Medical Marijuana in the U.S.
Currently under debate in many states is the controversial use of medical marijuana as a valid means of treatment for illness, disease, and chronic pain. So far, eighteen states have legalized the medical use of cannabis. As for the rest of the U.S., professionals wonder if marijuana’s potential for abuse should be dismissed to make way for medical marijuana laws. This hesitation by remaining states can also be attributed to the fact that Federal law still prohibits marijuana use despite a state’s permittance of medical marijuana dispensaries.
What is Medical Marijuana?
Though much research on the exact effects of marijuana is yet to be completed, cannabis has chemical features which can treat specific discomforts and ailments. These features are what come to characterize the cannabis strain. The term “strain” refers to the breedable variations of the cannabis plant that yield different effects in the user. The two primary strains of cannabis are termed “indica” and “sativa” and induce the opposing effects of relaxation and energization, respectively. Hybrid breeds are also grown to treat specific conditions that may call for a combination of sensations. Research of medical marijuana has repeatedly shown its value in treating ailments such as:
Some health professionals push for prescription cannabis because it is less addictive than other pain management alternatives like opiates. Mental disorders such as adult ADHD and OCD are also being researched as potentially treatable by medical cannabis. A more detailed review of the benefits of medical marijuana is provided by the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
How Is Medical Cannabis Prescribed?
As with many medications, patients must first acquire a certified recommendation from a specialist which allows them to purchase and grow a limited amount of hemp. Skeptics of medical marijuana question not only hemp’s medicinal validity, but the extent to which patients need it to manage pain or illness. Specialists issuing medical marijuana licenses adhere to a list of ailments which is revised and expanded as cannabis research is conducted. Like all prescriptions, medical marijuana licenses expire after a given amount of time and can only be renewed after follow-up consultations with their doctor.
Despite its benefits, many health professionals still caution patients to consider their reasons and needs for medical hemp. As with all prescription drugs, there always exists a potential for abuse. Although approved patients may demonstrate a need for medical cannabis, its popularity as a recreational substance has raised questions of its validity as treatment. Cannabis contains no physically addictive components, but it can become just as psychologically addictive as any other pleasure-inducing substance or activity. For these reasons, those who have access to medical marijuana should carefully weigh personal benefits and detriments of this treatment with their doctor.