14 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Medical Cannabis

Over half of the United States has legalized medical or recreational cannabis, making research possible on the subject, albeit difficult due to the federal classification of cannabis still as a Schedule I drug.  While research is limited, it has allowed us to obtain answers for some of the most commonly asked questions about medical cannabis.

What’s in a cannabis plant?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, pot, weed, and many other names, is the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant.  It contains CBD, which is not mind-altering but provides therapeutic and medicinal side effects.  Among many other compounds, cannabis also contains THC, which is the primary psychoactive, mind-altering substance for the plant, but also another component that provides therapeutic benefits such as a stimulated appetite and reduction in nausea.

What are the positive and negative side effects of consuming marijuana?

Some positive side effects to consuming cannabis are laughter, increased appetite, nausea reduction, feelings of euphoria, and relaxation of muscles in the body, among other positive side effects.  While not everyone reacts negatively, some negative side effects are known to be paranoia, short term memory loss, and involuntary fatigue or feeling of immense sleepiness.  Negative side effects caused by cannabis plant consumption are not as frequent as the positive side effects experienced with it.

Are there ways to counteract the negative side effects?

If you do experience negative side effect from consuming too much cannabis, you can consume CBD, eat regular food, sleep it off, or exercise to further work off the effects that come from the plant.  You will be able to counteract any negative side effects in a matter of minutes to a couple hours, depending on how you consumed the cannabis and how much of it was consumed.

What are the different ways you can consume cannabis?

There’s the classic method of smoking marijuana to feel its effects, but they can also be turned into edibles for food, infused into beverages, extracted into wax or vape juice for vaping, extracted into a concentrate to be used as a tincture, and more.  If your focus for medical cannabis is for pain, you can also rub hemp or cannabis oil on the affected area for relief topically.

Who qualifies for a medical marijuana card and what can cannabis be used for?

The law differs from state to state as to who qualifies for medical cannabis. It can be used as a treatment for symptoms for a variety of medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, AIDs, HIV, Crohn’s Disease, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, terminal illnesses, and any other debilitating medical condition that may fall under the law’s umbrella.  Some other conditions that patients may face to qualify, however, could include gastrointestinal disorders, autoimmune disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, PMS, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and more.

Can minors receive a medical cannabis card?

While minors cannot legally obtain marijuana themselves, patients that qualify for medical cannabis that are under the age of 18 may be able to have a designated caregiver, which is either a parent, legal guardian, or an individual designated by a parent or legal guardian.  In some circumstances, an appropriate caregiver may be otherwise approved by the Department of Health.  The designated caregiver must be present when the patient that’s under 18 consumes marijuana.

Can you still purchase a gun if you have a medical cannabis card?

If you are already legally able to purchase a gun within the United States, you are still allowed to have possession of a gun and purchase it through a private seller; however, you are no longer allowed to purchase firearms from any federal retail store.

Can you still pass a drug test?

If you consume cannabis, there’s no guarantee you will pass a drug test, even if the plant is legal to some degree in your state.  You will want to verify what the drug test is checking for, as you may test positive for THC in your system.

Is medical cannabis covered by insurance?

Health insurance companies do not currently cover cannabis under their policies because the plant is still a schedule I drug on a federal level.

Can a doctor prescribe medical marijuana?

A doctor cannot directly write a prescription for medical cannabis.  They can, however, write an order for their recommendation that they deem you fit and qualified for medical cannabis.  Your doctor issuing you a written certification or making that recommendation gives you the green light once you receive your medical cannabis card, however.

How long does it take to obtain a medical cannabis card?

Once your doctor has issued you a written certification to obtain a medical marijuana card, it will be processed and shipped to you within 3 to 100 days.  Unfortunately, because of the vast range in laws on the subject, it differs greatly by state as to how long it will take before you receive your card in the mail.

Can you overdose if you consume too much cannabis?

It is not physically possible to consume the amount of cannabis necessary in the amount of time necessary to overdose. Essentially, you’d need to consume about 1,500 pounds of cannabis within 15 minutes to induce any sort of fatal or lethal response.  In short, it’s impossible.

Can you get addicted to cannabis?

In severe cases, marijuana use disorder can take on a more serious addiction.  The disorder itself is caused by the development of problem use of the plant.  If someone uses cannabis very frequently and then quits, they often report up to 2 weeks of irritability, cravings, restlessness, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, and other forms of physical discomfort.  While the plant itself is not addictive, moderation for the plant is always ideal.

Is marijuana a gateway drug?

With statistics in states that have legalized cannabis indicating an opioid usage decrease after the plant became legal, it’s less likely that cannabis is a gateway drug. Though the stigma spoiled its reputation for decades due to prohibition ingrained into society, we now have a decade of legality to show the good side the plant has to offer.

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