, most states have followed suit, with the latest addition being Virginia State. Currently, 36 states and Washington DC have legalized medical cannabis in the United States. While their approaches differ from one state to another, the impact of legalizing marijuana has already been tremendous.
The changes have awakened a big industry of legal cannabis companies, including those looking at growing and distributing marijuana. Others aim to research and develop medical products containing cannabis. Besides having more than half of the U.S States approved medical marijuana, sixteen out of these states have also legalized using certain marijuana quantities for recreational purposes.
However, marijuana is still a prohibited substance at the federal level, according to the controlled Substances Act of 1970. It is classified as a schedule 1 drug with a high potential for abuse and no proven medical use, and as such, it’s illegal to use it for any reason. In the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment law, the justice department is prohibited from interfering with the implementation of medical cannabis laws in states. Overall, legalizing weed can have considerable health and economic benefits. Below we will explore a few of the benefits of legal marijuana.
What is Medical Marijuana?
Medical Marijuana is an extract of the marijuana plant to improve and treat various illnesses and conditions. People who use medical marijuana do not seek the euphoria effect but rather alleviate health problems and ease medical symptoms. The marijuana plant has over 100 different chemicals known as cannabinoids. Each of these chemicals causes a different effect on the body. Of these cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the most dominant components used in medicine.
THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Today, researchers have come with new strains of cannabis that contain few of the chemicals that cause the high and more of the cannabinoids that provide health benefits.
THC and Medical Cannabis
THC is the main component of marijuana and the psychoactive ingredient. The chemical component has several effects on the human body, including increasing pulse rate, body temperature, analgesia, sedation, and anxiety. THC is also responsible for creating the euphoric high associated with the recreational use of marijuana.
CBD and Medical Cannabis
The commonly used marijuana extract from the hemp plant is cannabidiol (CBD) because it has little to no intoxicating properties. Compared to THC, it requires about 100 more CBD for a user to feel any impact. CBD also seems to have the opposite effects to THC, such as reducing anxiety.
How Does Medical Marijuana Produce Effects on the Brain
The effects of marijuana are complex and experienced differently by individuals. The rate of its effect depends on how it’s ingested. When marijuana is smoked, the effects are almost instant because THC gets into the bloodstream quickly, causing dopamine release. On the other hand, eating marijuana makes the effects slower, taking up to an hour or even more.
The marijuana chemicals THC and CBD interact with the cannabinoid receptors found on various sites on the body. The cannabinoid receptors are CB1, and CB2 receptors are associated with various physical and mental functions. CB1 is known to influence memory, cognition, memory movement, and perception of pain. The CB2 has a role in human reproduction, including sperm survival and embryonic development.
Marijuana’s cannabinoids also act on CBD to relieve and reduce gastrointestinal inflammation. The body produces cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids perform several activities concerned with maintaining homeostasis. The chemicals in marijuana can interfere with various body regulations of some chemicals, such as dopamine. It is believed that cannabinoids increase the production and release of these chemicals. It can be consumed via things like ccell vape carts.
Uses of Medical Marijuana
In the United States, medical marijuana is commonly used to control chronic pain. In particular, it’s used by patients with multiple sclerosis and general nerve pain. Unlike other options such as opiates and Lyrica, Marijuana is not highly sedating, which means that patients can go on with their daily activities. Marijuana is also used as a muscle relaxer, and it can help lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, it’s also successful with interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and other conditions that cause chronic pain.
Another well-established use of medicinal cannabis is in increasing appetite, especially for cancer and Aids patients. It can help to manage weight loss and nausea. Other medical uses of marijuana include:
- Treating Alzheimer disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Eating disorders such as anorexia
- Mental health
- Anti-anxiety effects
Are there any FDA Approved Medical Marijuana
In 1985, the FDA approved dronabinol (marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet). These similar drugs are based on THC, a marijuana cannabinoid. They are used to manage and treat nausea, vomit, appetite loss, and in managing pain. In 2018, the FDA approved Epidolex for treating seizures common with some severe forms of epilepsy.
How to Use Medical Marijuana
You can eat, breathe in or apply marijuana to your skin.
- Ingesting medical marijuana– Edible Marijuana can come as a baked treat, infused into drinks, or a pill. When ingested, the impact of marijuana takes a bit longer.
- Smoking medical marijuana– This is perhaps the most common method of using cannabis. It can be rolled in paper or smoked through a vaping device.
- Topical application of marijuana-This method includes the use of salve, ointment, and topical patch. The topical cannabis is released directly into the skin.
There is a lot of push towards legalizing medical marijuana across the country. As more states make the use of weed legal and the marijuana industry grows exponentially, there are so many reasons to drive towards nationwide legalization.