Disease management and treatment can be tricky. Every patient, as well as every disease, will react differently from other patients or ailments. Everything from biological differences to metabolism can affect treatment. This ineffectiveness in treatment methods cannot be prevented because of the endless variations making many regimens a guessing game. With the life and comfort of so many patients hanging in the balance, it’s no wonder that medical professionals worldwide are always searching for new and improved treatments. In the case of medical marijuana, practitioners didn’t find something new; instead, they looked to one of the oldest medications known to man.
According to a 2007 article in the Journal of Natural Products, an estimated 70% of all new drugs introduced in the previous 25 years had been derived from natural products. With so many plant-based medicines on the market today, it shouldn’t be a surprise that marijuana was at one time the drug of choice for many ailments.
What is medical marijuana?
The cannabis plant contains more than 400 chemical elements, many of which are not yet identified. The two components that are most understood are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). These chemical compounds are used to treat any number of illnesses, including cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Though cannabis was outlawed in the last century, with the passage of the Compassionate Care Act in California, a resurgence of medical uses has begun.
The availability of medical marijuana is limited to the two dozen or so states and territories that followed California’s example and passed compassionate care laws as well. While several states are currently debating legalization, the federal government has not weighed in on the argument, but it has thus far declined to prosecute medical marijuana providers, patients, or growers. However, with the lack of a definitive decision, the future of medical marijuana has not been decided yet.
How to get medical marijuana?
Each state has crafted its own rules and regulations regarding medical marijuana, but all created a process to regulate cannabis’ use. Patients considering this treatment should consult a licensed provider in their state to determine the qualifications. While some only approve certain conditions for treatment, other states leave the decision up to a recommending physician to determine medical necessity. Once approved, patients are issued a medical use card that will allow them to purchase marijuana from a licensed dispensary near them.
Most states also implemented an age restriction for medical use. Patients under a certain age but who meet other requirements for use must have a designated caregiver that can act on their behalf to purchase, administer, and store medications. Although the process may seem complicated, patients whose traditional medicines are not effective or are causing unwanted side effects may find that marijuana treatment may be worth any hassle.
How do I know what strain of marijuana to use?
While the novice user might believe that all marijuana plants are the same, nothing can be further from the truth. The cannabis plant is divided into three different species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Within these three species are an endless number of strains produced from various breeding combinations. Each species and strain will produce a different taste as well as varying degrees of psychoactive properties and mood enhancers. In truth, it is doubtful that anyone knows the exact number of strains that can come from the cannabis plant.
So now that you know that there are hundreds, possibly thousands of strains on the market, you may be asking yourself how to know which one would be best suited for your condition, right? The answer to that can be just as confusing as to how many strains can be found.
The easiest way to determine the strain that is most appropriate for you is to ask someone who not only works with this plant but has an in-depth knowledge of marijuana growths and the conditions that they can treat. Most often, the recommending physician will offer suggestions to guide you in your decision. Other helpful resources are the budtender (person who sells marijuana) or the website of your local dispensary.
As simple as it may sound, knowing which strain to use can also be determined by what condition you are treating. Some strains are better than others in pain management and sleep disorders, while a different strain may produce a more relaxing and calming effect to treat anxiety or PTSD. With the vast number of strains available, finding an effective treatment for your condition is a sure thing.
Thanks to the dedication of growers and cultivators, there are countless possibilities for disease treatment. If you have been approved for medical marijuana and don’t know where to begin, call your local dispensary or consult your doctor for recommendations. There is a perfect strain for everyone.