More states are passing laws that allow people to use medical marijuana. So what does it treat, and who can and should use it?
Pain is the main reason people ask for a prescription, says Barth Wilsey, MD, a pain medicine specialist at the University of California Davis Medical Center. It could be from headaches, a disease like cancer, or a long-term condition, like glaucoma or nerve pain.
From time to time, OxyContin abuse flares up as a hot topic around the water cooler. If it isn't celebrities in the news for abusing the prescription painkiller, it's reports of drug-dealing doctors and overdose deaths. Add to that a law enforcement crackdown on OxyContin, and the result is a backlash affecting legitimate use of the drug: Many chronic pain sufferers won't take OxyContin for fear of becoming addicted, and some health care providers refuse to write OxyContin prescriptions for fear...
If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and your doctor thinks it would help, you’ll get a “marijuana card.” You will be put on a list that allows you to buy marijuana from an authorized seller, called a dispensary.
Doctors also may prescribe medical marijuana to treat:
Your body already makes marijuana-like chemicals that affect pain, inflammation, and many other processes. Marijuana can sometimes help those natural chemicals work better, says Laura Borgelt, PharmD, of the University of Colorado.
How Is It Used?
Medical marijuana may be:
Vaporized (heated until active ingredients are released, but no smoke is formed)
Eaten (usually in the form of cookies or candy)
Taken as a liquid extract
Side effects of marijuana that usually don’t last long can include: