Understanding the Legalization of Medical Cannabis

Aug 8, 2018 by

Medical Cannabis has been shown to be potentially beneficial to some people’s health. Medical Cannabis has been legalized in thirty American states and Washington, DC. However, different states have different approaches to its legalization. There are some states, such as California, Colorado, Maine and Oregon where it is totally legal for both recreational and medical purposes.  There are some states that allow dispensaries, while others allow only home cultivation. However, there are currently several states that have decriminalized, but not legalized marijuana.  This means that possession of a small amount will not lead to an arrest but possession and trafficking are still illegal.

How Medical Cannabis Works

Medical Cannabis is the use of the unprocessed marijuana plant to treat symptoms of illness. It is a relatively safe drug and carries a few health and social risks.  The main risk is losing control of your intake and being addicted to it.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the plant as medicine, there are two chemicals found in marijuana that are present in two FDA-approved medications that are in pill form.  One is used to treat nausea and the other is used to boost appetite. The two main chemicals in the marijuana plant that can be used for treatment are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Research has shown that medical CBD is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antipsychotic, and anti-emetic.

There is emerging research on the use of medical marijuana. There are some studies showing that medical marijuana can be used for pain, nausea, anxiety, low appetite, muscle spasms, sleep problems, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, among others.

There are also a significant number of research studies that have found benefits for medical marijuana which includes promoting neuroplasticity, modulating the immune system, vascular function, and digestive function.

How to Use Medical Cannabis

Medical marijuana should start with a low dose and go slow in taking more until the effects of the previous dose have been fully felt. Since there is a risk of overdose, patients are advised to use caution until they fully understand its effects on their condition.

The administration of medical cannabis is mostly through inhalation.  This produces the maximum benefit because the effect is almost immediate. When inhaled, medical marijuana is ingested into the lungs and absorbed quickly. It is then taken through the bloodstream. Many patients take medical marijuana through oral ingestion, but through this method, absorption is slower.

Forms of inhalation can be through a hand or machine rolled cigarette, a pipe or water pipe, or vapor inhalation. Among the inhalation methods, using a dry herb vaporizer pen for medical cannabis is considered to be safer and releases the harmful toxins that occur during smoking. When you smoke marijuana, about 40% of the cannabis is lost.  But using a vaporizer will steadily heat the dry cannabis into a temperature that is suitable to extract THC and CBD, but not the harmful toxins. Therefore, using a vaporizer pen may reduce some health risks that have been associated with smoking.

When cannabis is inhaled, the effects will be felt within minutes and will be felt at its maximum peak within the next 10-30 minutes. The maximum effect usually diminishes after approximately 2 to 4 hours but its potency can last up to 12 hours.

Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

Higher doses of medical cannabis may lead to dizziness and paranoia. It may also have psychoactive effects that may include hallucinations and mood changes. Since cannabis also affects cognitive abilities, it is recommended that anyone who has taken it not engage in any activity that requires full cognitive function in the next 24 hours. When it comes to its addictive properties, research has shown that there is a very low risk of addiction when medical cannabis is taken in low doses. 

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