The Best Marijuana Merchandise on the Web
The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form. Continued research may lead to more medications.
Because the marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of illnesses and symptoms, many people argue that it should be legal for medical purposes. In fact, a growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical use.
The FDA requires carefully conducted studies (clinical trials) in hundreds to thousands of human subjects to determine the benefits and risks of a possible medication. So far, researchers haven't conducted enough large-scale clinical trials that show that the benefits of the marijuana plant (as opposed to its cannabinoid ingredients) outweigh its risks in patients it's meant to treat.
Marijuana is derived from the Cannabis plant. It contains more than 100 chemical compounds, called cannabinoids. When ingested or inhaled, these compounds bind to specific receptors in brain and nerve cells, which slows pain impulses and eases discomfort. The two most prevalent compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which is what gives people a "high" — and cannabidiol.
Researchers are studying whether medical marihuana can help treat a number of conditions including:
Marihuana interacts with many other medicines. It can be dangerous if taken with medicines that cause sleepiness or control mood, such as sedatives, anxiety drugs, or antidepressants. Marihuana lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, so use caution if you take medicines for these conditions. It also increases the chance of bleeding if you are taking blood thinners.
Marihuana is usually smoked. It can also be brewed into tea, vaporized, sprayed under the tongue, applied to the skin, or cooked in food.
You may be affected for hours after you use marihuana. How soon you feel the effects of marihuana and how long they last depends on many things, including:
Unwanted side effects may include: