What is medical marijuana?
While this question might seem simple, the reality is that nearly a century of federal cannabis prohibition and the exceedingly negative stigma surrounding the plant has prevented the idea of marijuana being an effective medical treatment in minds of many who could benefit from it. People have used marijuana therapeutically for thousands of years, and it’s only in the relatively recent past that it was criminalized.
However, the landscape of legal cannabis in the United States is changing at breakneck speed. California has had legal medical marijuana laws on the books for over 20 years (Proposition P passed in 1996), 30 of the 50 states have broadly legalized marijuana either for medical or recreational use in 2018. Florida now has a full-fledged medical marijuana program. On October 17, 2018 Canada will become only the second nation in the world (following Uruguay) to federally legalize recreational marijuana.
The green tide is rising slowly, but surely.
Simply put, medical marijuana is marijuana prescribed by a licensed physician that is used to treat the symptoms or chronic pain associated with a variety of illnesses and condition, including (but not limited to) cancer, glaucoma, chronic seizures, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, chronic non-malignant pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Parkinson’s disease.
Medical marijuana comes in many forms, and can be consumed in a variety of ways depending on the condition or symptoms being treated, as well as the legally available options on a state by state basis. A patient could be recommended whole flower (actual cured cannabis buds) for smoking or vaporizing, cannabis oil, or even edibles.
Medical marijuana is a safer, often more effective alternative than potentially dangerous and addictive pharmaceuticals such as opioids. However, this doesn’t mean that medical marijuana is the right treatment for all conditions. Schedule an appointment with your physician or contact a medical marijuana clinic to find out if medical marijuana could be right for you.