Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is the use of cannabis or its cannabinoids for medical purposes. It has been used for various therapeutic applications and is known to provide relief for certain medical conditions. Here are some of the common uses of medical cannabis:
- Pain management: Cannabis is often used to alleviate chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, which is caused by conditions like multiple sclerosis or nerve damage.
- Nausea and vomiting: Medical cannabis can help reduce nausea and vomiting, particularly in patients undergoing chemotherapy or those with conditions such as HIV/AIDS.
- Muscle spasms and spasticity: It can be beneficial in reducing muscle spasms and spasticity associated with conditions like multiple sclerosis.
- Appetite stimulation: Cannabis is known to increase appetite, which can be useful for patients with conditions that cause appetite loss or wasting syndrome.
- Glaucoma: Some studies suggest that cannabis can lower intraocular pressure, making it potentially beneficial for individuals with glaucoma.
- Seizure disorders: Certain forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, have shown positive responses to treatment with cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
- Sleep disorders: Medical cannabis may help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms in certain individuals.
- Anxiety and mood disorders: Some individuals find relief from symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the use of medical cannabis.
- Neurodegenerative diseases: Cannabis has shown potential in managing symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
- Inflammation: Cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for conditions such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
It is important to note that the use of medical cannabis should always be discussed with a healthcare professional familiar with the patient’s medical history. Different jurisdictions have varying laws and regulations regarding medical cannabis, so it is essential to adhere to local guidelines and obtain appropriate legal authorization if applicable.
As medical cannabis gains popularity among patients and healthcare providers, it is of utmost importance to educate the patients and the healthcare providers about the rudiments. Many healthcare providers advocate using medical cannabis to reduce cancer growth and manage cancer-associated pain.
But before the patient considers taking medical cannabis, some important things must be known and taken care of.
- Medical cannabis may work differently on different individuals: In medicine, what works for one patient may not work for another. And that’s completely normal. The same goes for medical cannabis. Medications are likely to be different, but there is always the fact that different human bodies respond differently to drugs. This response depends on age, genetics, medical history, and other factors.
- The same medical cannabis variety can have varying cannabinoid concentrations: Each variety of medical cannabis contains a different concentration and ratio of cannabinoids, compounds that are unique to the cannabis species, some of which have therapeutic value. The two most common compounds are THC, which can sometimes cause adverse psychological effects, and CBD, which is reported to counteract the effects of THC and prevent muscle cramps and spasms.
- Patients with a compromised or weakened immune system should ensure that medical cannabis products are free of contaminants. Heavy metals, moulds and pesticides are the contaminants often found in medical cannabis. Indian companies selling medical cannabis products should check for products and contaminants’ purity.
- The frequency and dosage of medical cannabis to be used may depend on how the patient digests the product: Consumers can choose to smoke, inhale, drink or eat medical cannabis products. Pharmacies that sell medical cannabis must manufacture all marijuana infusion products. It is very important for patients to purchase medical cannabis from certified and trusted manufacturers. Medical cannabis sold outside of a medical setting can be considered illegal.
- Storage may affect the potency of medical cannabis: Like some drugs, medical cannabis requires proper storage and maintenance. While some patients recommend cooling the product because they believe heat reduces efficacy, some argue this is not the case. In addition, the science used to determine shelf life can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Therefore, it is recommended to inquire about storage management from a medical outlet other than those indicated on the product.
- THC can produce side-effects: THC can, in particular, produce side-effects. Some patients report that after heavily using marijuana as medicine, they experience withdrawal on cutting back. One should keep the body’s reaction in check and consult with your physician thoroughly.
- Consider costs: Medical cannabis can be expensive. Therefore, it is recommended that the patient and their families check with the local pharmacy regarding the cost and affordability before opting for medical cannabis treatment1,2.
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- 1.Things to know before using medical marijuana. ITSHEMP. Published 2021. Accessed March 2022. https://itshemp.in/blog/medical-marijuana-things-to-know-before-using/
- 2.Bebinger M. Medical Marijuana 101: 10 Things You Should Know Before Using The Drug. wbur. Published 2014. Accessed March 2022. https://www.wbur.org/news/2014/07/21/medical-marijuana-things-to-know