Introduction

Overtime, there have been a lot of myths surrounding the legality and usage of medical marijuana. This is due to the many healing potentials that scientists have ascribed to some of the chemicals in the marijuana plant. In this article, we aim to provide some basic facts about medical marijuana so you will be able to separate facts from myths.

Of course, in recent years, there have been enormous debates globally pushing for and against the legal uses of medical marijuana for medical purposes. The argument about its enormous medicinal benefits has led about 33 states in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana for medicinal purposes. But, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to approve marijuana plant for commercial medicine. This is due to the fact that the FDA requires carefully conducted studies (hundreds to thousands clinical trials) in human subjects to determine the benefits and risks of a possible medication before authorizing it commercial uses. The fact remains that available evidences from researchers and scientists are not sufficient to warrant FDA approval of marijuana plant for commercial medicinal uses.

What Research Is Being Done For Medical Marijuana?

Medical researchers and scientists are already conducting preclinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to determine its efficacy in treating symptoms of illness and other medical conditions. Currently, THC and CBD are the two main chemicals (cannabinoids) from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest. It has been acclaimed that medical marijuana can be found useful in the treatment of pains, nausea, muscle spasms, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, low appetite, sleep problems, autism, epilepsy (seizure disorders), Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.

Facts about Medical Marijuana

  • Medical marijuana is a plant-based medicinal substance from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica species.
  • NIDA-funded study suggested a link between medical marijuana legalization and fewer overdose deaths from prescription opioids.
  • Medical marijuana has been legalized in 33 states in the U.S. These are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.
  • Naturally, the human body produces its own cannabinoid chemicals (categorized into CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors), which help in regulating pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, body movement, awareness of time, appetite, pain, and the senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight). When taken, cannabinoid extracts from medical marijuana attached to human body’s receptors to provide relief from pain, muscle spasm, as well as ensure other healing effects.
  • The term medical marijuana includes the use of whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or some of its extracts in the treatment of ailments. When used in low doses, the side effects of medical marijuana are limited to dry mouth and fatigue, but higher doses can cause dizziness, paranoia, and psychoactive effects.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
  • So far, there haven’t been enough large-scale clinical trials to establish that the benefits of the marijuana plant (excluding its cannabinoid ingredients) will outweigh its potential risks on patients.
  • The FDA has only approved two medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.

In Sum

Although some states in the US are already legalizing the use of medical marijuana as an alternative therapy for curing a number of ailments, there is need for further scientific studies to ensure safety of users. Since the marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a wide range of ailments, continued research may lead to the discovery of more medications and FDA approval.