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Medical Marijuana in the USA: Everything You Need to Know

If you have ever considered trying medical marijuana to ease the symptoms of a health condition, for pain relief or to help you sleep, then you may have some questions that you need answers to.

One of the main things that you will usually need to consider before you start using medical marijuana is if it is legal where you live. If you’re in the US, the answer is that whether or not it is legal to use medical marijuana will depend on where you live.

Many state regulations are contrary to federal laws, which can make it difficult to make sense of medical marijuana laws.

Where It’s Legal

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, with several medical experts throughout the country now saying that they approve of its use for a variety of health conditions, particularly conditions that affect people over the age of fifty. There is ongoing research into the medical use of cannabinoids to alleviate the symptoms of various health conditions and the side effects of treatments that are used for them.

Take note that some states may have different regulations for different marijuana products. For example, Delta 8 gummy like this one is legal in most states because it is derived from a hemp plant, which is protected by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Finding Medical Marijuana Treatments

One of the biggest misconceptions about medical marijuana is that there will be a doctor available to help you navigate this treatment and choose the right option for you. While there are a few users who do have a doctor who can help them choose the right product and figure out how to use it, this is quite rare.

Most of the time, you’ll simply be given a medical marijuana card and some recommendations from your doctor, and you will need to figure out the rest on your own, so get ready to do a lot of research.

How is Medical Marijuana Consumed?

Medical marijuana can be accessed in a range of different formulations including tinctures, transdermal patches, waxes, flowers, capsules and tables, and gelatinous cubes. You can also find medical marijuana vaping products. Before choosing the right option for you, it’s important to be aware of the medical marijuana laws in your state as these will often dictate the ways that are permitted to consume cannabis for medical purposes. Many states do not permit medical marijuana to be taken in smokable or edible forms.

Medical Marijuana Vs CBD

If you’re interested in medical marijuana, then chances are that you have heard of CBD. Like medical marijuana, CBD comes from the cannabis plant. However, unlike medical marijuana, it does not contain any THC.

Both THC and CBD contain therapeutic properties but have different primary cannabinoids that interact differently with endocannabinoid receptors in the body. CBD does not cause any feelings of euphoria as unlike THC, it cannot bind to CB1 receptors in the brain.

Because of this, some people prefer CBD over THC as it has no psychoactive properties and does not cause a ‘high’. Due to this, it is also legal even in states where medical marijuana is not permitted. Medical marijuana may contain THC, CBD, or a combination of different cannabinoids.

What Qualifies Somebody to Take Medical Marijuana?

In states where it is legalized, anybody suffering from a chronic or serious health condition where other traditional medicines or treatments have not been effective can ask for a recommendation for medical marijuana from a healthcare professional.

This is normally done by a physician who will complete an examination and document the condition in the patient’s healthcare record before providing a recommendation of medical cannabis. Since cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government, doctors are not permitted to prescribe it.

However, a recommendation is an option that is compliant with state law, allowing patients to source their own medical cannabis from a supplier or dispensary, or in some cases grow their own.

Which Conditions Can Be Treated with Medical Marijuana?

The conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana may vary between states where the use of medical marijuana is legalized. For the most part, medical marijuana may be recommended to treat chronic pain, anxiety disorders, cancer, arthritis, AIDS and HIV, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, Crohn’s disease, and side effects of treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, among more.

What to Do After Getting a Recommendation

Once you have a recommendation from your physician to use medical marijuana to treat your condition, you’re usually on your own. You can find professionals who can guide you through the process of finding the right medical marijuana products for you, but there is also a lot of information out there that you can use to make an informed decision, such as this review of a marijuana seed company for growing your own.

You will need to decide whether you are going to grow your own marijuana for medical use or purchase it ready to consume from a dispensary. This will depend on several factors including your budget and how you want to take it.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card

If you have had a recommendation from your doctor and are planning to use medical marijuana to treat your health condition, then it is worth getting a medical marijuana card, as you can use this to provide evidence that you are legally allowed to be in possession of medical marijuana if you are questioned by law enforcement. Most states that have approved the use of medical marijuana have a medical marijuana program.

Your card will place you on an online registry in your state which your information can be checked against by law enforcement agents, health professionals and dispensaries, and other marijuana suppliers to ensure that you are legally allowed to purchase and be in possession of marijuana for medical reasons.

Whether or not you choose to get a card is up to you, since in most states, all you need to prove that you can legally purchase or possess medical marijuana is a written recommendation from your doctor or another healthcare provider.

Medical marijuana is legal in more than thirty US states, with some states even going further to legalize cannabis for recreational use. If you are interested in using medical marijuana to treat a health condition, understanding how it works, where it is legal, and how to legally access it is important.

Atif Mallo

Atif Mallo is a freelance blogger with huge interest in technology, science, life hacks and health. He loves coffee, cheesecake and chess. Drop a line in comments to leave feedback for him.

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