What is medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or chemicals in it to treat diseases or conditions, and is taken for medical purposes.
Medical marijuana is used to treat a number of different conditions, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Appetite loss
- Crohn’s disease
- Eating disorders such as anorexia
- Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle spasms
- Wasting syndrome (cachexia)
How does it help?
Cannabinoids — the active chemicals in medical marijuana — are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain.
Research suggests cannabinoids might:
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy
- Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth
- Relax tight muscles in people with MS
- Stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS
How do you get medical marijuana?
- To get medical marijuana, you need a written recommendation from a licensed doctor in states where that is legal. You must have a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana use. Your state may also require you to get a medical marijuana ID card. Once you have that card, you can buy medical marijuana at a store called a dispensary.
How do you take it?
To take medical marijuana, you can:
- Smoke it
- Inhale it through a device called a vaporizer that turns it into a mist
- Eat it — for example, in a brownie or lollipop
- Apply it to your skin in a lotion, spray, oil, or cream
- Place a few drops of a liquid under your tongue
How you take it is up to you. Each method works differently in your body.
Has the FDA approved medical marijuana?
What are the side effects of medical marijuana?
Side effects that have been reported include:
*The drug can also affect judgment and coordination, which could lead to accidents and injuries.