Updated: 2021, Feb 19

Your Common Questions About Medical Marijuana, Answered

Here you will find answers to some of the commonly asked questions about medical marijuana.
Your Common Questions About Medical Marijuana, Answered
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Marijuana. Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem from Pexels

Medical marijuana is perhaps the biggest thing to happen to the wellness industry in the past few years. There were over 28,000 cannabis businesses in the US as of 2017, and in 2020, the estimated medical marijuana retail sales reached a whopping $7.1 billion. The industry is growing at an accelerated pace, and, at present, 34 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. User reviews also seem to be overwhelmingly positive, so if you’re curious about how all of it works, you’re not alone. If you believe you may be a candidate for medical marijuana use, here are the answers to some of the questions you may have about it.

What is medical marijuana?

Many people imagine that medical marijuana is a different plant from recreational marijuana, but they are one and the same. Medical marijuana is the same as recreational marijuana, and it contains 100+ cannabinoids, each having a different effect on the body. The only difference is that people who take medical marijuana have a health condition, and this plant’s use can help manage symptoms or improve their wellbeing.

What conditions does medical marijuana treat?

The list of medical conditions that marijuana can manage is quite extensive. Studies have shown that regular use of medical marijuana can improve several illnesses, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, spasm, and multiple sclerosis. Medical marijuana can also help manage the symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety and chronic stress since it promotes a sense of calm and relaxation. The efficiency of medical marijuana for all these conditions hasn’t been clinically proven yet, since it’s a relatively new option. It’s only now starting to be researched, but, so far, results are most encouraging. The most significant amount of clinical evidence for the health benefits of medical marijuana is for reducing the muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and reducing the side-effects of chemotherapy (nausea, vomiting, pain). There is also evidence to suggest that marijuana might help control seizures, and the FDA has recently approved a drug called Epidiolex, which contains CBD, for the management of severe seizures.

Why does medical marijuana help with so many conditions? Research is still underway, but scientists believe that it could be because the hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have effects on multiple areas of the body. Thus, medical marijuana might reduce anxiety, ease muscle spasms, reduce chronic pain, stimulate appetite, control inflammation, and more.

Is medical marijuana legal?

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, 33 more states have legalized it, and so did the District of Columbia. However, the regulations surrounding medical marijuana use and the steps needed to qualify differ from state to state. For instance, in some states, you need a medical marijuana ID card, while a doctor’s recommendation is enough in others. To make sure you take medical marijuana legally, please check your state’s requirements.

You should also keep in mind that the list of medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana varies from state to state and is subject to change at any time.

How should I take medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana may be a versatile remedy, but, to enjoy all its benefits, you should take it according to your needs and always based on what your doctor recommended. Depending on the issue you want to manage and the severity of the symptoms, there are several consumption methods:

  • Oral: you can consume sublingually, by putting a few drops under your tongue, by eating it (as a brownie, for instance), or by ingesting it (as a pill, capsule
  • You can smoke it or inhale it through a vaporizer.
  • You can apply it directly to your skin as a cream or lotion.

Your doctor may suggest one or more of these consumption methods. For example, if you suffer from chronic pain, they might recommend inhaling it for quick relief, plus a cream to provide sustained effects throughout the day. As for the dosage, that varies too. In general, doctors recommend a small concentration to begin with, and then they work their way up depending on how you respond.

Can you overdose from medical marijuana?

Firstly, it is physically impossible to consume 1,500 pounds of cannabis in 15 minutes – that’s how much it takes to overdose. And second, your dosage will be strictly controlled. Your doctor will instruct you how to take marijuana for the best results, based on the severity of your symptoms.

For how long can I take medical marijuana?

The duration of usage again depends on your medical condition. You can take medical marijuana in the short term to cope with the pain and inflammation caused by accident, or, if you have a chronic illness, such as severe anxiety disorder or MS, therapy might span for years. In that case, you can easily renew your marijuana card, and the process will take less than when you first apply for it.

How do I get approved for medical marijuana?

Depending on where you live, you might need a doctor’s recommendation or medical marijuana card. For both of these situations, you can use Veriheal, a telehealth platform that streamlines the process of obtaining a recommendation or card. To get approved, all you need to do is sign up on the website and complete an online profile where you mention your existing health conditions. Then, you will meet with a qualified medical professional who will evaluate you. Depending on your conditions and the regulations in your state, they will decide if you are eligible to take medical marijuana, and if you are, they will give you a recommendation.

For how long is a marijuana card valid?

Your recommendation or ID card for medical marijuana is only valid for a limited time, typically up to 12 months. After it expires and your doctor can ascertain that you can still benefit from its usage, you can easily renew it.

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Dr. Keith Kantor

Dr. Kantor has been an advocate of natural food and healthy living for 30 years. He is also on the Board of Directors for NAMI.org in G

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