You may know medical marijuana, or MMJ, by another name: medical cannabis. These are all names for the same treatment. When we talk about medical marijuana, it can refer to the entire marijuana plant as well as referring to the useful chemicals that we find inside the plant.
You may be wondering exactly what those chemicals are. The answer is that the medical marijuana plant contains more than 500 components. We have identified 104 of these chemicals, but we’re actually only truly interested in two of them; you’ll know the two as THC and CBD. These acronyms stand for Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol.
Between the two chemicals, THC is the one that creates the ‘high’ most associated with recreational marijuana use. CBD, on the other hand, has more medicinal properties, which is why medical marijuana contains far more CDB than THC.
Many people use medical marijuana as a treatment for their serious medical issues. It has been proven to help some people manage their chronic pain – along with other conditions like the nausea related to cancer treatments (chemotherapy) and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, or MS.
There are some other reasons why people may take medical marijuana. You should keep in mind that these reasons are undergoing evaluation, but many patients find medical marijuana useful in managing the following conditions:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep Disorders
- Degenerative Neurological Conditions
Some other similar or comparable conditions may also be able to be treated with therapeutic medical marijuana treatments.
Different people prefer to take their medical marijuana treatments in a variety of different ways, including:
- Smoking the marijuana
- Applying the marijuana to the body topically
- Inhaling the marijuana through a vaporizer
- Adding the marijuana to food
- Placing the marijuana sublingually
When it comes to choosing how to take your medical cannabis, it’s entirely up to you. It simply depends on what feels best for your body and what you need to get out of your treatments, as well as how quickly you’d like to see results.
If you use medical marijuana, ensure that you do not exceed 20-30mg as a total daily dose of THC per day. If this amount is exceeded, you could begin to feel the psychoactive effects of the THC which is not the aim of medical marijuana treatments. Medical marijuana focuses on the CBD which has medicinal properties, and is much more abundant in medical marijuana than THC. This keeps users safe from most unwanted side effects.
You can put the side effects from medical marijuana treatments into two categories: positive and negative. The positive effects are likely what you’re using medical marijuana to achieve, and they include:
- Nausea relief
- Relaxed muscles
- Increased appetite
The negative side effects of medical marijuana use are quite rare, but they will affect some people. They include:
- Memory Loss (Short Term)
These negative side effects are being constantly studied, as well as the long term side effects which researchers aren’t completely sure about currently.
The negative side effects of medical marijuana are largely caused by THC and can be reduced by several methods, including:
- Increasing CBD Intake
- Eating Normal Food (With No Marijuana Added)
Some of the long term effects of medical marijuana treatments could potentially involve people becoming dependent on marijuana, developing cancers, or making cardiovascular diseases and psychotic disorders worse. However, these are not certain right now.
People can only use medical marijuana treatments if the treatments have been legalized where they live – namely, in their state. You will likely need to get in contact with a certified physician to gain proof that you have a qualifying condition for medical marijuana treatment.
These qualifying conditions can differ from state to state, so you will need to check whether you are eligible or not. There may also be requirements around being a full-time or seasonal resident of your state, and a requirement to prove your residency.
For some people, medical marijuana treatments will not be suitable. This depends on other conditions that you may have and your current situation. You are not recommended to use medical marijuana if:
- You are pregnant
- You are breastfeeding
- You have high blood pressure
- You have heart disease
- You are hypersensitive/allergic to cannabinoids
- You are using ritanovir
- You have a history of psychotic disorders
If any of these conditions apply to you, then medical marijuana may not be a suitable treatment for you. You can discuss this with a certified physician when being assessed for medical marijuana use – be sure to bring up any queries you have around these stipulations.