If you’re considering using medical marijuana, then presumably you are suffering either a medical or psychological condition that is creating unpleasant symptoms; medical treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) that is generating undesirable side-effects; or general pain.
Obviously, there must be the four classic warnings at this stage:
• Don’t start fooling yourself about your medical expertise and then self-diagnosing (even if you’re a physician!) – get your condition checked and verified/treated by a qualified medical practitioner;
• Don’t self-prescribe either, as medical marijuana may or may not be suitable for your situation;
• The Federal Drug Administration’s position is that there is no proven medical benefit from the use of marijuana;
• Your local State laws around the use of this substance may complicated (some States do not permit its use) and you should seek advice on this before commencing.
However, all things being equal, if you’ve been told that it may help you you may be wondering what may happen when you take it.
The crystal ball
The first thing to note is that, as with many medications, it may be difficult to precisely predict the exact effects the use of medical marijuana may have on you. The human body is a complex and still relatively poorly understood organism, and a substance that has a range of effects on one person may have a significantly different set of effects on another.
One thing you may have to choose is how you’ll take any preparation. The well-known way is to inhale the medical marijuana. This has a range of pros and cons:
• On the pros - a faster absorption of the compounds meaning faster access to pain or symptom relief;
• On the downside, however you look at it, you’ll be inhaling some probably undesirable by-products of the combustion into your lungs.
Some sources also claim that the beneficial effects wear off faster than the other main method – ingestion.
There are a range of foodstuffs and tablets made from medical marijuana preparations. When consumed, these too may have their pluses and minuses:
• For – nothing harmful going into your lungs and the beneficial effects may last longer (perhaps as long as 4-5 hours);
• Against – it may take longer to take effect (up to an hour or so) and that may not be desirable if you have a sudden attack of pain or discomfort ‘now’.
In fact, certain conditions may benefit from one delivery method rather more than the other. It may be necessary to take qualified advice and experiment for yourself if you choose to progress.
The effects of medical marijuana
Keeping in mind the above caveats about predictability, it might be possible to consider these as coming into two categories – the desired and the side-effects.
In terms of the reasons for taking it, you may find that:
• Mentally, your stress levels decline (and medical science is seemingly increasing by the day its estimation of just how big a causative factor in illnesses stress actually is);
• Physically, you may notice a reduction in muscular stresses and tensions;
• If you’re suffering for an illness that involves spasms, these may be reduced in frequency or severity;
• You may experience a reduction in pain.
It’s for the above reasons that some consider medical marijuana to be particularly beneficial for conditions such as colic, menstrual pain, extreme wind, some types of digestive problem, some of the side effects of chemotherapy and some of the effects of multiple sclerosis etc.
The negative possible side effects are sometimes controversial and not everyone agrees. However, in theory they may include:
• Some nausea;
• Some euphoria/light-headedness and giggling;
• Sudden hunger (though this, if controlled, may be beneficial to those suffering appetite loss as a result of chemotherapy);
• Difficulty in concentration.
Some people may also argue that addiction, craving and some forms of psychological disorder (loss of sense of reality, excessive fidgeting, paranoia etc) may result but these may be extremely unlikely in cases where medical marijuana is being responsibly used under professional guidance. It hopefully goes without saying that if you do observe undesired side effects, then you should discontinue use and seek further advice and guidance.
In the final analysis, whether or not to try these treatments based upon medical marijuana must be a decision for you, your medical advisor and the governing legal framework you live within.
It should be noted that this article is for information purposes only and should not, under any circumstances, be accepted as legal or health advice.