Few topics stir as much controversy among doctors as cannabis. How safe is it? Is legalizing wise? What proof of effectiveness? What uses does it have? Is it addictive? Will teenagers not go overboard? Is it the miracle researchers tout? Many worry medical marijuana might just be a ploy to make cannabis legal worldwide. However, more are recognizing its true therapeutic value, and more patients benefit from it.
These are good questions to ask before sending someone to a marijuana dispensary. For most though, there are just two real questions to ask and discuss here: How useful is it and how can you talk about it with your doctor? More states have liberal weed laws than not today. Cannabis remains federally illegal, although hemp became legal under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, or just the Farm Bill.
Treatment with or without out the Buzz
Of less controversy is cannabidiol, or CBD, a cannabinoid of immense potential derived from hemp. Of course, CBD exists in marijuana too, along with psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, but hemp contains less than .3 percent of it, so it cannot make you high. Cannabis plants contain over 100 active cannabinoids, all with their own unique effects and uses, but you can choose intoxication or not.
Regardless which you use, studies show innumerable benefits with cannabinoid therapies. Proof exists showing it relieving anxiety, insomnia, pain, spasticity, and more, including life-endangering conditions, like epilepsy and seizures. Evidence of its uses is increasingly overwhelming. There are anecdotal reports too, which show millions of people using cannabis as medicine.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
The most famous, and common, use or marijuana in the United States is controlling pain. While it may not be strong enough to treat severe pain, like a broken bone or surgery, it is highly effective at managing chronic pain. The type of pain that inflicts millions of folks with daily agony, particularly as they age. It is safer than painkillers, such as addictive and deadly opiates.
What is more, many are refusing NSAIDS, such as Aleve or Advil, in lieu of cannabinoids instead, especially those with pre-existing conditions already, like ulcers, kidney failure, even GERD. Its list of uses is already so long and growing almost by day. In particular, studies exist showing marijuana easing the symptoms of most diseases, even some diseases themselves.
Most Patients Visit a Marijuana Dispensary
Of especial note is that folks use cannabis to ease nerve pain in general, and specific pain too, like that associated with multiple sclerosis. These patients have few to no options available to them, with only tranquilizers on offer, such as Lyrica and Neurontin. Patients say weed lets them continue with normal activity without feeling too sedated and out of touch with reality.
Weed is a potent muscle relaxant, capable of stopping spasms and other muscular issues. It reduces tremors in Parkinson’s disease. Many use it successfully and effectively for endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, and most other ailments where chronic pain is the common pathway. Marijuana also manages weight loss and nausea. It treats glaucoma. It also relieves PTSD in veterans direct from war zones.
Veterans, along with their psychologists and other therapists, credit cannabis for the way it helps stress, anxiety, and trauma-related issues. Many clamor for extra study, most want loosening of research restrictions. Medical cannabis also helps patients suffering HIV-related wasting syndrome and pain, as well as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and even cancer, as well as its side effects.
Conversing with your Doctor
Many patients want to learn about cannabis therapy. They want to try it. However, most are either afraid of shy of discussing this with their doctors. This is largely because the medical community has been long dismissive of cannabis, but with science proving its effectiveness, they are educating themselves and even advocating its use for patients. Still others are already using it.
Those who have been consuming cannabis medicinally often do not tell their doctors. They worry of being criticized or chided. However, it is important to discuss cannabis at length with your physician. He or she can help you calculate efficient doses, and he or she will know to re-dose other medications you may be taking or not. Cannabinoids can interfere with efficacy of some prescription drugs.
The best advice is to try cannabis yourself to see if it works for you, in cahoots with your doctor. Patients across California are embracing its use, and despite study still underway, enough evidence of its properties exists to know it can help. We know already many of its uses and risks, and because it works so well for so many, we need to discuss it, openly and without judgement.
Before visiting a marijuana dispensary, take the time to learn as much as you can about cannabis and its use for medical applications. There are different strains, with different effects, different uses, and different cannabinoids. There are terpenes to consider too, all of which have their own unique benefits that work synergistically with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Most of all have fun experimenting.