Our society has long viewed cannabis as something that’s not good for our health. But research studies on its medicinal benefits and countless anecdotal stories on its effects are changing the way we view this herb. Today, cannabis is seen as a life-changing plant that helps control symptoms and improves quality of life.
If you’re new to medical cannabis and would like to try it for your symptoms, then here are some common marijuana FAQs that can help you decide.
What is marijuana?
Cannabis is called many names – marijuana, weed, pot, grass, ganja, among others. This herb belongs to a type of flowering plant called Cannabaceae.
Now, there are two major types of marijuana. You have Indica, which is known to be relaxing and sedating; and you have Sativa, which is known to be invigorating and energizing. A cross between these two types has created the Hybrid strains, and their effects depend on which type is more dominant.
Marijuana possesses psychoactive effects that cause a mental and physical high, which is why it’s a popular recreational drug. Research studies on its cannabinoids have also shown that it possesses various medicinal and therapeutic marijuana effects that can control chronic medical problems like cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, depression, arthritis, among others.
How does marijuana work?
Marijuana works by stimulating the endocannabinoid systems found in our cells. This system plays a role in several physiological functions such as sleep, memory, fear, appetite, immune response, etc. The endocannabinoid system helps make sure that there is homeostasis in the body so these physiological functions remain normal.
When there is endocannabinoid system dysfunction, it causes health problems and contributes to the development of symptoms. Similarly, health problems also contribute to the deterioration of the endocannabinoid system, resulting in the worsening of symptoms.
Now, what the cannabinoids in marijuana do is to stimulate the endocannabinoid system. They help the endocannabinoid system function and maintain homeostasis within the body.
Is marijuana addictive?
Yes; marijuana is known to increase dependence and addiction risk. The longer and heavier you consume marijuana, the higher the risk of developing dependence or addiction.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the major psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana. It stimulates the endocannabinoid systems found in the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, making marijuana consumption a pleasurable activity.
Is it possible to buy marijuana without medical prescription?
Yes; you can buy marijuana even without medical prescription. Store-bought cannabis oils, tinctures, and capsules, for example, can already help control mild symptoms.
However, for severe and chronic medical health problems, it’s advisable that you see your doctor. He can refer you to a medical marijuana doctor who can prescribe the right dosage for your medical condition and symptoms. In this case, you will need a medical prescription before you can purchase medical cannabis.
Is marijuana legal in Canada?
Yes; recreational as well as medical marijuana is legal in Canada. However, before you make a purchase though, it is important that you understand your province’s laws regarding cannabis first. Cannabis laws vary from one province to another, so to be on the safe side, always check your province’s marijuana laws.
Is marijuana legal in the USA?
In some states in the United States, marijuana is legal both for medical and recreational use. However, under federal law, marijuana and everything derived from it, including cannabinoids, remain illegal.
CBD from hemp, for example, is already legal in the United States. But CBD from cannabis is still illegal under federal law. Again, to be on the safe side, check your state’s cannabis laws.
What are the possible positive effects of marijuana?
Marijuana offers a variety of therapeutic effects. It’s known to reduce chronic pain and inflammation, and it’s also known to relieve stress and anxiety. Studies also show that marijuana has cancer-killing effects. It can reduce cancer size and control cancer growth. It can also help stop the cancer cells from spreading.
Marijuana has the ability to relieve other medical conditions as well. It can control diabetes, stabilize mood disorders, control mental health problems, and fight bacterial and fungal infections.
Using medical cannabis may benefit patients suffering from inflammatory diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s Disease. It can also help control seizures in epileptic patients.
What are the possible negative effects of marijuana?
Marijuana use induces paranoia and increased anxiety. It also affects short-term memory and impairs judgment and reasoning. Chronic and heavy marijuana use can even lead to dependence and addiction.
Exposure to marijuana also has an effect on the developing brain. It can lower IQ and cause long-term consequences such as cognitive difficulties.
How does marijuana affect the brain?
In normal, healthy individuals, marijuana causes a high. Depending on the strain, it can either relax or invigorate you. It also improves the mood and uplifts the spirit, making you feel happy and elated.
However, used medicinally, marijuana can help improve symptoms caused by brain health problems. It can relieve depression and control anxiety attacks, for example. It can even help reduce motor and sensory problems caused by neuron diseases.
How does marijuana affect the heart?
Some studies show that marijuana use increases the risk of developing heart problems. One of the effects of marijuana is to dilate the blood vessels, including those that supply the heart. The sudden rush of blood could increase heart rate and put stress on the heart. This is why people with heart problems should not smoke cannabis.
On the other hand, marijuana use reduces diabetes and obesity risks. These are medical conditions that increase heart disease risks by narrowing the blood vessels. Narrow arteries make the heart work harder to pump blood to other parts of the body, resulting in heart problems. Now, studies show that marijuana helps control fat and blood sugar levels, reducing obesity and diabetes risks.
How does marijuana affect the lungs?
Smoke, including marijuana smoke, contains carcinogens that increase cancer risk. They also contain toxins that irritate the lungs. Studies have shown that smoking marijuana can contribute to the development of chronic bronchitis and lung cancer. It also makes the smoker more susceptible to lung infections since marijuana smoke can cause some damages to the lung tissues.
How long does marijuana stay in your system?
How long marijuana stays in the system depends on several factors. If you have a slow metabolism, for example, then it will stay longer in your system, compared to those who have a faster metabolism.
It also depends on how heavy and how long you have been using marijuana. Chronic and heavy cannabis users have higher cannabinoid levels in the system, compared to first time or occasional users. So it will take a longer time to eliminate marijuana from the system.
But for drug testing purposes, marijuana is usually still detectable in the blood 24 to 48 hours after consumption. In the saliva, it’s typically detectable up to three days and 90 days in the hair.
So, is marijuana safe to use?
Marijuana has its health risks, so it is best to consume in moderation. However, you can use marijuana-derived products such as oils, tinctures, ointments, capsules, and even edibles to help control your symptoms. These are safe to use on a daily basis.
These products are not meant to replace the medicines prescribed by your doctor though. But you can use them as a daily health supplement and incorporate into your diet. Cannabinoids found in marijuana have therapeutic and medicinal properties that help support a healthy body and mind.