Medical marijuana is a term for derivatives of the Cannabis sativa plant that are used to ease symptoms caused by certain medical conditions. Medical marijuana is also known as medical cannabis.
Cannabis sativa contains many active compounds. The best known are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the primary ingredient in marijuana that makes people “high.”
U.S. federal law prohibits the use of whole plant Cannabis sativa or its derivatives for any purpose. In contrast, CBD derived from the hemp plant (less than 0.3% THC) is legal under federal law.
Many states allow THC to be used for medical reasons. Federal law regulating marijuana supersedes state laws. Because of this, people may be arrested and charged with possession even in states where marijuana use is legal.
Studies report that medical cannabis has possible benefits for several conditions. State laws vary in which conditions qualify people for treatment with medical marijuana. If you’re considering marijuana for medical use, check your state’s regulations.
Depending on the state, you may qualify for treatment with medical marijuana if you meet certain requirements and have a qualifying condition, such as:
Further study is needed to answer this question, but possible side effects of medical marijuana may include:
Medical marijuana comes in a variety of forms, including:
How and where you purchase medical marijuana varies by state. Once you have the product, you administer it yourself. How often you use it depends on its form and your symptoms.
Your symptom relief and side effects will vary based on which type you are using. The quickest effects occur with the inhalation of the vaporized form. The slowest onset occurs with the pill form.