On the heels of the 2020 U.S. elections, there are now 35 states in which Medical Cannabis is legal. Another thirteen states allow for the use of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is derived from cannabis and can be used for medical purposes. Many of these states still require you to get a doctor’s recommendation to be able to purchase cannabis products for medicinal use. Text2MD can make that process as easy as a few taps of your screen.
With Text2MD, you can access medical professionals using telemedicine services. Through the Medici app, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor in no time. Considering that some people have to wait for months to be able to meet with a doctor in person, this alternative makes access to medical cannabis easier than ever before. So, what conditions are eligible for medicinal cannabis use, and how should you use it?
Conditions That Medical Cannabis Can Treat
One of the most common applications of medical marijuana is to treat chronic pain. A recent report showed that 62.2% of patients were using medical marijuana for this purpose. Cannabis can reduce the symptoms of chronic pain in many parts of the body and has been commonly used for arthritis, joint pain, and lower back pain.
Cannabis can also address pain symptoms associated with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or fibromyalgia. Evidence has shown that cannabis has a regulating effect on the nervous system and can mitigate the symptoms of these conditions.
This application has become more important than ever with the issues raised by the frequent prescription of painkillers. Opiate addiction has caused significant hardship for many individuals, including overdoses and unnecessary deaths. Using cannabis to treat chronic pain provides a healthier solution.
Most evidence suggests that cannabis can be helpful for insomnia and can regulate sleep cycles. Most patients who use cannabis for this purpose report that they find cannabis to be helpful. However, there is also some evidence that cannabis can cause sleep problems if used improperly.
Dosage matters. Too much CBD can act as a stimulant and keep you awake instead of putting you to bed. There are some studies that also suggest that THC can impair sleep long-term and create a mild dependency. Nevertheless, most research shows positive results for this application and users tend to agree. Modest cannabis use to combat insomnia is generally considered appropriate.
Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure inside the eye. When the internal pressure is off, other tissues can be damaged, which can ultimately lead to blindness. Cannabis has been proven to regulate intraocular pressure and also provide protection to the neurons that could otherwise be damaged.
This effect has been known for over 30 years! Papers on the subject go back to the early 80s and doctors have consistently produced evidence in favor of cannabis for glaucoma patients. You can read one of the first studies here for more information.
Medical marijuana can act as a muscle relaxer, which can alleviate muscle spasms, stiffness, and aching. Muscle spasms are especially common in patients who have had spinal cord injuries or who deal with neurological disorders.
90% of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients develop muscle spasticity, for example. This neurological disorder occurs because neurons lose their myelin layers. However, similar to how cannabis protects neurons from glaucoma, other neurons can be regulated and protected with cannabis use. As this study illustrates, patients who received THC generally saw improvements in their muscle spasticity.
Most recently, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reported in 2017 that cannabinoids and cannabis products should be approved for treating muscle spasms caused by MS. More research is underway and it’s likely that more products will be approved for this purpose.
Another treatment mentioned in that same report from the National Academy was nausea. This is another application of medical cannabis that has years of evidence to back it up. Cannabis is most helpful when the nausea is caused by another treatment. The most common application is for chemotherapy patients. Chemotherapy is known for causing recurring nausea and vomiting as it damages cells throughout the body.
Doctors found that cannabis was a better option than other methods of suppressing nausea and vomiting. Another common treatment, dexamethasone, was good at halting vomiting, but not the nausea itself. Furthermore, it would often result in a delayed effect where 24 hours later, the patient would vomit as much as they would have without treatment.
Tests of cannabis products using THC found that both acute and delayed nausea were controlled, and this reduced the prevalence of vomiting in chemotherapy patients. You can learn more about these results in this clinical review of various studies.
Loss of Appetite
A loss of appetite goes hand in hand with nausea. The results from using cannabis to treat loss of appetite are likewise quite positive. Cannabis has been widely used for cancer patients to help them regain their appetite after chemotherapy. Proper nutrition is paramount in combatting cancer, so stimulating the appetite is a must.
It can also be effective for individuals with anorexia or the less common issue known as wasting syndrome. In the latter, individuals lose body weight rapidly, often without a clearly identifiable cause. However, in both of these situations, cannabis can restore appetite and help patients to eat enough to stave off these conditions.
