The use of cannabis to aid in health conditions, different symptoms, and even in retail products such as patches for anxiety has long been on the increase. But with so much controversy surrounding the drug, consumers and patients alike are often left with many questions. Below, we answer some of the medical cannabis FAQs.
Medical cannabis FAQs
What is cannabis?
Cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana, is a drug from the plant Cannabis sativa. It relates specifically to the dried flowers and leaves from the plant. Cannabis plants contain hundreds of chemicals, many of which are called cannabinoids. These chemicals can be extracted and used for different purposes. The two most well-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
What is the difference between THC and CBD?
CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical. Discussions around the effects of cannabis centre around the “high” it causes users to feel, however, CBD does not contribute to that. Usually, CBD is used to minimise issues such as inflammation.
THC is the active chemical that can have a direct impact on your body and even on your mind. This is because the body has receptors that respond to cannabis – largely to do with hormone regulation. THC can get into the bloodstream and react with the body’s central nervous system and triggers an almost “euphoric” feeling.
What is medical cannabis?
Medical cannabis is a term used to cover any cannabis-based medicine that is used to help alleviate symptoms of certain conditions. Medical cannabis is prescribed by a medical professional and often dispensed at a regulated and approved location.
It’s worth noting that some cannabis-based products can be bought in stores and even online. They are often sold as a health supplement. Unless it is prescribed by a doctor, however, there is no assurance that can be made about the quality and content.
Is medical cannabis legal?
Whether or not medical cannabis is legal largely depends on where you are in the world. Uruguay and Canada, for example, have completely legalised cannabis for both recreational and medicinal uses.
In the UK, however, cannabis itself is a Class B drug and medical prescriptions are only granted in legal cases for severe conditions. Meanwhile, in America, medical cannabis has been legalised in 33 states and four territories, but it remains illegal at a federal level.
Always check the laws ruling the location you are in to find out whether the use of cannabis, even for medicinal purposes, is legal.
How do I access medical cannabis where it’s legalised?
Accessing medical cannabis is, again, different in different parts of the world. In the UK it’s likely that you will need to make a legal case for access to things such as cannabis oil. Only when it is prescribed by a registered, specialist doctor will a patient be able to access it.
In America, each state has its own legal framework but they all often centre around having a medical marijuana card. Patients need to have qualifying conditions, specific documentation, and to match a set of criteria to obtain a card. This card will also be issued on the recommendation of a medical professional.
In Canada, individuals are allowed to grow their own cannabis for medical purposes, but they must make an application to do so. Otherwise, medical cannabis can be bought from a list of licensed producers.
Which conditions do medical cannabis help with?
Medical cannabis has been legalised and approved in cases of severe epilepsy such as Dravet Syndrome. But it has also been used in cases of nausea control for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.
On a more general note, it is thought that medical cannabis can act as a great pain reliever by fighting inflammation. This comes in particularly handy for cases of fibroglycemia.
What are the negatives of using medical cannabis?
Until cannabis is legalised and any cannabis-based products are completely regulated, there may always be issues with the supply chain. This means content and quality can always be called into question.
There are also a number of side effects associated with taking cannabis, including nausea, dry mouth, and fatigue. Some experts argue that products containing THC could also lead to dependency.
Is medical cannabis proven to work?
Generally, there has not been enough clinical trials or scientific research to lead to a clear conclusion on whether or not cannabis actually works. This is, in part, why there are so many medical cannabis FAQs. There have been calls across different organisations, including the NHS, for more clinical trials to take place. That’s why it’s so important to never self-prescribe cannabis and always consult a medical professional.
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