Marijuana – or cannabis, as it is often known in the medical community – is a drug used to treat certain medical conditions under certain circumstances. However, many individuals also use the drug recreationally. Medical marijuana is typically much safer and more effective than recreational marijuana. In truth, marijuana has been in use to treat medical conditions for thousands of years. Ancient Asian medicine, for example, employed the drug to fight against pain (even the pain of childbirth!) and diseases like gout. The European medical community later used marijuana against rheumatism and nausea.
Marijuana can either be inhaled through smoking, drank in a solution, consumed by eating parts of the plant or ingested in marijuana-infused pills. Medical marijuana should only be prescribed by a trained doctor for a person’s diagnosed medical condition. Doctors that prescribe marijuana without a valid cause, or are otherwise guilty of malpractice regarding the drug, can face criminal charges.
There are many diverse laws surrounding the use of medical marijuana. In the United States, marijuana for any use is illegal at a federal level. However, state and local governments have passed laws allowing for the medical use of marijuana, despite the federal standpoint. Some states will even publicly dispense marijuana at hospitals, pharmacies and other locations. The benefits and harmful effects of marijuana are still widely debated in both the medical and political community.
Typically, individuals will only be prescribed medical marijuana for certain purposes. The most common reasons for a marijuana prescription include:
- Pain relief
- Nausea relief
- Gastrointestinal issues
Other, less common reasons for medical marijuana usage revolve around the need to inspire hunger in patients. Individuals suffering from anorexia or other illnesses, which lower their desire for food, can benefit from marijuana use. Some clinical trials have also proven that marijuana alleviates the spastic muscles symptoms of certain diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
Sometimes, patients can be treated with medical marijuana for psychological issues. Often, marijuana is used as a stress reliever, especially for patients with painful or incurable illnesses. Unfortunately, though, this is not unanimous; some individuals can actually experience an increase in stress or anxiety as a result of marijuana use.
Medical marijuana is only available in certain countries and in certain states of the U.S. Medical research into the risks, benefits and potential effects of marijuana are still ongoing, and though some data is inconclusive, much points towards the positive effects of the drug. As a result, many groups and individuals are driving to make medical marijuana federally legal.