“The use of medical marijuana to cure or reduce the effect of select disorders has been occurring for years until the 1900, but this year the plant is starting to become legal throughout the United States(Oberg). There are thirty-three states as well as the District of Columbia and Canada that have openly legalized the use of marijuana in some form. Half of these states and regions have legalized marijuana for medical purposes only, while others are used for recreational purposes(Wenk). Though the plant is not legal nationwide, scientists in legal states will be doing in depth research in hopes to aid in its legalization. Knowing the types, treatments, and the pros and cons of medical marijuana will aid in understanding the purpose and effect of using medical marijuana on patients going through health disorders.
Types of Medical Marijuana
There are hundreds of components found in marijuana, but the most known and studied components are CBD and THC.Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component derived from marijuana that can be taken without receiving the psychoactive portion associated with consuming marijuana. CBD is one of the main components in marijuana and is said to be responsible for medical benefits(Oberg). The other component is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),which is known for getting you “”high””(Marijuana and Cannabinoids). There are strains that are bred to yield high levels of CBD and low levels of THC for people who do not care for the psychoactive part of the plant(Health Problems, Medical Marijuana, and Treatment in Pictures). It is mentioned that the main two components of marijuana have a inverse relation. Strains with high levels of THC often have low levels of CBD and strains with high CBD levels yield low THC levels(Kohn). A popular strain called Charlotte’s Web was bread for children with hard to treat epilepsy. These strains are common for children with severe epilepsy whose parents do not wish for there child to be high but still receive the medical benefits of the plant(Health Problems, Medical Marijuana, and Treatment in Pictures). Instead of inhaling the plant and possibly affecting the lungs, doses can be taken in the form of drops.
The Food and Drug Administration have allowed three cannabinoids to be registered as drugs to aid in the relief of patients that suffer from health disorders. There are two rare forms of epilepsy that cause multiple severe seizures usually found in children. It has been proven that the seizures can be suppressed by using CBD, so this year the FDA approved epidiolex oral solution to help reduce the severity of the disorder.This year the FDA also approved synthetic dronabinol and nabilone to help people with cancer and AIDS. Both drugs contain synthetic THC. People with cancer that receive chemotherapy are given both after the medicine given to them does not work . The THC in dronabinol cures loss of appetite and weight for people diagnosed with AIDS. Dronabinol can be prescribed in liquid form as Syndros, which the FDA approved in 2016(Marijuana and Cannabinoids). In the United Kingdom a plant extract was discovered that balances the ratio of THC and CBD. The extract is called sativex and is given to people with multiple sclerosis, but is not allowed in the United States(Oberg).
There is a wide variety of disorders and illnesses that medical marijuana is prescribed or recommended to treat. The number one purpose of medical marijuana is to relieve pain. THC is most commonly known for treating nausea, pain, and appetite loss while giving the user a state of psychoactivity(Oberg). CBD is known to treat mood disorders, mental disorders, and illnesses that affect the organs(Kohn). The type of illness or disorder you are diagnosed with determines the type of strain you are prescribed to. Once diagnosed a patient will be given a marijuana card that will allow them to purchase different strains at a authorized dealer known as a dispensary(Harding).
There are different ways that people can use medical marijuana including smoking, vaporizing, brewing in beverages, pills, drops, and consuming edibles infused with the drug(Health Problems, Medical Marijuana, and Treatment in Pictures). Since our bodies already create marijuana like chemicals to respond to processes like pain and inflammation the compounds in marijuana help these chemicals perform better(Harding). All options are available, but each form affects people in different ways and works at different speeds. Smoking, vaping, and using drops can be felt immediately because THC is transferred from your lungs, to your bloodstream, then to your brain cells which in turn releases dopamine. This chemical in your brain is responsible for getting you high. When taking the medicine in the form of pills, beverages, and edibles the effect may take up to an hour to kick in, but the effects are longer lasting and stronger(Health Problems, Medical Marijuana, and Treatment in Pictures).
Though prescriptions are given by doctors there are no designated dosage amounts given. Your dosage depends on your ability to handle the medicine(Kohn). Though no reports of overdosing have been reported it is always advised to start little and work your way up. In some conditions patients will only need to medicate once a day. More experienced people with more severe conditions will require multiple to frequent dosings daily. It is not advised for people under 18, pregnant women, people with heart disease, and people with a family history of psychosis. Medications are to be kept away and inaccessible from children because of the risk of lung disease, mental disorders, and addiction(Harding).
Pros and Cons
There are many advantages to using medical marijuana to relieve pain and help cure a variety of disorders and illnesses. At the same time with all good things must come side effects but this time the good outweighs the bad. Medical marijuana is a prescribed drug that helps with pain for people that have no luck with other prescribed medicines(Kohn). It reverses the effects of aids and cancer chemotherapy by helping with weight loss and loss of appetite(Marijuana and Cannabinoids). It cures nausea, muscle spasms, pain, and sleeping problems(Oberg). Researchers are still studying the medical benefits of the plant. Since marijuana is not legal in all parts of the United States, scientists are restricted from testing and exploring this beneficial plant. People with disorders that can be treated from marijuana are also restricted from receiving the drug because it is not legal everywhere. This forces some families to move to legal states in hopes of curing their disorder(Kohn).
Some forms of medical marijuana do not carry any known side effects and are harmless. The drops used by children with autism, epilepsy, and anxiety are relatively harmless. Liquid drops are easier to dose than smoking, vaping, or consuming because dosages can be adjusted to fit the right amount given to a patient a day. Dosing is one of the hardest factors when using medical marijuana because though some dispensaries test out strains to check levels of THC and CBD, others don’t(Kohn). Research is also being done to see what other diseases can be cured from the plant and if there are any more components that produce medical benefits. This process will take time due to restrictions and availability to conduct research.
There are not many side effects to medical marijuana, but the ones that do exist depend on how frequent the medicine is taken. Any form of smoking can result in lung problems and worsen lung diseases that somebody already has. Marijuana is known to change your mood but not always for the best. Effects last around one to three hours and heavier doses can cause hallucinations, paranoia, and weaken decision making skills. It is also known to affect short term memory. Heavier smokers may experience problems associated with their breathing(Health Problems, Medical Marijuana, and Treatment in Pictures).Pregnant women who use marijuana put their babies at risk of developing health issues(Health Problems, Medical Marijuana, and Treatment in Pictures). If taken properly and with sense there are no bad effects associated with using medical marijuana to treat pain and other symptoms of disorders(Oberg). Insurance does not cover the cost of the medicine so treatments can cost from $100-$1000 a month(Kohn). There is still a lot of research that needs to be done in the years to come that will aid in the legalization of marijuana , but until then we will have to wait.
Medical Marijuana is an upcoming drug in the United States. It has the potential to become a all time solution to a number of disorders. With further research and help from the people this plant can become legal nationwide. This would aid the thousands of people who suffer from things that can be treated with this drug and those who can not access the drug because of legal issues. With hardly any health issues associated with the plant, marijuana is on track to be a relief from multiple disorders that affect people’s everyday lives. After exploring the types, treatments, and pros and cons of medical marijuana, a sense of understanding of the purpose and uses of the plant is accomplished.”