Medical Marijuana FAQ
How does it help?
Cannabinoids -- the active chemicals in medical marijuana -- are similar to chemicals the body makes that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain.
Research suggests cannabinoids might:
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy
- Kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth
- Relax tight muscles in people with MS
- Stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS
Can medical marijuana help with seizure disorders?
Medical marijuana received a lot of attention a few years ago when parents said that a special form of the drug helped control seizures in their children. So far, research hasn't proved it works. But some epilepsy centers are testing a drug called Epidiolex, which is made from CBD, as a therapy for people with very severe or hard-to-treat seizures. In studies, some people had a dramatic drop in seizures after taking this drug. The drug has not received FDA approval.
Which states allow medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana is legal in 25 states and the District of Columbia:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
States that allow restricted use only include: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina,Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
How do you get medical marijuana?
To get medical marijuana, you need a written recommendation from a licensed doctor in states where that is legal. (Not every doctor is willing to recommend medical marijuana for their patients.) You must have a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana use. Each state has its own list of qualifying conditions. Your state may also require you to get a medical marijuana ID card. Once you have that card, you can buy medical marijuana at a store called a dispensary.
How do you take it?
To take medical marijuana, you can:
- Smoke it
- Inhale it through a device called a vaporizer that turns it into a mist
- Eat it -- for example, in a brownie or lollipop
- Apply it to your skin in a lotion, spray, oil, or cream
- Place a few drops of a liquid under your tongue
How you take it is up to you. Each method works differently in your body. "If you smoke or vaporize cannabis, you feel the effects very quickly," Bonn-Miller says. "If you eat it, it takes significantly longer. It can take 1 to 2 hours to experience the effects from edible products."