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As of January 2019, the use of marijuana for medical purposes has been legalized in 33 states, four US territories, and the district of Columbia. Fourteen other states have laws restricting the THC content in products so as to allow products rich in CBD to still be accessible.

While the views on marijuana usage are divided (for and against), those who are interested in using medical marijuana for therapy should learn more about it before proceeding. Here’s a quick cheat sheet to get you started, but you are encouraged to dive deeper into the subject to keep yourself informed.

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is practically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it uses the marijuana plant or its chemicals for medical purposes — to treat certain diseases and conditions.

While the plant has more than 100 different cannabinoids (a type of chemical), the two main chemicals used in medicine are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). If you’re wondering, THC is the chemical that gives people a “high.”

What Can Medical Marijuana Be Used For?

Chronic Pain

Approximately one in three Americans suffer from chronic pain, with approximately a quarter of them unable to perform day-to-day tasks due to severe discomfort. Chronic pain can be caused by a variety of factors such as aging, cancer, or other medical illnesses. It can also be a result of previous injuries or have no explanation at all.

There are cases where it stems from a traumatic event (e.g. sexual assault, car accident, etc), leading to a person feeling both chronic pain and PTSD. Whether your chronic pain is related to PTSD or other causes, consult your doctor in Savoy to see if he/she recommends using medical marijuana to manage the pain.

Multiple Sclerosis Spasticity

MS is an autoimmune disease where the cause is still unknown and affects a person’s central nervous system. Signals between the brain and the body are disrupted due to the body’s immune system attacking the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. As a result, those with MS often experience varying degrees of numbness, pain, fatigue, paralysis, etc. but the most telling symptom is spasticity (tight/stiff muscles).

There is great evidence that medical marijuana helps soothe spasticity from Multiple Sclerosis, so you can contact your physician in Savoy to see what options you have.

Crohn’s Disease

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but medical marijuana therapy can be prescribed by your physician in Savoy to manage the symptoms.

This is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes your digestive tract to become inflamed and affects the digestive tract differently for each person. This results in fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and malnutrition. In some cases, it can be debilitating and life-threatening as it often spreads deep into the bowel tissue.

Epileptic Seizures

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is the result of abnormal brain activity, which leads to seizures, episodes of abnormal behavior (staring off into the distance), and loss of awareness. While seizures are a symptom of epilepsy, not everyone who has a seizure has epilepsy. Non-epileptic seizures are not caused by abnormal brain activity.

In many cases, epileptic seizures can be kept under control with drug therapy such as medical marijuana.

How Does It Help?

The human body is known to produce chemicals similar to cannabinoids that have an effect on pain, inflammation, and other processes. Using medical marijuana can help enhance their effects to manage these symptoms so that individuals can increase their quality of life.

It is theorized that medical marijuana is effective for managing autoimmune diseases as it can be used as an immunomodulator, as scientists believe THC can suppress the immune system and keep it from overreacting.

What Are the Side Effects?

When used in low doses, medical marijuana has minimal side effects. Users only tend to experience dry mouth and fatigue. However, at higher doses, users can experience dizziness, paranoia, and psychoactive effects caused by THC which include hallucinations and mood swings.

Some are concerned with the effects on adolescents as their brains and neurological systems aren’t fully developed and can lead to schizophrenia and IQ loss.

How Do You Get It?

In the US, medical marijuana can be obtained in states where it is legal, from dispensaries. However, they require people to have a medical marijuana card before they can buy any products. The regulations on how to obtain one are different in each state, but it would require a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional.

Medical marijuana comes in many forms, whether edibles (candies, cookies), oils, extracts, or even as a whole plant that can be smoked or inhaled.

What Are the Risks?

From what is known, medical marijuana doesn’t pose too much risk for addiction and the toxicity is very low when taken in the recommended therapeutic doses. However, there are concerns about heavy users and their psychological dependence on it.

More research will need to be conducted in the future to determine the harmfulness of long-term usage and if there are any permanent effects on the body. This may be a challenge as there is limited access due to FDA regulations. If you plan to be a regular user, note that there could be risks that are yet to be discovered.