Medical marijuana is becoming an increasingly popular treatment option for a variety of medical conditions. However, there are still many misconceptions about it. In this blog post, we will discuss medical marijuana and debunk some of the most common myths about medical marijuana. Keep reading to learn the truth about this controversial topic!
What is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is cannabis that is prescribed by a doctor for the treatment of certain medical conditions. Unlike recreational marijuana, medical marijuana is strictly regulated and only available to patients with a valid prescription.
Medical marijuana is derived from the marijuana plant. This plant contains over 100 different chemicals, called cannabinoids. The two main cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, such as the “high” feeling. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can promote feelings of relaxation.
Both cannabinoids have been shown to have medicinal benefits. In fact, they are chemically similar to substances in the body used for appetite, memory, movement, and pain. Although research into the benefits of cannabinoids is limited, it suggests that medical marijuana can:
- Decrease anxiety
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Relax tight muscles in people with MS
- Stimulate appetite and promote weight gain
- Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth
- Decrease nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
Neurologists can use medical marijuana to treat a range of neurological conditions, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Epilepsy (especially Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome)
- Seizure disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
Medical marijuana is also used to treat:
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
Common Medical Marijuana Myths
Medical marijuana is a safe and effective treatment option for many medical conditions. However, there are still many myths and misconceptions about it. The most common myths include:
Myth #1: Medical Marijuana Makes You “High”
THC is the cannabinoid in marijuana that is responsible for the psychoactive effects, such as the “high” feeling. However, there are different strains of medical marijuana and not all these strains contain THC. In fact, CBD-only medical marijuana does not contain any THC and will not make you “high”. Even strains that do contain THC are dosed so that the “high” feeling is minimal. With that being said, you may need to experiment with a few different strains before you find one that works best for you.
Myth #2: You Will Get Addicted
Marijuana addiction is a real phenomenon, but it is not commonly seen in people who use medical marijuana. This is because the risk of marijuana addiction increases when using strains that contain high levels of THC frequently. The majority of medical marijuana strains have much lower levels of THC. There are also medical marijuana strains that don’t contain any THC. With that being said, medical marijuana is still a medication that can be abused if not used properly.
Myth #3: Medical Marijuana Makes You Tired
Indica strains of medical marijuana contain more CBD and less THC, which can cause fatigue in some people. For this reason, Indica strains are recommended for night use. However, there are also many strains of medical marijuana that are higher in THC and lower in CBD. These strains, known as the sativa strains, can actually help to increase energy levels and fight fatigue. Sativa strains are primarily recommended for daytime use.
Myth #4: Anyone Can Get Medical Marijuana
In order to get medical marijuana, you must have a valid prescription from a licensed doctor. You will also need to register with your state’s medical marijuana program. Each state has its own guidelines and requirements for medical marijuana, so it is important to be aware of what those are.
Myth #5: You Need to Smoke It
Smoking is not the only way to consume medical marijuana. There are many different methods of administration, including:
- Edibles (i.e. brownies, cookies, candies)
- Oils and tinctures
- Topical products (i.e. creams, lotions, balms)
- Pills and capsules
It is important to note, however, that the method of consumption can affect how quickly you feel the effects. For example, smoking medical marijuana creates an almost instant effect, whereas eating it can take 1-2 hours before noticing an effect. You can discuss this with your doctor to help you find an appropriate way to consume medical marijuana that works best for you.
In this blog post, we have discussed medical marijuana and some of the most common myths about it. We hope that this has helped to clear up any misconceptions that you may have had about medical marijuana. Now that you know the truth about medical marijuana, don’t be afraid to explore this treatment option if you think it might be right for you. Remember to consult with a licensed doctor before starting any new treatment plan. And, as always, happy healing!
Dr. Kashouty, a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), practices general neurology with fellowship trained specialization in clinical neurophysiology. Dr. Kashouty finds the form and function of the nerves and muscles the most interesting part of neurology, which is what led him to specialize in neurophysiology with more emphasis on neuromuscular conditions. He treats all neurological diseases, but his main focus is to treat and manage headaches, movement disorders and neuromuscular diseases.