Drug and alcohol abuse are serious issues for our country’s overall health. Almost 14 million Americans have a drinking problem today, and this includes more than 8 million people who meet the criteria for alcoholism. Not only that, but drug overdoses were the top cause of accidental deaths in 2015, with more than 52,000 fatal overdoses. Opioid addiction was the top cause of overdose deaths, with about 20,000 fatalities (heroin overdoses were responsible for almost 13,000 of those deaths).
But what if a certain type of drug could help people in pain when used in moderation? More and more states are becoming open to the use of medical marijuana, prescribed by doctors, for a variety of painful medical conditions. Patients can use legal medical marijuana to relieve some side effects of cancer treatment and to improve the appetite loss that can result from HIV/AIDS. In addition, there is ongoing research being conducted on its effects on diabetes, epilepsy, and dementia.
If you have questions about this groundbreaking new treatment, then you aren’t alone. Keep reading to get some of the facts about this pain-relieving medication:
What Can Medical Marijuana Help Me With?
Research into the effects of medical marijuana are still ongoing, but there are plenty of studies that suggest it can help with weight loss, pain management, and much more, if you can find doctors who prescribe legal medical marijuana in your state.
- Currently, the most common usage for medical marijuana is to help manage pain levels. Studies show that it can be most effective to help combat neuropathic pain, and those who support the use of medical marijuana claim that users are less likely to form a habit. Just as importantly, it’s virtually impossible to overdose on the drug.
- For chemotherapy patients who are experiencing severe nausea or loss of appetite as part of their treatment, medical marijuana can induce appetite and combat nausea. HIV and AIDS patients can also be prescribed medical marijuana to help increase appetite.
- The effects of the drug can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep, both in terms of falling asleep and improving the quality of one’s sleep. Given that stress can often impede sleep, those who use medical marijuana as a sleep aid may often feel more at ease and calmer.
How Can I Get Medical Marijuana?
You first need to live in a state that has legalized medical marijuana. As of 2016, these states currently include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C. Each state has specific guidelines for how much can be prescribed and what the supply can be.
You’ll have to talk with your physician about whether or not using the drug is right for your condition.
Are There Other Health Concerns Associated With Using Medical Marijuana?
As with any prescribed drug, there are always potential side effects and risks that may or may not affect you. Research is still being conducted on the long-term effects of using medical marijuana, and new guidelines may emerge in the future, just as with any other type of drug being used by the public. Known side effects may include feeling tired, getting dizzy, throwing up, or hallucinating, though again, this may not affect you, specifically.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain, are undergoing chemotherapy, want to avoid addictive opioid painkillers, suffer from severe muscle spasms, or a sleeping disorder, and you live in a state where medical marijuana is legalized, it may not be a bad idea to discuss this treatment with your doctor. New ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana are also being discovered every year, so take the opportunity to talk with your doctor and see if it’s right for you.