Every state has laws about the use of medical marijuana, but it has been approved for medical use in almost two-thirds of the states in the US and the District of Columbia. Other states are looking into passing similar laws. Even though it is very popular, the FDA has only given permission for medical marijuana to be used to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These are two very rare and severe types of epilepsy.
If this is such an important topic, why hasn’t it been studied more? The United States plays a big role. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that marijuana is a Schedule I substance, which means that it is very likely to be abused and has no known medical use. Some other drugs on Schedule I are heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, an expert on drug addiction and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, says that this means academics need special permission to study the topic.
That may not change soon. The DEA almost moved marijuana to Schedule II, which has less strict rules and includes drugs like Ritalin and oxycodone. However, they decided to keep it in Schedule I, which has stricter rules.
But the FDA has agreed to pay for more cannabis research and make it easier to do research. “Research is important because we have to tell patients and doctors how to use cannabis in a safe and effective way,” says Bonn-Miller.
He talked about the history of medical marijuana and its pros and cons.
So, tell me, what is marijuana used for when it’s meant to be a medicine?
Medical marijuana is the use of cannabis or compounds made from cannabis to treat health problems. Marijuana for medical use is pretty much the same as marijuana for recreational use.
The marijuana plant has more than 100 different cannabinoids. Every one of them has a different effect on the body. The two main active ingredients in medical marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is also what makes you feel “high” when you eat or smoke marijuana.
What kinds of medical problems can marijuana treat?
What kinds of health problems does medical marijuana help?
More and more states are choosing to legalize medical marijuana as a way to help people with chronic pain and other health problems. Find out what problems it solves and what side effects it might have.
Medical marijuana is being looked into as a possible treatment for a lot of different health problems.
- When Alzheimer’s starts
- Loss of Hunger
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (IBD)
- HIV/AIDS, MS, and other diseases that affect the immune system (MS)
- Anorexia and other problems with food intake
- Psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia and PTSD (PTSD)
- Multiple sclerosis-related illness
- Muscles that contract on their own
- Thinness disorder (cachexia)
But Bonn-Miller says that it hasn’t been shown to help treat most of these disorders yet.
Bonn-Miller says that cannabis has the most potential as a medicine for treating chronic pain, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.
What good does it do?
Cannabinoids, which are the main parts of medical marijuana, are chemically the same as substances that the body makes naturally to control things like hunger, memory, movement, and pain.
The little evidence we have so far shows that cannabis may:
- Calm yourself down.
- Heat can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Chemotherapy can make cancer patients sick and make them throw up.
- Eliminate malignant cells and retard tumor development.
- MS patients, relax your tight muscles.
- For cancer and AIDS patients, it helps them gain weight and eat more.
What about using marijuana to treat seizures?
A few years ago, medical marijuana got a lot of attention when parents said that a specialized version of the drug greatly reduced the number of seizures in their children. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine, as a treatment for people with severe or uncontrollable forms of epilepsy. Some of the people who took this medicine had a big drop in how often they had seizures.
Is it true that the FDA has given the go-ahead for marijuana to be used as medicine?
In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, which is made from cannabidiol, to treat seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare and severe types of epilepsy. Also, the FDA has given permission for the use of dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet) to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
How do you deal with it?
You can use medicinal marijuana if:
- Turn on
- A mist of the substance can be breathed in through a vaporizer.
- Get it in something sweet, like a brownie or a lollipop, and eat it.
- You can put it on your skin with a cream, lotion, oil, or spray.
- A few drops under the tongue should be all that’s needed.
You can decide what to do. Different things happen to your body when you do these things. Bonn-Miller says, “Whether you smoke or vape cannabis, you feel the effects very quickly.” It could take an hour to two hours for the effects of something you eat or drink to kick in.
Is marijuana used for medical purposes safe?
Some bad effects that have been seen are:
- Tired, reddened eyes
- Beats per minute
- Sub-par blood pressure
Accidents and injuries may happen because the substance makes it harder to make decisions and move around. Using marijuana during adolescence, when the brain is growing and changing quickly, could hurt intelligence and thinking skills.
Concerns have been raised that smoking marijuana, like smoking tobacco, could be bad for the lungs because it contains compounds that have the same effects as tobacco. Inhaling marijuana may make you more likely to get bronchitis and other lung diseases, but it’s not clear what these effects are.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that marijuana is both very addicting and a “gateway drug” that leads people to try harder drugs. “The higher the dose of THC and the more often you use, the higher the risk of becoming addicted,” says Bonn-Miller. Learn more about the long-term effects of marijuana use, such as “you need more and more of it to get the same effect,” “you have trouble stopping if you want to,” and “you have cravings when you’re not using.”
Another problem is that the FDA does not control medical marijuana like it does with prescription drugs. Governments often don’t have the money and tools they need to keep an eye on and control sales. Because of this, the potency and make-up of medical marijuana might be very different depending on where it is bought. According to Bonn-research, Miller’s “we ran a study last year in which we bought labeled edible goods, like brownies and lollipops, in California and Washington and then shipped them to the lab.” The problem is that very few of the goods really had what they said they had.
How far is it legal for medical marijuana to be used in the states?
Medical marijuana is now legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
- DC is in the northeastern part of the United States on the mainland.
- This is New Hampshire
- New Jersey is a state.
- Southwest of the U.S.; New Mexico
- Big Apple
- North Dakota is a state in the Great Plains.
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Dakota (State) (State)
- “West Virginia”
Some examples of states with limited access are Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Where can I acquire some medicinal marijuana?
In places where it is legal, you cannot legally get medical marijuana without written permission from a doctor. You must have a condition that lets you use medical marijuana (not all doctors are willing to suggest medical marijuana for their patients). Each state has different rules about what it takes to be eligible. In your state, you may need an ID card to be able to use medical marijuana. Before you can get medical marijuana, you need to get a valid medical marijuana ID card from a place called a dispensary.