Research and Studies On Medical Marijuana Users

July 25, 2020 All Natural

Reported rates of marijuana use have more than doubled in the past decade. Marijuana is now legal in nearly half of US states and is increasing access to the drug for current and potential future users. Although it is often portrayed as harmless, and sometimes even therapeutic, there has not been nearly enough studies done to prove this. In fact, marijuana is often prescribed for issues like anxiety, though studies cannot comprehensively show this to be true. The current available information of the impact marijuana has on the neurophysiology of the brain show, predominantly, depressive effects. 

In a recent study using pet imaging to demonstrate the release of dopamine in the striatum, a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention, results showed that heavy marijuana use has similar dopamine releasing behaviors as cocaine and heroin. Several studies in chronic cannabis users show structural changes to the hippocampus persist, even after six months of abstinence. 

U.S. Surgeon Generals have already warned that we’re too quick to legalize the popular drug when research still hasn’t shown whether or not it’s truly safe. With our new research, there is proof that concerns are well warranted.

Research finds that, after studying imaging of 1,000 cannabis users’ brains, there were signs of noticeable deficiencies of blood flow.  The study, which included 25,168 non-cannabis users, and 100 healthy controls, shows a scary and obvious difference in blood flow levels for those that used cannabis. Additionally, those that used marijuana showed a significant lack of blood flow in the right hippocampus, the area of the brain that helps with memory formation. This part of the brain is severely affected with those that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Our research has shown that marijuana users have lower cerebral blood flow than non-users. The most predictive region separating these two groups is low blood flow in the hippocampus on concentration brain imaging.This work suggests that marijuana use has damaging influences in the brain – particularly regions important in memory and learning and known to be affected by Alzheimer’s. Our research demonstrates that medical marijuana can have significant negative effects on brain function. The media has given a general impression that marijuana is a safe recreational drug, this research directly challenges that notion.

Several studies of perfusion imaging in marijuana users have shown similar results compared to ours. A small O15 PET study in a sample of 12 marijuana users used a randomized clinical trial design to examine brain perfusion before and after marijuana use. The study results found frontal, temporal and occipital lobe hypo-perfusion – all findings concordant with our study.

Who can legally use medical marijuana in Florida?

Medical marijuana is a treatment option for Florida residents who have documented cases of Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, AIDS/HIV, ALS, cancer, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, seizure disorders, muscle spasms or any similar debilitating condition. It is also available to people suffering from any condition determined to be terminal by two physicians.


How do patients get a medical marijuana card?

People 18 or older must visit one of the more than 1800 doctors who are permitted by the Florida Department of Health to recommend medical marijuana. Those under 18 are required to see two doctors. If a physician agrees that the use of medical marijuana has more benefits than risks, the patient is entered into the registry and can apply for an Office of Medical Marijuana Use ID card.  Once the initial certification is issued, patients must be reevaluated by their physician once every 30 weeks in order to be able to have their certification renewed.


Where is medical marijuana sold?

Registered patients in Florida can take their doctor’s recommendation on one of the 29 licensed medical marijuana retail dispensaries to make purchases once approved by the state. Patients are allowed to purchase up to a 70-day supply at one time. Although federal law doesn’t allow marijuana to be sent through the mail, for patients who don’t live near a dispensary or can’t travel to one, most MMTCs deliver statewide.


How much does it cost?

An initial visit to a doctor to become certified generally costs around $300 with follow-up visits running at about $200. State ID cards from the Office of Medical Marijuana Use cost $75.

What forms of medical marijuana are available?

Patient’s can buy marijuana & many other areas in what’s commonly known as “flower” form. Also, medical marijuana is delivered through vaporizers, pills, creams, transdermal patches, suppositories, oral drops, edibles or nasal sprays. It’s illegal to smoke any form of marijuana whether medical or recreational in Florida however there are many other uses.


Can people grow marijuana themselves?

With the exception of the state’s licensed MMTCs, growing marijuana is illegal in Florida. Even a registered medical marijuana patient will be charged with a felony and could serve jail time for possession of a cannabis plant.


Is marijuana a legitimate medicine?

Because the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of marijuana for any medical condition—landing it in the Schedule 1 category along with heroin and LSD—it is tightly controlled, and studies on its efficacy are limited. Current science supports the use of marijuana and many other states as a painkiller, anti-emetic, neuroprotectant and appetite stimulant. Ongoing research includes studies focused on pinpointing how it may affect certain body systems and disorders.


How does medical marijuana work in the human body?

The human body’s endocannabinoid system naturally makes marijuana-like chemicals that bind to receptors embedded in cell membranes in the liver, brain, lungs, kidneys, nervous system and immune system. When a patient uses medical marijuana, the chemicals in the drug are delivered to the blood through the lungs (when inhaled), the digestive system (when consumed), or the skin (when applied topically). When those chemicals interact with key endocannabinoid receptors, they can suppress signals such as pain, nausea and depression, while boosting signals of appetite and euphoria.


Is marijuana still illegal at the federal level? 

Yes. However, the federal government hasn’t pursued criminal charges against people who sell or use medical marijuana within state registries. Because of the disconnect between federal and state laws, health insurance companies can’t cover medical marijuana, and doctors can’t prescribe it—they can only recommend it. Additionally, banks can’t accept deposits from cannabis companies, so patients must pay cash when they make purchases at dispensaries. Employers are allowed to fire workers who test positive for marijuana, even if they consume the drug as a part of the state’s registry.


At All Natural MD Florida marijuana doctors and cards we can help you and your loved ones overcome the stigma and suffering associated with cancer, anxiety, depression, weight loss, addictions, memory issues, brain fog, and other emotional, cognitive issues and a lot more. If you are ready to regain control over your life or help a loved one, give us a try.




Related Articles: 

Marijuana As An Alternative To Pharmaceuticals

Florida Marijuana Doctors are seeing more patients than expected