With more states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, more people are becoming aware of the potential benefits for a vast number of medical conditions. However, before you commit yourself to this type of treatment, there are a few things you should know to help determine if it’s the right choice for you.
What Is Medical Marijuana?
While it’s relatively the same product individuals have been using recreationally for decades, medical marijuana is typically available per a prescription from a medical professional. This can make it easier to access, especially in states where recreational use is still illegal. For the most part, medical marijuana focuses on the CBD strands because this is the compound responsible for alleviating the symptoms of a number of ailments.
What Can It Be Used For?
There is a long list of medical conditions for which medical cannabis has been shown to help, but it’s important to talk to your doctor first to determine whether your conditions could benefit. Some of the most common ailments for which people use medical marijuana include chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy and more. In many cases, medical marijuana can alleviate some symptoms, while in other cases, providing a relaxing effect is the goal.
How Does It Help?
The body naturally produces chemicals that are actually similar to cannabanoids. These chemicals have an impact on inflammation, pain and more. Therefore, the use of medical marijuana can supplement the natural chemicals and improve an individual’s quality of life when they suffer from an approved medical condition. Studies are revealing medical marijuana may be an immunomodulator, which can help by suppressing the immune system and eliminating overreactions.
What Side Effects May Occur?
For those who use medical marijuana in smaller doses, the side effects are minimal. Some of these include dry mouth and fatigue. However, higher doses can have even more side effects, including dizziness, psychoactive effects and paranoia. Some individuals who use more medical cannabis could suffer from hallucinations and mood swings as a result. While medical cannabis is being used for patients of many ages, there is still some concern about the long-term effects of marijuana use on younger patients who still have developing brains and neurological systems. More studies are required into this matter.
What Are the Risks?
Before starting any new medical treatment, including the use of medical marijuana, it’s important to weigh the risks against the benefits you can expect. In general, medical marijuana has a low risk of addiction and toxicity, especially when compared to many of the prescription medications often prescribed for these medical conditions. However, this relies on individuals taking only the recommended therapeutic levels of cannabis. Heavier users are more likely to experience at least a psychological dependence on the substance.
Because the use of medical marijuana is still relatively new, more extensive studies are required to explore the long-term effects of using cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, especially for long-term or chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, there is currently less access to this due to current FDA regulations. It’s important for those who are considering medical marijuana to note there may be side effects that have not yet been documenting, including long-term impacts.