What is marijuana? Marijuana is also known as pot, cannabis, or MaryJane; it is the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis Sativa (hemp) plant. It contains compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, which contain mid altering substances.
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Medical marijuana or cannabis refers to the use of marijuana under physician-prescribed therapy to reduce pain and discomfort associated with some medical conditions or reduce traditional medical treatments’ side effects.
Here are some illnesses Medical Cannabis can treat:
- Easing and nausea vomiting
- Stimulating appetite to patients undergoing chemotherapy and also aid patients
- Managing chronic pain
- Reducing the eye pressure in glaucoma patients
- Gastrointestinal illness.
There are different methods of using Medical cannabis. Here are some ways in which cannabis can be inhaled or ingested into the body, and each way determines the effects of the drug.
Smoking or inhaling: If you smoke or inhale cannabis, a sense of delight begins to work within minutes and reaches a peak within 10-30 minutes. The feeling most likely wears off within 2 hours after you stop smoking or inhaling.
Ingesting: Today people add cannabis to foods like cookies, candies, and cakes. If a person consumes such products containing cannabis by mouth, they usually feel the effect within an hour after ingesting it. The sensation usually peaks after 2- 4 hours.
The study suggests that the type of edible effects takes a long to feel the impact.
Topical: Today most people who use medical cannabis like to use transdermal patches allow the cannabis ingredients to enter the body over a prolonged period.
The use of transdermal patches is significantly beneficial to people who are using cannabis to treat pain and inflammation.
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How Does Medical Cannabis Work?
Human bodies naturally produce some cannabinoids through the endocannabinoid system, which acts similarly to neurotransmitters of sending messages through the whole nervous system.
Neurotransmitters affect the brain and other areas, which play a significant role in keeping memory, concentration, sensory pleasure, time perception, and movement.
The receptors typically respond to these cannabinoids, and they also react to THC and other cannabinoids. These are why cannabinoids from outside sources can alter and disrupt normal brain function.
THC affects brain areas that control the following:
- Memory and attention
- Balance, posture, and coordination
- Reaction time (the duration time to respond, e.g., When someone calls you)
Due to this effect, the person consuming cannabis in any form is advised not to drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in risky physical activities.
THC also affects sensory perception, and effects are colors look brighter, emotions are profound, and music is more vivid.
THC also stimulates cannabinoids receptors, which increases the levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls pleasure.
What do you feel after consuming Medical Cannabis?
When people use cannabis, they often notice the following effects:
- Euphoria or a feeling of great joy
- Change of perception
- Increase in appetite
- Feeling more talkative
Risks of using cannabis
Cannabis does not only have pros; it also has some trouble such as:
Loss of memory: Frequent use of cannabis can cause memory loss. Research shows that regular cannabis smokers are at a high risk of acute memory loss.
Gum disease: According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are many links between Cannabis and Gum disease
Testicular cancer: According to a research review conducted in 2018, using cannabis over 40 times in a lifetime may increase testicular cancer risk.
Impairment: In a study conducted in 2012 reported that there are higher chances of road accidents from people smoking cannabis
Immune response: A 2017 study reports that abuse of marijuana may significantly affect the immune system. However, there is a need for more research to confirm this.
Medical marijuana is safe when prescribed for the short term. However, there are still side effects common to the use of medical marijuana, such as dry mouth, mental disorders, dizziness, and blood pressure problems.
Note that even though Cannabis is a mind-altering substance, it does not have a long-term effect on adults. A study report conducted by Hazards Marijuana Investigation for Neuroscientific Discovery (minds) in 2017 shows people who used marijuana to treat and manage anxiety, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeping problems. People used for experiment trials did not have any signs of cognitive functions after three months of use. They improved in terms of paying attention and managing time.
Note that the benefits of using medical marijuana may vary from person to another, and such factors are affected by medical history and family predisposition. Also, keep in mind that medical insurances do not cover medical marijuana.
Some women have reported having used Medical cannabis during pregnancy to treat severe nausea. However, no research proves that practicing medical marijuana during pregnancy is safe, and doctors do not recommend it.
Pregnant women should not use medical marijuana without consulting their health care provider.
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