Cannabis for seizure relief is a relatively new area of study, but it has had promising results. Most research so far has concentrated on treating seizures caused by epilepsy. The FDA went so far as to approve CBD for this purpose. There are two types of epilepsy that have been approved for CBD treatment: Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.
Studies have shown that CBD can reduce both the frequency and severity of seizures. However, THC may offset some of these benefits, so patients in these cases are recommended to opt for CBD-only preparations. Numerous studies have demonstrated an average improvement of 50% for patients, with many having complete freedom from seizures on CBD.
Anxiety and Depression
When it comes to mental health issues, doctors are a bit more divided on the topic of medical cannabis. In general, CBD has been recommended to treat anxiety, while you might want to avoid THC compounds.
CBD has been given to many patients to deal with social anxiety and reduce panic attacks. However, THC can increase these problems since some of the side effects are associated with anxiety. For example, THC can increase your heart rate and can trigger paranoia, which obviously if you are predisposed to anxiety would only make matters worse.
With regard to depression, several public health agencies have claimed that there is not yet any conclusive evidence for this application. However, a thorough review of patients’ self-reported use and results showed that 34% of patients took cannabis for their depression and felt that it was helpful. Mental health should be treated by a professional, and depression cannot be cured with cannabis alone.
This is another novel application of CBD. There are now skincare products that use CBD to hydrate the skin and make it more resistant to the bacteria that causes acne. To date, there isn’t much evidence to support these claims. However, a 2014 study does provide solid evidence that CBD can treat acne.
That study looked at the production of sebum, the main skin oil that is associated with acne breakouts, and found that CBD would moderate the skin’s production of sebum. The researchers also noted that since CBD readily dissolves into other oils, it would be useful as a topical cream for acne treatment.
We’ve mentioned how cannabis can reduce the symptoms of chemotherapy, but what about treating cancer itself? While cannabis is not a cure for cancer, it has shown promising results in animal tests and lab studies, as the American Cancer Society explains.
Recently, scientists saw that applying THC and CBD to cancer cells in laboratories could slow down their growth and reduce their spread. However, the laboratory environment is quite different from the human body. There are currently early clinical trials to determine just how much cancer is affected by cannabinoids.
Which Forms of Medical Cannabis Should I Take?
Once you receive a physician’s recommendation for medical cannabis, you’ll be able to purchase a wide variety of medicinal products. Our doctors can guide you towards the right choice for you. Here are some general guidelines to consider when shopping for cannabis products.
As we have noted, there are many situations where you should opt for CBD-only preparations. Medical marijuana products should state the percentage of THC and CBD present in the product. Whole plant material contains both of these compounds. You should only buy from reputable, licensed dispensaries that can provide you with accurate information as to the contents of whole plant material.
Route of Administration
How you administer your cannabis is up to you. It’s possible to make or buy edible cannabis products, however, these tend to take up to two hours to take effect, and their effects last much longer. Dosing edibles can be more difficult than smoking or vaporizing plant material. If you have asthma or other breathing issues, you should avoid smoking and vaping as this can exacerbate those conditions.
CBD oil is commonly sold in small vials that you can take sublingually. For sublingual administration, place a few drops under your tongue and keep them in your mouth for about 10 minutes. You can swallow these oils and even add them to food or drinks, such as tea or coffee.
Several pharmaceutical CBD and THC products exist, including oral sprays similar to a breath spray. There are also pills containing CBD and THC, which are the easiest to use. Regardless of the method you use, it’s always a good idea to try a modest dose for first time users or for the first time you use a new product.
How Can I Get a Medical Cannabis Card?
While the exact process for obtaining permission to purchase medicinal cannabis products varies from state to state, getting a physician’s referral is generally the first step. Once you have this, you may be able to visit the dispensary immediately, although in some states you’ll have to submit additional paperwork to a state office to officially receive your card. You can make the process much easier by choosing telemedicine over traditional in-person visits to the doctor.
Instead of having to wait for weeks and driving to a doctor’s office, you can stay home and tell a certified doctor about your symptoms and get approval within minutes. Go to Text2MD, where you can book an appointment for a video consultation or download the Medici App and get in touch with a physician today. Save time and save money without any sacrifice with Text2MD.