Between the pandemic and the political climate, 2020 hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. Most of us still haven’t quite gotten used to the work-from-home life, miraculously balancing the latter with parenting and overseeing our childrens’ zoom classes, and hardest of all, not seeing our friends and even close family during this stressful time. It would feel like an out-of-body experience, except for one fact: your body is constantly reminding you of those symptoms you’ve been suffering from all this time, putting treatment on the back burner while you deal with life as we know it.
Enough is enough. The New Year is fast approaching, and if you’re not feeling entirely hopeful about 2021, you’re certainly not alone. But you deserve a silver lining for your health, and it’s within reach. Make this year about you by taking the first step: finally getting your medical marijuana card. First, here’s everything you need to know before you make a decision.
Medical marijuana is the use of the marijuana plant or its chemicals to treat various diseases or conditions. Among the 100-plus chemicals called cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, the two that are best known for their medicinal benefits are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). While many of their effects and uses overlap, the biggest difference between the two is that THC produces a “high” while CBD does not. The range of products available to recreational and medical cannabis users contain varying levels of THC and CBD.
Medical cannabis is available in any of the same forms as recreational cannabis—as smokable flower, edibles, tinctures, topical products, and more. The difference is that medical patients may have access to higher dosages, among other benefits depending on their state, and receive a higher level of service to match them with the best products for their symptoms.
While research is ongoing, existing studies and anecdotal evidence show that medical cannabis is useful for a variety of conditions, both physical and psychiatric. As with any prescription, marijuana does not offer a one-size-fits-all solution: there are a range of products available with different strains, chemical structures, dosages, and forms of consumption that all can impact the effectiveness for each user. The staff at your dispensary can help you find the product that’s right for you.
Could medical cannabis help you find the “new you” in 2021? The following is a list of some, but not all, of the most common conditions and diseases it is used to treat.
One of the most widespread uses of medical marijuana is for chronic pain. The evidence of its effectiveness is clear, as clinical trials have shown a significant reduction in pain for patients suffering with neuropathic pain from multiple sclerosis, pain from rheumatoid arthritis, cancer pain, HIV or complex regional pain syndrome, headaches and menstrual pain, among other potential uses.
Another highly effective use of medical cannabis is for nausea and vomiting, particularly for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. According to a 2015 analysis of three studies of cancer patients, nausea and vomiting stopped for 47 percent of patients who used CBD or THC, while the same was only true for 20 percent of those who received a placebo.
Next to chronic pain, treatment for multiple sclerosis is the second most common reason people seek medical marijuana in the US. A 2014 study found evidence that MS patients who used an oral cannabis extract—a pill made with CBD, or a combination of CBD and THC—experienced a reduction in symptoms like burning, tingling or numbness, and pain from muscle spasms. Consumption of THC has also shown a reduction in tremors altogether for some individuals with MS.
Although the data is still growing, small studies and anecdotal evidence seem promising for medical marijuana as treatment for psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD. In several clinical studies, marijuana use seemed to improve mood for those with reactive depression. Small amounts of THC have shown to reduce anxiety, even leading to a decrease in some patients’ use of anxiety-reducing benzodiazepine prescriptions. It has potential for those struggling with PTSD, too, decreasing nightmares and “fear memories” after experiencing triggers like loud noises.
Cannabis appears to have strong benefits for people struggling with epilepsy, with a 2015 study finding a 54% reduction in seizures for patients who were not helped by other treatments. Research is ongoing, but the existing data and anecdotal reports show potential.
Okay, so you want to give medical cannabis a shot. Go, you! First, review your state’s regulations and qualifying conditions to obtain a medical marijuana card (Leafly has a helpful state-by-state guide). When you’re ready to apply for a card, contact us. We’ll answer any questions you might have and help you take the next step!