Medical marijuana is a popular and unique drug that has been around for a while. It was first legalized in 1996 by the state of California under the Compassionate Use Act. However, humans have been using cannabis for the past 5000 years to relieve headaches, insomnia, gastric issues, and other medical conditions.
In recent years medical marijuana has been receiving favorable attention from Americans. 67% of doctors in the United States approved the use of it for medical purposes in 2018. At the same time, 85% of Americans also favor the use of medical marijuana.
Despite its popularity, many people are still hesitant about the drug. Most Americans worry about the risks it involves and the stigma attached to it. Yet, this uncertainty is only due to the lack of knowledge regarding the drug.
Therefore, in this article will uncover various truths about medical marijuana that will give you substantial insight into the drug. So, sit back and read on to learn vital facts about the drug.
6 Things You Need To Know About Medical Marijuana
1. It’s legal in most states
According to the federal law of the United States of America, all kinds of marijuana are illegal to sell, consume, or possess. However, with growing support and favorable medical research evidence, certain states have lifted the prohibition of medical marijuana. Currently, the drug is legal in 38 states, including Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Nonetheless, despite its legalization, the drug is not easy to get your hands on. To qualify for medical marijuana, you must have a patient card. Similarly, for physicians to handle the drug, they must have a doctor’s certification.
If you are willing to start your cannabis journey for better health, you can acquire medical marijuana cards online as well. Services like Elevate Holistics have made the experience of obtaining the card smoother and more comfortable. They offer an online application for the card, making the process quick and judgment-free.
Moreover, every state’s laws in the USA differ on the drug’s manufacturing, selling, and consumption amount. Besides that, each state has a different set of health conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. For example, Parkinson’s disease qualifies for medical marijuana in Alabama but does not in Alaska.
2. Not all marijuana is the same
Each strain of marijuana has a distinctive combination of cannabinoids, a group of compounds found in the plant. Many cannabinoids have medicinal properties. Moreover, the two most used cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol THC and cannabidiol CBD. THC is the cannabinoid that brings people under the influence of the drug, while cannabidiol CBD counteracts the impact of it and is proven to aid in seizures and muscle spasms.
Furthermore, federal law has strict rules regarding the combination of cannabinoids. THC is a psychoactive ingredient of the cannabis plant, which is illegal in the country. However, hemp-derived CBD, which has only 0.3% THC, is legal to sell and consume as medical marijuana. Still, it is illegal to place CBD in food and supplements U.S. Food and drug administration. Yet, 13 states have issued laws allowing CBD-low THC products to be purchased.
3. Medical marijuana comes in various forms
Just like traditional marijuana comes in various types, such as vape devices, joints (or blunts), and bongs, in the same way, medical marijuana is also available in different forms. Patients can choose from various oil, tinctures, raw and dried cannabis, and natural and synthetic cannabinoid capsules. It is also available as vaporized spray and pill. You can select the type that you feel most comfortable consuming. However, the most common way to take it is by baking it in food or smoking its leaves.
4. Not every health condition qualifies for medical marijuana
Federal laws have strict regulations regarding medical marijuana, which only qualifies the drug for terminal and debilitating medical conditions. These are the kind of conditions that severely affect a person’s daily life and ability to function. Hence most chronic diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) fall under the approval for medical marijuana.
Moreover, conditions like seizure disorder, epilepsy, spasticity disorder, chronic disease, and hepatitis C also are eligible for the drug. Other qualifying diseases are chronic renal failure and anorexia, but only when standard medication has failed to bring relief.
Mental health conditions don’t qualify for medical marijuana due to insufficient scientific research. However, selective mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, and insomnia, have slowly been added to the qualifying list. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is also eligible for the drug and will be effective from August 2023.
5. Start slow with the drug
To have a pleasant experience with the drug, it is recommended that you start slow. It is wise to be cautious and mindful of the drug as it will avoid unnecessary side effects. Start with a small dose and gradually increase it until you find relief from your symptoms. Starting slow will help you understand how well you digest the drug and its benefits for your health; hence, before starting your medication, discuss the use and dosage with your physician.
6. Some individuals are at risk of harm from medical marijuana
People under the age of 18 and young adults should abstain from medical marijuana or take it under strict caution if necessary. The reason behind that is the brain is developing approximately till the age of 25, and any cannabis use during this time can significantly affect the brain’s development. It can cause problems with cognitive abilities, memory, and mood.
Women planning to get pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding should also avoid consuming the drug. Consuming medical marijuana while pregnant can cause low birth weight or early labor. Furthermore, it can lead to severe brain changes such as weak memory and low attention span. Behavioral issues like aggression and impulsiveness are also commonly caused by medical marijuana in pregnant women.
Moreover, people with addictive tendencies or who have experienced addiction to other substances should avoid the drug. People with substance dependency issues have a higher risk of becoming dependent on medical marijuana than people who don’t. Hence, individuals with an addiction to substances like tobacco or nicotine should abstain from the drug or use it under strict guidance.
Lastly, people with severe heart disease or liver disease should avoid using it. The drug is known to cause stroke in people who have prior heart conditions. Similarly, individuals with liver disease can struggle to digest medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is a rare drug that can relieve many patients suffering from severe chronic illnesses. After its legalization in more than half of the states, it is becoming prevalent and has 3.6 million state-legal users. Research shows that 90% of people find relief from it. With such a positive shift the drug is bringing to people’s lives, it is essential for us to learn about it. Knowing more about it will not only fight the stigma and myths surrounding it but also create a safe space for individuals using it.