Most of us know of the “high” that marijuana offers, but the medical use of the plant is well-established and proven. In fact, more research is on the way, and experts believe that the herb may have potential in offering relief from a number of health conditions and disorders. Today, cannabis can be purchased in 30 states in the US legally for medical needs, as long as the person has a prescription. All you need to do is visit a SF dispensary, where the budtender will suggest strains and edibles that you can choose from. In this post, we are discussing medical marijuana and some of the basic facts that everyone should know about.
Understanding medical marijuana better
The cannabis plant has over a hundred chemical compounds, which are together known as cannabinoids. These compounds have different effects on the central nervous system, and experts believe that it might be a cue towards treatment of many health conditions. For medicinal use, the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant is used, as these have the best concentration of varied cannabinoids. Cannabis can be consumed in form of edibles or can be smoked. Edibles are great alternatives for patients who are not very fond of smoking. Among all cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the only compound that produces the high that we associate with the plant. Today, drugs like dronabinol have been approved by FDA for treatment of loss of appetite, especially for patients who are suffering from life-threating conditions such as AIDS. Marijuana has been also prescribed for cancer patients for reducing effects of chemo, such as vomiting, loss of appetite and nausea.
Treatments involving use of medical marijuana
Besides being useful for patients of AIDS and Cancer, doctors believe that the effect caused by medical marijuana can be used for treatment of pain and inflammation. However, since some of the strains of medical marijuana are known to cause sleepiness, the use of cannabis solely as a painkiller is rather not practical. The use of medical marijuana also extends to treatment of leprosy, nausea, fever, hemorrhoids, asthma, and UTIs (urinary tract infections). Cannabis is also related to treatment of anorexia.
Doctors have also found patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease can benefit from THC, as it can reduce lower the level of proteins called beta-amyloid proteins, which have been linked to the condition. The use of cannabis for psychological disorders is rather known, so if a patient suffers from anxiety, depression, aggression, and hallucinations, doctors may recommend consuming cannabis in one form of the other.
Patients dealing with fibromyalgia may also benefit from cannabis. While cannabis doesn’t really cure the pain caused by fibromyalgia, it does minimize the pain, which can be severe, and thereby, improving your quality of life.
THC is known to have anti-microbial properties, and cannabis-based creams and lotions are also often recommended to patients suffering from eczema. Marijuana has been linked to reducing weight and stabilizing blood sugar levels, which is why it is also believed to be useful for patients suffering from diabetes and weight issues.
Other uses of cannabis in the medical world
While cannabis is no treatment for Autism, but research has shown positive signs as how it can be used for the condition, especially when THC is administered in smaller doses. While more studies and reports are critical for knowing more on this, doctors have hope. If you are a woman who has been dealing with bad cramps during menstruation, marijuana-infused products may help, as per a few reports. Some research also talks about the use of marijuana for treatment of glaucoma, while one study in 2003 suggested that cannabis may prevent epileptic seizures.
Besides THC, there is one more chemical called Cannabidiol or CBD that interest experts and researchers, and some studies have indicated that Cannabidiol may be useful for preventing cancer from spreading.
As you can guess, the use of medical marijuana is not limited to one field. Experts believe that there is a lot more that can be discovered about this herb, and it is more than necessary to follow the instructions of your doctor, if you have been recommended to use cannabis.
Buying medical marijuana
Now that you know the health benefits of cannabis, let’s now talk about buying the various products in the market. As we mentioned, cannabis is legal in 30 states in the US for medical use, but you need to have a prescription for the same. Dispensaries, which are basically stores that sell marijuana and related products, are regulated extensively, and you can only get a certain dose. Most of these dispensaries hire budtenders, who are professionals and can help you choose between strains. There are varied varieties of the cannabis plant, of which Indica and Sativa are the most popular. Indica is known to contain more CBD and less of THC, which is why it is considered to be a nighttime drug. Sativa, on the other hand, contains high THC and less CBD and offers that ‘head high’ that we all associate with.
It should be noted that the popularity of strains is not limited to these two options we discussed. Today, we have hybrids that have different properties and levels of these plant compounds, based on the parent strains used. Then there is hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plants that’s more used for its seeds. Hemp oil is desirable for CBD and not THC, and products made from the plant don’t cause the “high”.
Things to know
Always do your homework and make sure to see a doctor if you want to use medical marijuana. The cannabis plant, much like any other drug, works differently for different people, so what may seem like a huge ‘high’ effect to you might be mild one for someone else. It also depends on how frequently you use marijuana and the extent to which your body is used to the plant. Do NOT abuse medical marijuana. While the benefits are known to all, overdosing on marijuana can have a bunch of side effects, which are avoidable in the first place.
How to consume medical marijuana?
The obvious idea is to smoke the plant, which works well for most people. If direct smoking is not your thing, you can choose to get a product called the vaporizer, which works in a similar way like the e-cigarette. Edibles are equally popular, and as we mentioned earlier, there are creams and other skincare products that contain parts of the marijuana plant. Liquids and tinctures are also available these days, and you just need to add a few drops of the liquid right below your tongue for getting the benefits.
What’s better – Edibles or smoking?
To be fair, this is a matter of personal choice. Some people just swear by the benefits of smoking marijuana, and it works for them. Edibles are better for those who don’t enjoy smoking or are just aware of the other health effects of smoking that are not always desirable. As far as effect on the body is concerned, smoking gives an instant high of sorts, which can be experienced within 30 minutes. However, expect the effects to wear out after a couple of hours, so you may need to smoke again, especially if you want long-term relief from pain or other conditions. On the other hand, edibles are actually more useful for a longer high. These are only ingested when the product enters the stomach, so the effects start to kick in within an hour and are expected to last for about three hours or more, depending on how your body is reacting to cannabis.
Dispensaries usually store both cannabis edibles and strains for smoking. When you are not sure of what to get, talk to your doctor or ask the budtender to help with the options. Edibles have one advantage of easy consumption. You can consume brownies, chocolates, cookies and cakes containing marijuana even in areas where smoking is not allowed, which works well for areas where having marijuana is actually banned other as no one needs to know.
Medical use of cannabis is not just about hype anymore, and there are enough studies that can prove the same. What is more important as how you use medical marijuana for your health benefits. Keep in mind that the high caused by marijuana is not just about fun but is more about getting benefits like reduced pain and inflammation and boosting appetite. It is also a good idea to do your homework on strains. Pure strains are liked by a lot of people, but others love the mixed effects that hybrids offer. You may not know how different strains work, which is why selecting the right dispensary for buying your products is of extreme importance.
Finally, make sure that you behave well at a dispensary. Keep in mind that smoking or consuming marijuana is banned in public places at least in the US, so you don’t want to be caught with cannabis that’s beyond what has been recommended by your doctor. Check online now to know more.