Call (800) 250-6737 with any questions and to book your appointment
Medical marijuana is a term for derivatives of the Cannabis sativa plant that are used to ease symptoms caused by certain medical conditions. Medical marijuana is also known as medical cannabis.
When is medical marijuana appropriate?
Studies report that medical cannabis has possible benefit for several conditions. State laws vary in which conditions qualify people for treatment with medical marijuana. If you’re considering marijuana for medical use, check your state’s regulations.
Depending on the state, you may qualify for treatment with medical marijuana if you meet certain requirements and have a qualifying condition, such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea or vomiting caused by cancer treatment
Is medical marijuana safe?
Further study is needed to answer this question, but possible side effects of medical marijuana may include:
- Increased heart rate
- Impaired concentration and memory
- Slower reaction times
- Negative drug-to-drug interactions
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Increased appetite
- Potential for addiction
- Hallucinations or mental illness
- Withdrawal symptoms
Some medical marijuana is formulated to provide symptom relief without the intoxicating, mood-altering effects associated with recreational use of marijuana.
What is THC?
THC, also called tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound in cannabis that is psychoactive and gives you the feeling of being high. However, THC’s chemical compounds is very similar to its counterpart, CBD, which actually combats the effects of THC. Still, THC mimics the natural chemical anandamide (which is produced in the brain) in structure, altering the function in communication. So, instead of normal brain communication via neurons, the THC compound attaches to the neurons and changes the process. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), THC affects things like thinking, memory, pleasure, movements, concentration, coordination, and sensory and time perception. For these reasons, doing things like operating heavy machinery or driving while under the influence of the drug may be dangerous.
THC vs. CBD
Despite the two compounds having almost exact chemical makeups and being part of those that make up cannabis, THC and CBD act rather differently. THC is the psychoactive component in marijuana that gives you the feeling of being high – however, CBD acts as a counterbalance to the effects of THC. While THC induces drowsiness and gives you that body-high, CBD can actually increase energy. CBD can often help moderate THC’s effects by reducing anxiety or stress. You can also learn more about how CBD and THC are different here.
THC Side Effects
Still, despite a variety of uses that have many doctors, producers, and investors optimistic, THC may have some negative side effects that ought to be considered.
In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a study on the health benefits and effects of cannabis. Among the experts who contributed to the study was Dr. William Checkley, M.D., Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. As an associate professor at Johns Hopkins as well as a pulmonary and critical care specialist, Dr. Checkley claims there may be more negative effects of THC than many experts believe.
Effects On Teenage Brain
It has been proven beyond doubt that frequent marijuana use damages the brains of teenagers and young adults. Throughout adolescence and into the mid-20s, the brain continues to develop in ways that are critical for higher-order thinking and executive functioning (memory, reasoning, problem solving). White matter, which is important for neural efficiency, increases in quality and volume into the early 30s. Given that adolescence is such an important developmental period for the brain, exposure to drugs during this time has a greater impact on the brain than it does during adulthood.