Medical Marijuana - FAQ

Health & FitnessMedicine

  • Author Andrew Bartlett
  • Published February 12, 2011
  • Word count 813

It should be noted that this article is for information purposes only and should not, under any circumstances, be accepted as legal advice or health advice.

The subject of medical marijuana gets lots of coverage, although much of this is emotional and ‘pro’ one camp or another. This can lead to of confusion. Here we will try and deal with a few FAQs. Please note though, this is only opinion and based on a summary of learned articles on the Internet. The position will vary depending upon the country you live in, or, in the United States, your home state. If you want specific advice you must contact a medical professional and a legal expert wherever it is you live.

Can I use medical marijuana legally?

That's depends entirely where you live and even then the position isn't entirely straightforward.

In some US states, the law may permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes - assuming this is prescribed and used under medical supervision. In other states it remains illegal and you, plus anyone supplying medical marijuana to you, may suffer penalties under law. It remains an illegal substance everywhere under federal law, however, at the time of writing, the current administration is apparently not enforcing the law in those states where local laws permit its use for medical purposes. This position may change and may also be subject to legal interpretation, which is why you may need to take legal advice.

Is it legal in other countries?

Most countries around the world have laws against the recreational use of marijuana. A few countries allow its use under medical supervision for purposes of symptom relief. In spite of what you may have read to the contrary, its possession and use in Holland is, strictly speaking, not legal. The Dutch authorities merely tolerate small amounts of its use for private recreational purposes or for symptom relief.

Is all marijuana the same?

No. There are several different varieties, some of which have a rather better reputation for help with medical conditions than others. Some forms of marijuana are, in fact, only really suitable for industrial purposes. If you are suffering from conditions that you believe may benefit from treatment through medical marijuana, it is advisable to seek advice and guidance from a medical health professional who has had previous experience of prescribing it for use.

What conditions can it help with?

From a formal point of view, the Federal Drug Agency does not recognize any significant remedial properties of marijuana, however, some people have claimed that its position may be influenced heavily by political concerns. There is a considerable body of opinion (with many studies and individual cases being listed on the Internet) that contradicts this position and which indicates that it may have beneficial uses in a number of circumstances.

Perhaps one of the most commonly cited benefits is that the smoking of medical marijuana can help reduce nausea from a variety of conditions including chemotherapy. It may also help stimulate appetite in the same situation. It has also been stated that it is effective as a muscle relaxant and this has helped people suffering with a number of conditions that may result in muscle spasms or lack of limb control. Examples in that category have been cited to include Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis – though note that this is discussing symptom relief and not the treatment of the underlying condition. As with any medical treatment, the effects may vary between individuals, and excessive use outside of a medical framework may prove to generate undesirable side effects.

Can it be grown privately?

It is possible to purchase marijuana seeds and although they are not necessarily the easiest crop to grow, it isn't exactly rocket science either. Remember though, the growing of marijuana may be illegal and subject to penalties, depending upon where you live in the world and how enthusiastic local law enforcement bodies are in enforcing any such laws.

How widely has it been used?

Statistics on the use of medical marijuana in the United States and elsewhere are far from complete and many appear to contradict each other. What is clear is that marijuana has been used for medical purposes for millennia, and it was regarded as a useful treatment and a relatively benign substance until well into the 19th century. From 19th century onwards, it became rapidly replaced by more modern treatments, and for much of conventional medicine, fell into disuse. It was in the 20th century when, for reasons that are many and varied, banning marijuana use became a major crusade in the United States. This attitude rapidly spread to many other countries and, unfortunately, its use for legitimate medical purposes seems to have become conflated with recreational use in the minds of many legislators. Today, the position remains unresolved and medical marijuana remains a controversial subject for many.

Andrew Bartlett is the Managing Director of The Seed Dispensary which specializes in providing over 1,500 strains of high quality medical marijuana with a quick, confidential delivery service and order-tracking system. Our website offers information on medical marijuana cards, compassion clubs and other related issues.

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