It is currently against federal law to own, sell, give away, or grow marijuana for any purpose in the United States. Nevertheless, many states have found alternatives, such as passing legislation that allows people with specific health conditions to buy marijuana. In these states, doctors write certificates or provide licenses so patients can receive medical marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary. Marijuana is currently legal, on the state level, in 29 states, and Washington, DC. According to Harvard Health, about 85% of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, and estimated that several million Americans currently use it. 

Medical marijuana is a term for derivatives of the Cannabis sativa plant to relieve severe and chronic symptoms. The plant is typically smoked, but it can also be vaporized, sprayed under the tongue, applied to the skin, or cooked in food. Studies report that medical cannabis has a possible benefit for several conditions. The most common use for medical marijuana in the U.S is for pain relief. Although medical marijuana isn’t strong enough for severe pain, it can treat the chronic pain that impacts millions of Americans. In addition to pain, medical marijuana can also help patients with conditions like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and Crohn’s disease, HIV, and those who suffer from seizures or epilepsies.  

The implementation of marijuana in the medical industry has been studied for decades, yet many health professionals still doubt its validity and safety. That is why state laws vary in which conditions qualify people for treatment with medical marijuana. Medical experts who are not in favor of its use argue that: 

  • The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it.
  • Marijuana can impair your memory, judgment, and coordination. 
  • Marijuana smoke may harm your lungs.

On the other hand, health experts who recommend it state that: 

  • It can provide pain relief when standard medicines are ineffective or have unwanted side effects.
  • It can improve appetite and relieve nausea in people who have cancer or AIDS.
  • It may help relieve symptoms such as pain and muscle stiffness in people with multiple sclerosis.

Many patients want to learn more about medical marijuana but feel uncomfortable asking their physician about it. This is because the medical community has for many decades seen the practice as taboo and ineffective. If you’re considering medical cannabis it is essential to check your state’s regulations first.