Medical marijuana is used to ease the symptoms of a chronic health condition, such as nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy, loss of appetite and weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS, or muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis. It contains natural compounds called cannabinoids and works through the endocannabinoid system (the body’s system for managing pain, emotion, memory and movement).
Cannabis also has antioxidant properties and may help lower cholesterol. It is available as an oil, pill, vaporized liquid and nasal spray, as well as the dried buds or leaves of the plant. In addition to easing pain, it has been reported to relieve stress/anxiety and insomnia. It can also enhance quality of life for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
The FDA has approved a drug made with a purified form of one cannabinoid, cannabidiol (Epidiolex), to treat certain forms of severe epilepsy. The agency has also approved dronabinol to relieve nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and anorexia associated with HIV/AIDS.
Many people who use medical marijuana describe significant relief from their symptoms, including pain, stress/anxiety, and insomnia. Some report that it allows them to decrease or eliminate other medications they are taking, including opioids.
People who have a health care practitioner with state approval to certify them for medical marijuana can purchase it at New York State-licensed dispensaries or grow it on their own. If you or someone you know has a health condition and could benefit from medical marijuana, ask your health care practitioner for more information. medical marijuana