Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Marijuana, also known as cannabis or THC,  is emerging as an alternative treatment for a variety of medical and psychological conditions from cancer and arthritis to depression and insomnia. While the use of marijuana as medicine is still a subject of debate, a number of benefits of marijuana could make it a safer and better option for patients seeking alternative or supplemental therapies for their ailments.

1. Lack of Serious Side Effects

Despite the cultural and legal taboos of marijuana use, there are actually very few scientifically confirmed long-term side effects from marijuana use. And unlike prescription drugs – and painkillers in particular – marijuana has a low potential for dependency. There is also no chance of a fatal overdose.

As the World Health Organization states, “There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved.”

The most common side effects of marijuana are coughing, wheezing and bronchitis. But this is only if marijuana is smoked. Use of a vaporizer or consuming edibles eliminates these side effects. Individuals with certain psychological conditions, cardiovascular problems or with a history of lung dysfunction may experience more adverse side effects and should consult a physician before using medical marijuana.

2. Price

In a CBS news editorial, Dr. Mitch Earleywine mentions that medical marijuana can be markedly cheaper than certain prescription drugs. This is especially true for patients in chronic pain who do not have medical insurance and pay out of pocket to see a doctor for a basic painkiller prescription. And even though THC is available as the FDA-approved drug Marinol, medical marijuana is substantially cheaper than Marinol.

3. Use by Inhalation

A number of prescription drugs offer the same benefits as marijuana. For instance, the THC in marijuana is prescribed as the drug Marinol and is often used in the treatment of nausea and loss of appetite. While it’s an effective treatment, it must be taken as a pill. This can be tough for those who have trouble ingesting. Inhalation of marijuana smoke or vapor eliminates this challenge. Plus, when compared to inhaled vapor or smoke, it takes more time for orally administered drugs to cycle through the body to relieve pain, nausea and the symptoms of glaucoma.