Also referred to as “medical cannabis,” medical marijuana refers to marijuana used to treat a disease and/or ease its symptoms. It may be used for the short-term or for years, depending on why it is being used. According to the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, medical marijuana is not all that new. In fact, people have been using it for more than 3,000 years.
However, a growing body of scientific research now points to the benefits of medical marijuana and THC. Says Drugabuse.gov, “THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems.” More specifically, it’s used to treat a number of different health conditions, including the following, as identified by the Mayo Clinic:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)Anorexia due to HIV/AIDS
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or seizures
- Multiple sclerosis or severe muscle spasms
- Nausea, vomiting or severe wasting associated with cancer treatment
- Terminal illness
- Tourette syndrome
The safety of medical marijuana is under debate due to its potential side effects. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two synthetic forms of legally prescribed marijuana: dronabinol and nabilone, and clinical research projects are underway aimed at investigating potential new types of marijuana-based drugs and their potential to treat everything from HIV and AIDs to mental disorders.
Whether you’re for it, against it, or decidedly undecided, the reality is that the legalization of marijuana — both for medicinal and recreational purposes — is on the rise. In fact, while there may be a federal ban on the drug, many states are allowing its use. In fact, 26 states and Washington, D.C. now boast laws legalizing marijuana in one way or another as of last count, according to Governing.com. More are soon to follow after having passed medical marijuana measures of their own.