In 1970, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have “no accepted medical use.” Since then, 23 of 50 US states and DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana.

Proponents of medical marijuana argue that it can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions. They cite dozens of peer-reviewed studies, prominent medical organizations, major government reports, and the use of marijuana as medicine throughout world history.

Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary. They say marijuana is addictive, leads to harder drug use, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They say that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.
For over 4,800 years, Cannabis/Marijuana have been used medically for a variety of ailments. The effects and properties of cannabis have been recognized in historical texts in a multitude of cultures and regions – texts from China, Greece, and Persia are some of the regions of which confirmed texts depict medicinal use of cannabis.taxact

Cannabis was used as a superb pain reliever until the invention of aspirin came into use. Other ailments and maladies that cannabis were used for were: migraines, insomnia/sleeping aid, analgesic, and anticonvulsant. However, in 1937, it was banned with the 1937 marijuana tax act.

Researchers and scientists over the years and with recent discoveries have identified also that cannabis use can relieve intraocular pressure – aiding in glaucoma patients (since high pressure in such patients cause blindness). It also serves a vital function in aiding patients in preventing the wasting syndromes / chronic appetite loss associated with chemotherapy treatment and AIDS.

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More states are passing laws that allow people to use medical marijuana. So what does it treat, and who can and should use it?

Pain is the main reason people ask for a prescription, says Barth Wilsey, MD, a pain medicine specialist at the University of California Davis Medical Center. It could be from headaches, a disease like cancer, or a long-term condition, like glaucoma or nerve pain.

If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and your doctor thinks it would help, you’ll get a “marijuana card.” You will be put on a list that allows you to buy marijuana from an authorized seller, called a dispensary.

Doctors also may prescribe medical marijuana to treat:Medical-Marijuana-News

  • Muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea from cancer chemotherapy
  • Poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness, such as HIV, or nerve pain
  • Seizure disorders
  • Crohn’s disease

The FDA has also approved THC, a key ingredient in marijuana, to treat nausea and improve appetite. It’s available by prescription Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone).

How Does It Work?

Your body already makes marijuana-like chemicals that affect pain, inflammation, and many other processes. Marijuana can sometimes help those natural chemicals work better, says Laura Borgelt, PharmD, of the University of Colorado.

How Is It Used?

Medical marijuana may be:

  • Smoked
  • Vaporized (heated until active ingredients are released, but no smoke is formed)
  • Eaten (usually in the form of cookies or candy)
  • Taken as a liquid extract

Side Effects

Side effects of marijuana that usually don’t last long can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Euphoria

More serious side effects include severe anxiety and psychosis.

Risks and Limits

Medical marijuana is not monitored like FDA-approved medicines. When using it, you don’t know its potential to cause cancer, its purity, potency, or side effects.

Only people who have a card from a doctor should use medical marijuana. Doctors will not prescribe medical marijuana to anyone under 18. Others who should not use it:

  • People with heart disease
  • Pregnant women
  • People with a history of psychosis