More two-thirds of U.S. states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical treatments. Yet the FDA hasn’t still approved the medical use of marijuana. Due to a lack of research and possible side effects, the FDA still considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug.
For clarity, a schedule 1 drug is not of medical value to people. Even though there is research on medical marijuana, the FDA hasn’t been convinced.
Until that happens, medical marijuana is still illegal in some states. But, on the other hand, the 37 states that allow it have different qualifications for patients who want to get a marijuana card.
What is medical marijuana?
We use the terms medical marijuana and medical cannabis to refer to the use of the Cannabis sativa plant in medical treatments. Doctors prescribe medical marijuana to patients with health conditions mostly related to chronic pain. It isn’t approved for recreational use, in fact, it’s illegal.
The marijuana plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, but THC and CBD are the most researched compounds with potenial pharmaceutical benefits.
Most people connect the marijuana plant with THC, the cannabinoid that produces the “high effect.” Cbd is another popular cannabinoid used in products such as oils, and it doesn’t have the same effect as THC.
There are many forms of medical marijuana, including edibles, vaping, lotions, and oil. Not all states allow all forms of medical marijuana, so it’s essential to know the details. Usually, the form of consumption depends on personal preference and health condition.
What is medical marijuana used for?
A large amount of evidence related to marijuana use in medicine refers to the plant’s ability to reduce chronic pain. Studies have shown medical marijuana can help with health conditions such as:
- Nausea and vomiting (due to chemotherapy)
- Epilepsy (severe cases like Lennox-Gaustat Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle spasm
- Appetite loss and eating disorders
- Chron’s disease
A study on 196 Florida patients in 2021 demonstrated the success of the therapeutical effects of this marijuana plant.
Survey results indicated 89 % of patients reported “great relief” for their medical condition after using medical marijuana. The patients had some of the medical conditions mentioned above.
Additional research needs to be done, but some studies suggest medical marijuana can:
- Reduce anxiety
- Relieving insomnia
- Slow tumor growth
- Improve weight gain
- Control seizures
Painkillers vs. medical marijuana
Even though opiates are highly used to treat most of these cases, some researchers suggest that medical marijuana is far less addictive and doesn’t sedate patients. Also, medical marijuana may be a good replacement for painkillers for patients with liver or kidney problems.
Has the FDA approved medical marijuana?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved the use of cannabis as a treatment for any medical condition so far. For the FDA to approve marijuana in medicine, there have to be more large-scale clinical trials. In addition, they need more proof that the plant’s benefits outweigh the risks and side effects.
The risk and side effects the FDA is concerned about include psychosis and decreased reaction time. Another problem for researchers is that federal laws make it difficult to obtain legal supplies for conducting tests and research.
However, the FDA approved cannabidiol (Epidiolex) for the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy in 2018. Later, The FDA approved dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) for treating nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Also, the FDA has agreed to loosen some regulations imposed on researchers, allowing them to do surveys and tests in the future.
Who controls medical marijuana?
The federal government can’t interfere with state medical marijuana programs. Yet, the federal government deals with the black market, and recreational marijuana is still illegal.
Still, you can’t buy medical marijuana anywhere, only from a legal retailer, aka a dispensary.
However, you can’t get medical marijuana directly from a legal retailer without presenting a marijuana card. Below we will take about the steps you need to take to get a marijuana card easily.
What are the side effects of medical marijuana?
Some of the side effects of medical marijuana are:
- Dry mouth
- Fast heartbeat
The long-term effects of marijuana use can be:
- Depression & Anxiety
- Low blood pressure
- Slow reaction time
Marijuana might affect cognitive functions when a brain is still developing, so scientists don’t advise it to teenagers and pregnant women. Still, there isn’t enough research and evidence to back up these claims.
What to do if you are experiencing some side effects? If you have some of the side effects mentioned above, you should talk to your doctor.
Which states allow medical marijuana?
Doctors can prescribe/recommend medical marijuana is legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia:
- District of
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States that allow restricted use of medical marijuana are:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
If your state is not on the list, it is probably illegal to use medical marijuana there. Some states are still in the process of getting it approved, which takes time.
Can you get a medical marijuana card in another state? Unfortunately, most states don’t accept out-of-state marijuana cards and patients whose doctor is not in the same state.
Do all states have the same rules for the use of medical marijuana?
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all states have the same rules and qualifications for medical marijuana use. They can differ in things like the form of cannabis, the validity of a marijuana card, and the amount you can possess.
For example, Minnesota allows the use of medical marijuana in the form of liquid and pill. Also, certain dispensaries don’t recognize out-of-state marijuana cards and may reject your purchase.
What Conditions Can It Help?
Medical marijuana can help:
- Ease pain – Doctors prescribe it for chronic pain ( multiple sclerosis and nerve pain)
- Get rid of nausea – Surveys show that it helps cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy
- Control vomiting – Effective treatment after chemotherapy for cancer patients
- Increase appetite – Useful for people who have eating disorders such as anorexia.
- Lower eye pressure – Helpful for patients who have glaucoma
Conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia still need to be researched in order to be on the list here. Do all of these conditions qualify you to get medical marijuana? It depends on your state and your doctor.
Some states have specific rules regarding the conditions. Also, some doctors don’t want to prescribe medical marijuana to patients suffering from eating disorders, etc. The best thing to do is consult your doctor and decide together if you should start this treatment.
How do you get medical marijuana?
You have some symptoms, and marijuana can help ease them? Even though medical marijuana is legal in your state, you still need to visit the doctor.
You need a prescription or recommendation from your doctor to buy marijuana. Your doctor will decide if your medical condition qualifies for medical marijuana use in your state. States that approve the use of medical marijuana have different requirements for approval.
Once you get a prescription or recommendation from your doctor, all you need to do is:
- Get a medical marijuana card
- Shop at your local dispensaries
A medical marijuana card is a form of ID for patients who have the approval of their doctor to buy and use medical marijuana. With this card, you can buy medical marijuana in a legal dispensary in your state.
You can avoid the long process of getting your marijuana card approved by registering from the comfort of your home. It’s easy, private, and faster than any other method.
After registration, you can have a short online interview with a practitioner and receive your medical authorization.
Register online and get your medical marijuana card from HelloMD in 2 simple steps.
How does it help? What are the Benefits?
Limited research has shown that medical marijuana may reduce pain by altering pain perception pathways in the patient’s brain. Also, the cannabinoids in marijuana are similar to the chemicals the human body makes in relation to appetite, memory, and movement.
Some research has shown marijuana for medical purposes helps patients:
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy
- Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth
- Relax tight muscles in people with multiple sclerosis
- Stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people who suffer from an eating disorder
If you find yourself on this list, the first step is to talk to your doctor. Unfortunately, some doctors don’t talk about medical cannabis, even if they are familiar with it. However, now that you know all the basic information you need, you can contact your doctor and ask for advice.