Medical marijuana, commonly referred to as medical cannabis, describes the use of marijuana for medical purposes for reducing discomfort and pain caused by several health conditions. Medical marijuana is used to alleviate specific side effects of certain traditional drugs, having been recognized as a powerful tool against cancer development in fourteen US states.
Potential Benefits of Medical Marijuana
There are several uses of marijuana for medical purposes. Typically, cannabinoids can serve as appetite stimulants and antispasmodics, reducing pain caused by stomach spasms and muscle contractions, as well. Furthermore, medical marijuana ameliorates nausea and vomiting, which are usually common side effects of chemotherapy and other traditional medications intended to treat specific health issues. In some situations, marijuana might be used for managing chronic pain, providing immediate relief for patients with very serious injuries or handicaps.
Research on Medical Marijuana
Researchers have even attempted to prove that marijuana can have beneficial qualities for some untreatable medical conditions, which include multiple sclerosis, brain and breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, insomnia, Alzheimer’s disease and asthma. However, there is no solid evidence pertaining the safety and real efficiency of medical marijuana for these conditions. Most studies effectuated as of 2013 lack long-term data and suffer from effects of bias and small sample size. Therefore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of smoked cannabis for treating specific medical conditions.
Primary Compounds of Medical Marijuana
Marijuana (cannabis) contains more than 500 compounds – of these, 60 are cannabinoids, and 80 are actively used for both medical and scientific purposes. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, being used as a mild sleep inducer, pain reliever and antioxidant, as well. Cannabidiol is one of the primary compounds extracted from medical marijuana, having been used for relieving anxiety, confusion, congestion, nausea, inflammation and cough, also inhibiting the development of cancer cell growth. Cannabinol, a compound that is very similar to Cannabidiol, is thought to bring a substantial contribution to inhibiting the spread of cancer cells, as well. Cannabigerol can reduce intraocular pressure of the eye, thereby helping patients with glaucoma. Lastly, beta-caryophyllene has anti-inflammatory properties, being used to ameliorate inflammation, both internally and externally.
In terms of acceptance, the use medical marijuana is allowed in only fourteen US states, including Arizona, District of Columbia, Michigan and Nevada. However, the laws vary from state to state, as patients might be allowed to possess only a specific amount of medical marijuana, typically ranging from 1 ounce to 24 ounces. To be allowed to possess marijuana for medical purposes, individuals have to obtain a medical marijuana ID card, which requires paying a fee that ranges from $25 to $200. In addition, some states require proof of residency prior to entitling individuals the ID cards, whilst others accept registry proof from any other US state.
Currently, though, opposition against the use of marijuana for medical purposes remains strong, even though more than 83 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing this drug. Generally, the public opinion is influenced by the fact that administering marijuana involves smoking it, and smoking is, regardless of the substance being smoked, unhealthy.