What is Medical Marijuana?

Nowadays, everyone seems to be talking about medical marijuana and its healing properties, but considering it was banned for so many years, most people still have a lot of questions. Where is it legal? What conditions and diseases does it treat? How can I get a prescription and an ID card from a doctor? What are the risks and side effects of taking it? Keep reading to find out the answers to all of these questions and more.

Where does medical marijuana come from?

Medical marijuana is obtained from the dry leaves and chemicals of the cannabis sativa plant and is used to treat many medical conditions and diseases. The plant contains more than 100 different chemicals, which are called cannabinoids. These can have various effects on your body. However, there are two main cannabinoids, which are considered the most important ingredients of the plant, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The substance that is responsible for making you high is THC, while CBD is thought to be responsible for the medicinal benefits.

Where is it legal?

The first state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana was California, in 1996. Since then, more than half of the states have followed suit. It is now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, including Florida as of 2017. However, the situation is confusing since it is still considered illegal under the federal law. Even so, although marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some CBD oils, remain illegal under federal law, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is now allowing products that contain no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis or those that are approved by the FDA in carry-on and checked luggage.

The FDA has approved three cannabinoids as medications. These include dronabinol (Marinol and Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet), which are used to treat nausea and vomiting in patients on chemotherapy. Dronabinol also stimulates the appetite of patients with AIDs or cancer in order to offset weight loss. Another medication is Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures associated with epilepsy in Lannox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

What conditions and diseases does it treat? How can I get a prescription and an ID card from a doctor?

Each state has its own list of qualifying conditions required in order to obtain a prescription for therapeutic use. In Florida these conditions include cancer, chronic nonmalignant pain, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy and seizures, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as terminal conditions. You need to obtain a medical marijuana ID card or certification from a prescribing physician in order to receive cannabis. Having one of the above listed conditions enables you to gain certification and qualifies you to get an ID card, which enables you to get your prescription filled at a dispensary.

Looking for medical marijuana certification and ID card? Contact Cannabimed today and speak with a local Florida medical marijuana certification physician.

How do I take it?

Medicinal marijuana is basically taken the same way as when it is used for recreational purposes. You can smoke it, inhale it through a vaporizer, or even eat it in brownies. You can also apply it to your skin as a cream, lotion or oil. Additionally, you can get a liquid form and place a few drops under your tongue.

What are the risks and side effects of taking it?

Like with all medications, medicinal marijuana can cause many side effects, such as depression, dizziness, increased heart rate, hallucinations and decreased blood pressure. Also of concern, as with recreational use, is that medical marijuana can affect your judgement and coordination, which can lead to increased accidents or injuries. As well, if you smoke it, you can have problems with breathing, such as a chronic cough or bronchitis. Of major concern, is in pregnant women who use it, since it may affect the baby’s health and development.

One of the most common risk factors in taking medical marijuana is that it causes dependence and you can easily become addicted. Those individuals who develop dependence, will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it.

Future outlook of medical marijuana

Although, medicinal marijuana has been legalized in certain states, most medical students and practicing physicians still have not been educated about using it to treat patients. It has not been integrated into the medical community yet and most physicians still cannot provide many answers on the effectiveness of therapeutic uses of cannabis. However, with time, as more and more individuals use it to treat illnesses and chronic conditions, more evidence-based medicine will become available. Nevertheless, through Cannabimed, you can find a qualified and educated practicing physician in Florida to help you get started to qualifying medical marijuana certification.

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