Is Medical Marijuana Right For You?

As more states legalize medical marijuana, patients are turning to it for relief from a wide range of conditions. Many say it eases the pain of arthritis and other chronic conditions, helps them sleep (though it can also cause drowsiness), and relieves nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy for cancer and other diseases. It also eases tremors in people with Parkinson’s disease, reduces anxiety and depression and improves a patient’s quality of life. In a recent study, it even soothed arthritic lab rats, and a survey of Colorado users found that arthritis was the leading reason people used cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Marijuana may also ease muscle spasticity (tight muscles) from MS and other illnesses. It’s a potent muscle relaxant and people swear by it for chronic pain, particularly nerve pain, that doesn’t respond to other medications. It also can reduce seizures in people with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and help control neuropathic pain from HIV/AIDS or spinal cord injury.

But researchers are still assessing marijuana’s efficacy. Insufficient evidence exists to prove it’s helpful for most other ailments, including depression and anxiety. And doctors who prescribe medical marijuana should realize that it’s not like any other commercially available prescription drug. The way it’s grown, processed and delivered is very different from FDA-approved drugs. And bypassing the FDA’s drug approval process sets a dangerous precedent that should not be allowed to continue. medical marijuana

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