What is medical marijuana used for?
Researchers are studying whether medical marijuana can help treat a number of conditions including:
· Alzheimer's disease
· Appetite loss
· Crohn's disease
· Diseases affecting the immune system like HIV/AIDS or Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
· Eating disorders such as anorexia
· Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
· Multiple sclerosis
· Muscle spasms
· Wasting syndrome (cachexia)
But it’s not yet proven to help many of these conditions, with a few exceptions, Bonn-Miller says.
"The greatest amount of evidence for the therapeutic effects of cannabis relate to its ability to reduce chronic pain, nausea, and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and spasticity [tight or stiff muscles] from MS," Bonn-Miller says.0:00
How does it help?
Cannabinoids -- the active chemicals in medical marijuana -- are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain.
Limited research suggests cannabinoids might:
· Reduce anxiety
· Reduce inflammation and relieve pain
· Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy
· Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth
· Relax tight muscles in people with MS
· Stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS
How do you take it?
To take medical marijuana, you can:
· Smoke it
· Inhale it through a device called a vaporizer that turns it into a mist
· Eat it -- for example, in a brownie or lollipop
· Apply it to your skin in a lotion, spray, oil, or cream
· Place a few drops of a liquid under your tongue
How you take it is up to you. Each method works differently in your body. "If you smoke or vaporize cannabis, you feel the effects very quickly," Bonn-Miller says. "If you eat it, it takes significantly longer. It can take 1 to 2 hours to experience the effects of edible products."