What Are the Medical Marijuana Health Benefits and How Does It Work?
In more than half of US states, marijuana ranges from fully legal to legal for restricted medical use.
Public opinion about marijuana has drastically changed over the last 50 years. 91% of American adults in 2019 believed that marijuana should either be entirely legalized or solely legal for medicinal use.
Are you curious about medical marijuana health benefits and how it works?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about medical marijuana.
What is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is cannabis that is used for medicinal purposes.
Cannabis is a plant native to Central Asia that is now grown around the world. The legality of cannabis varies around the world and between the U.S. states.
The marijuana plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Marijuana is increasingly considered a viable medicine after decades of prohibition.
The cannabis plant has been used in Taiwan at least 10,000 years ago to make fiber. It’s likely that the discovery of its medicinal properties was an early development.
Medical Marijuana Health Benefits
The field of scientific marijuana research is still in its infancy. That being said, there is a lot of optimism about the potential health benefits of marijuana for a long list of conditions.
Medical marijuana has been used in the treatment of chronic pain conditions such as:
Pain is one of the most common conditions for which doctors prescribe marijuana.
It is believed that marijuana can reduce pain because the cannabinoids in the plant can alter the pain perception pathways in the brain. Some reports claim that marijuana helps replace frequent use of NSAIDs.
Mental and Neurological Disorders
Some doctors prescribe medical marijuana to help with neurological and mental disorders. This is because of its effects on the limbic system.
Conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Tourette syndrome are at times treated with marijuana.
So far, the only drug containing marijuana-derived ingredients that has been approved by the FDA is known as Epidiolex. It’s prescribed to treat two rare forms of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome.
To learn more about how medical marijuana can help with anxiety and depression, check out our post on the topic.
Inflammation and Digestion
There is a long list of diseases that are thought to be caused by inflammation.
Marijuana contains over a hundred specific cannabinoids, one of which is cannabidiol, also known as CBD. CBD is believed to help reduce inflammation. Therefore it’s potentially beneficial to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Well-known for its ability to reduce nausea, marijuana may also have benefits for the digestive system. Its ability to modulate appetite means that it may be effective in treating anorexia.
Somewhere between 50 and 70 million American adults experience sleep disorder symptoms.
People who suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia can find the relaxing effects of marijuana to help them fall asleep.
Another reason marijuana might help with sleep is because of its ability to reduce pain can make sleep come easier.
It’s no secret that the U.S. is undergoing an opioid epidemic. Whether individuals first begin taking the medication for pain and become addicted, or they first obtain opioids illicitly, the rise of opioid-related deaths has been tragic.
It’s possible that prescribing marijuana for applicable conditions rather than opioids could reduce instances of opioid dependency. There are also some proponents of using marijuana as a treatment in drug addiction recovery as an alternative to drugs like suboxone.
How to Get a Prescription for Medical Marijuana
The laws regarding what conditions qualify for medical marijuana use vary between states. Obviously, in states where marijuana is recreationally legal, it is available to be purchased to anyone meeting the legal age. That being said, adults in states where recreational marijuana is legal might not have access to the same products as medical patients.
In the state of Florida, the following conditions qualify a person to become a medical marijuana patient:
- Lou Gehrig’s disease/Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic seizures
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Medical conditions comparable to those listed above or of the same class or kind
- Chronic nonmalignant pain
- A diagnosis from a physician other than the doctor issuing the certification of a terminal condition
If you’re trying to find out how to get a prescription for marijuana, it’s important to know that technically physicians cannot prescribe marijuana. This is because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Instead, doctors can write a medical marijuana recommendation for you which can be filled at a dispensary.
If medical marijuana is legal in your state, there are likely many doctors that can provide a recommendation for you if you meet the qualifications. Making an appointment with a qualified physician is the first step.
Are You Ready to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient?
People have been using marijuana medicinally for thousands of years. Luckily after a long period of restriction, it’s becoming more available to patients in need.
Research is constantly being done in the field of medical cannabis research. As time goes on, we’ll learn more about the extensive medical marijuana health benefits.
Whether you’re interested in obtaining marijuana for inflammation conditions, cancer, epilepsy, or any other qualifying condition, it never hurts to talk with a doctor about your options.
If you’re in the Tampa area and looking to meet with Dr. Hashim, head over to our Contact Us page to request an appointment now!