With cannabis legalization and increasing acceptance of cannabis as a medicine, more patients are losing their hesitation to get a medical cannabis card. Today, millions of people across the globe stand as proof of how this green herb can help improve the quality of life. But though the hesitation has reduced, it still exists. All the patients who wish to try cannabis as a therapeutic drug for their treatment have a lot of doubts and questions. Well, I’m here to clear those doubts and answer your questions.
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about medical marijuana.
Is it Legal?
The legality surrounding medical marijuana is a complicated issue. So brace yourself to understand the answer to this question.
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states of the US. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, more states joined in and today the number stands at 33. Every state government adopted a medical marijuana program that decides the marijuana laws of the state. These laws regulate the sale and usage of cannabis within the state borders. So, you can say that medical marijuana is legal in the state.
But if we look at the take of the federal government about medical cannabis, the opinions do not match with the state government. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve of cannabis as a medicine. So, the federal government considers it a Schedule 1 Drug hence illegal. So you may end up in legal trouble with medical cannabis though the probability is very low.
This is one of the reasons why you should get a medical marijuana card as it registers you with the government as a medical cannabis consumer.
What Are The Medicinal Properties of Cannabis?
Unlike other pharmaceuticals, cannabis has the ability to be helpful in several different kinds of health conditions. That’s because it has varied therapeutic properties. Cannabis contains more than 400 different chemicals that include cannabinoids, flavonoids, fatty acids terpenes and other compounds. These chemicals render cannabis its therapeutic properties. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, ant-anxiety, appetite stimulation, appetite suppressant, mood uplifting and neuroprotective for different conditions.
Since cannabis can exhibit such diverse medical potential, it is recommended for the treatment of several conditions and symptoms. From cancer and Crohn’s disease to PTSD, anorexia and chronic pain, patients suffering from different conditions can benefit from medical marijuana.
Each state has a specific list of medical conditions that can use medical marijuana. You can always check the laws of your state to know if you can get a medical card and use cannabis or not.
Does it Cause Any Side Effects?
Yes, even medical cannabis has side effects on the consumer. Most of them may not appear initially but with time, the effects show up. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of cannabis are red eyes, munchies or increased hunger and cottonmouth. These effects are not limited to smoking. Edibles and tinctures can also cause these side effects. In addition to this, some people also experience paranoia, impaired reflexes and loss of perception. That’s because cannabis contains THC which is a psychoactive component. It can alter your brain functions and cause fatigue and loss of perception.
One of the major side effects of cannabis is an overdose. Cannabis is similar to other medications in the sense that if you aren’t careful about how you consume it, you may experience the side effects of overdosing. Every person reacts differently to cannabis. So, it is difficult to pinpoint the right dose of cannabis for a patient. This is why doctors recommend the method of microdosing or titration. You start small and move ahead slowly. A little overestimation and the effects may include severe anxiety, fatigue, couch locking high and a cannabis hangover.
How is it Different From Recreational Cannabis?
People are often confused between medical and recreational cannabis. Especially those who live in a recreational state like California. So, is there any difference between the two?
Yes, recreational and medical cannabis differ in two aspects. One, they are used for different purposes. When cannabis is used for medical reasons, we call it medical cannabis. As for recreational cannabis, the purpose of use is to get ‘high’ and recreation.
Two, to use medical cannabis, you must have a doctor’s recommendation or medical marijuana card. It is only provided by a state-licensed doctor. You have to go through 420 evaluations where a doctor reviews your present condition, medications and medical history and determine if you are eligible to get a medical card or not. In the case of recreational cannabis, there is no need for a medical card or doctor’s evaluation. You can use your state-issued identity proof to buy and use cannabis without any issue (only in a recreational state).
In addition to these basic differences, medical cannabis enjoys certain privileges and leverages that are only applicable to those with a medical card.
Can I Grow Medical Marijuana?
Whether you can or cannot grow medical marijuana totally depends on the marijuana laws of your state. For example, for medical marijuana patients in the state of California, people with an MMJ card can grow medical cannabis and even apply for a growers license to have more plants. But in the case of other states like New York, growing cannabis isn’t allowed by law even though medical cannabis is legal.
In states that allow cannabis plants at home, the use of the harvest is completely meant for personal use. If you try to sell it or give it to someone other than yourself, you may end up in legal trouble.
Is it Addicting?
Yes, medical cannabis can become addicting. If you have been using cannabis for a long time or are indulging in it more than you should, it will get addicting. That’s because THC in cannabis causes the body to develop a tolerance. As tolerance increases, your body becomes dependent on THC to reach a state of euphoria or relaxation. But, if you discontinue using cannabis at this stage, your withdrawal will be severe. You may experience paranoia, anxiety, extreme fatigue and an uncontrollable high.
The only way to avoid this situation is by sticking to the right dose and practicing microdosing.
Can I Travel With Medical Cannabis?
Technically, traveling or flying with cannabis is a federal offense. Because as we’ve already discussed, medical cannabis is illegal at the federal level. But, for patients, cannabis is a necessity. So, they cannot travel without cannabis. This is why there is leverage for people who use medical cannabis. You can travel with a small amount of cannabis in a clear bag. If anyone stops you for interrogation, you can show your medical card or doctor’s recommendation and be free.
I hope that you have your answers now. Even if there are any queries that need clarification, you can always ask them to your marijuana doctor during the 420 evaluations. So now your hesitation can take a back seat and you can enjoy the full spectrum of medical cannabis and experience the difference.