The term “medical marijuana” might provoke some questions. You might be thinking:
- What makes medical marijuana different from regular cannabis?
- Is it safe?
- Can it be prescribed to minors?
You’re not alone in thinking these questions. Many have heard of the benefits of medical marijuana, but not everyone knows how it works. Some patients are still put off by the idea of trying it, even though it could help their condition.
However, cannabis products help people every year deal with chronic pain, mental health issues, illnesses, etc.
Here, we’ll share more about medical marijuana and its uses as a medication.
What is in Medical Marijuana?
Cannabis has many components, the most well-known one being THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. TCH is usually the element mainly associated with cannabis. However, there are over 500 other chemicals in cannabis, including over 100 compounds directly related to THC, called cannabinoids.
CBD is one of two main components in medical marijuana (the other being THC). Known as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD offers many therapeutic properties, among them:
- Anxiety relief
- Pain relief
- Anti-psychotic capabilities
CBD is not psychoactive. This is why it’s used in most forms of medical marijuana. Most CBD is derived from a type of cannabis plant known as hemp, which contains less than 0.04% THC. All strains of marijuana do contain some THC and some CBD, but sometimes the level of THC is so low that it’s virtually undetectable.
This is the preferred method of consumption for most patients who use medical marijuana, but there are some strains that have a higher THC content.
How Does Medical Marijuana Work?
Medical marijuana works the same way that all CBD products work. Cannabinoids are like chemicals already created in your body that are involved with appetite, memory, movement, and pain.
The human body has endocannabinoid receptors to which cannabinoids attach. These endocannabinoids keep internal functions running smoothly. CBD does not attach directly to the body’s receptors, but it does influence how they work and, in some cases, activates them.
The simple explanation: Medical marijuana generally helps regulate the way that the body functions by helping the endocannabinoids in the body. Since the endocannabinoids already exist in the body, CBD isn’t a foreign substance but rather an assistive one.
What is Medical Marijuana Used For?
Medical cannabis has many uses for many different health problems. Research is ongoing, but currently the list of conditions that medical marijuana may be able to treat includes:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- And many more!
Although it’s not 100% proven to treat these conditions, research is promising. Most therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana relate to its ability to reduce pain, nausea, vomiting, and muscle stiffness. It’s used among individuals all over the world thanks to its therapeutic effects.
Is Medical Marijuana Safe?
The research regarding medical cannabis is ongoing, but it is regarded as safe by thousands of doctors and clinicians worldwide. Since it is using CBD instead of THC as the main cannabinoid, there are very little to no psychoactive risks associated with using it.
Here are just a few examples of doctors and researchers applying the uses of marijuana to their fields:
- In Europe, Canada, and the UK, there is a cannabis-based mouth spray medication that is used for treating Multiple Sclerosis that combines low levels of THC with high levels of CBD.
- THC-based medications are approved by the FDA in the United States for treatment of nausea in cancer patients.
- Doctors are treating epilepsy in children with a CBD-based liquid medication.
Cannabis-related injuries or deaths are rare as well. There may be some side effects, depending on the concentration of the different cannabinoids, such as dizziness and a fast heartbeat. The most severe side effects can include hallucinations and low blood pressure. However, most people find that using marijuana helps more than it hurts.
So, if you were wondering “is medical marijuana safe?” you can rest assured knowing that it is one of the safest and most natural substances out there.
In this section, we will address a few lesser known (but still important) questions about medical marijuana.
Can medical marijuana be prescribed to minors?
Requirements vary by area and country. For instance, in some US States you must be 18 to purchase and possess medical marijuana but in other states, you must be 21 to do both.
In Canada, the minimum legal age to purchase medical marijuana is 19 except in Alberta and Quebec, where it is 18. Cannabis products such as CBD can be used in minors, such as the CBD-based liquid medication for children with epilepsy. However, minors themselves cannot purchase or possess these products.
Can medical marijuana be taken on a plane?
In places where medical marijuana is legal, you can usually get through the airport without any hassle. If you get stopped at the airport, don’t worry. You can just present your medical marijuana card and if it is up-to-date and valid, they will just give it back to you. Just be sure to stay updated with current laws and look up your airline’s regulations before flying.
Does medical marijuana expire?
Cannabis does not go bad, but if you leave it out in the sunlight it does change its chemical composition. This might cause its potency to go down. To prevent this, make sure to store your medical cannabis in a dark, cool place. Keep it in an airtight glass container and do not use it if it is over 4 years old.
There are a lot of people who have questions about the safety of medical marijuana. However, more people each year are learning about its positive effects. This industry is growing, and patients are finally receiving access to cannabis products that treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. The truth is: Researchers agree that it is safe and effective for the treatment of severe conditions including seizures, cancer, AIDS, and Multiple Sclerosis. With further research, the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana can only go up.