Ever since marijuana was declared as a Schedule I drug in 1970, which lumped the herb with the more dangerous drugs like heroin, it had always caused a contentious debate among politicians, scientists, researchers, and the general public. Questions about its safety, long-term effects, and its benefits were inevitably raised.
But now, 34 states have declared medical marijuana legal, and 15 others, plus Washington DC, have also declared cannabis legal for recreational use. The debate is still ongoing, but they are tempered by the success of the states that legalized weed. In Colorado alone, the state had earned more than USD$300 million in fees and taxes on both recreational and medical marijuana in 2019. Weed sales in the state reached USD$1.7 billion.
The people who opposed cannabis legalization also feared an increase in crime if marijuana is legalized. However, states with legalized weed haven’t descended into a lawless wasteland that opponents of marijuana legalization warned about and feared most.
Things To Know About Medical Marijuana
The recent pandemic forced many businesses to close down, but cannabis dispensaries are deemed ‘essential’ by health officials, allowing them to stay open. Marijuana’s medical benefits and legalization have brought cannabis providers into the ranks of essential members of society. As well they should—many people depend on cannabis for therapeutic purposes and they shouldn’t be deprived of their medications during stay-at-home mandates and forced lockdowns.
The demonization of marijuana years ago has largely stopped, and the public as well as government officials now recognize the importance of giving people safe access to cannabis.
If you have one of the conditions that could qualify you for medical marijuana, here are a few things you should know about it:
1. The Growing Practices Can Be Meticulous
There may be different ways to grow marijuana for medical purposes, but many medical marijuana growers follow strict standards when it comes to plants, soil, and organic growing practices. Dedicated growers are aware that their crop can be susceptible to various threats, ranging from insufficient water, bugs and animals who chomp on the plants, and the wrong kind of fertilizer.
Growing the plants outdoors may be great, but that means growers can only do one harvest per year. This is why many choose to grow marijuana indoors, where they can grow marijuana year-round and harvest for more than once per year. Growing indoors is also best for medical marijuana because the plants are given more attention and high-quality fertilizers.
The plants are cultivated in a carefully controlled environment where they are planted on a specialized dirt mixture, and grown under the best LED lights, which create conducive conditions that give growers more harvests per year.
2. Medical Cannabis Has Lower THC And Higher CBD Content
Although many people still think that recreational and medical marijuana are the same, they are actually different. For one thing, recreational marijuana has more THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content than Cannabidiol (CBD).
THC in marijuana is the active ingredient that makes you high. It has medicinal value, but due to its psychoactive nature, THC is not ideal for medicinal users. CBD is the active ingredient that’s proven to be effective for many medical conditions. This is why medical cannabis growers cultivate strains with lower THC and higher CBD content.
3. Medical Marijuana Can Be Taken In Different Ways
There are many ways to consume medical marijuana, like smoking, using a vaporizer, ingesting it through edibles, or drinking it in liquid forms, such as teas, juices, and smoothies. They can also be in pills or capsules, tinctures or sprays, topicals, transdermal patches, and others.
4. Different Effects For Different Patients
Each patient may react differently to medical cannabis. So, any product or strain that works for you may have a different effect on another patient. Patients have been known to react differently based on genetics, age, gender, race, and other factors.
5. Qualifying Conditions For Medical Marijuana
Each state has different qualifying conditions for a patient to be eligible for a medical marijuana card. The most commonly approved medical conditions for medical marijuana treatment are:
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Chronic or severe pain
- Severe nausea
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative diseases (Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)
The stigma that once clung to marijuana is now being slowly eroded as medical marijuana is now an approved treatment for a number of medical conditions. Medical and recreational marijuana might be similar, but there are appreciable differences between the two that a medical user should know.