What is Medical Marijuana?


What is medical marijuana?

Photo of marijuana leaves.

The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.

However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form. Continued research may lead to more medications.

Because the marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of illnesses and symptoms, many people argue that it should be legal for medical purposes. In fact, a growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Scientists are also conducting preclinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions, such as:

  • diseases that affect the immune system, including:
    • HIV/AIDS
    • multiple sclerosis (MS), which causes gradual loss of muscle control
  • inflammation
  • pain
  • seizures
  • substance use disorders
  • mental disorders

Points to Remember

  • The term medical marijuana refers to treating symptoms of illness and other conditions with the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts.
  • The FDA has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
  • Cannabinoids are chemicals related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient.
  • Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of interest for medical treatment are THC and cannabidiol (CBD).
  • The body also produces its own cannabinoid chemicals.
  • Scientists are conducting preclinical and clinical trials with marijuana and its extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.

Are People with Health- and Age-Related Problems More Vulnerable to Marijuana’s Risks?

State-approved medicinal use of marijuana is a fairly new practice. For that reason, marijuana’s effects on people who are weakened because of age or illness are still relatively unknown. Older people and those suffering from diseases such as cancer or AIDS could be more vulnerable to the drug’s harmful effects, but more research is needed.


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4 thoughts on “What is Medical Marijuana?

  • August 8, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Hi, I’m so glad I came across your website. I recently was told by my doctor that I should use medical marijuana to control my shoulder pain from a recent accident. I can’t take regular pain medication as it literally destroys my stomach. I was wondering if there are other forms of medical marijuana such as vaping. Is that just as effective as the pills?

    • August 8, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Hi Barb and thank you for taking  the time to look at my website.

       I can appreciate your search for an alternative to using pain medication for your shoulder. I am dealing with the same issue except it is for my back. I have pretty much weaned off the opiods, and now just use medical marijuana for pain.

      In answer to your question, vaping is not actually a form of medical marijuana, but rather a way of administering it to you yourself. Vaporizers are a great way to to be able to smoke the marijuana without all the harsh residual from the actual smoke since the pot is actually vaporized, making it cleaner and less invasive for your lungs.

      This form of ingestion is very safe and effective, as well as being a way for you to actually use your medicinal pot in public as it does not leave the air filled with the smell of marijuana since that smell can be quite potent and noticeable!!! 

      I believe this to be a better alternative than pills since the pills have a wearing off period, that dimish their effectiveness to maintain a constant source of relief, whereas with the vaporizing, you can maintain this level of relief with no real downslide like pills can do.

      You also have the option of using edibles, but since there are no set guidelines on the sale of this, it can sometimes be a hit or miss as to the effectiveness, and the actual amount of real medication stated on the label.

      Check out this site for vaporizers:  http://www.vaporizergiant.com/

      I hope this help, and look forward to hearing from you again.

      Take Care



  • August 3, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Hi Brad, I found your article very interesting. I have just spoken to someone that is taking it, she has got cancer and I am not sure if she is taking it to improve her immunology system or to fight the cancer. Very interesting topic. What do you think? Would it be just to strengthen the body?

    • August 4, 2017 at 11:30 am

      Hi Marta, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

      I am sorry to hear about your friend. Cancer can be such a journey of just how incredibly tough people can be and their desire to face head on this disease, and how best to manage it with all the treatments and medications, all the while trying to maintain a balance of a regular life. I personally have been impacted with cancer being a genetic marker that has followed the family for many generations.

      The first aspect to explore is just why she is being prescribed medical marijuana and what she hopes is the desired effect. Is it to reduce the effects of chemotherapy or medication? To improve appetite? To help with sleep and anxiety?

      Once this has been established, then it is time to explore various strains, and which will be the most effective in achieving her desired result.

      We can do this together. Inquire with your friend these fundamental questions, and together we can offer suggestions and information to get her on her journey of healing with medical marijuana.

      I look forward to hearing back from you.


      Medical Marijuana Commissary


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