The Modern Reality of Medical Marijuana

Cannabis

Over recent years, the U.S. has seen a marked rise in the acceptance of marijuana in medical cases. As of this writing, 37 states in the union have made accommodations for marijuana to treat a range of medical conditions. Many patients, particularly those who have arthritis, have tried MMU (Marijuana for Medical Use) or cannabidiol products to ease their symptoms. The rise of medical marijuana use results from patients with unmet treatment needs seeking ways to address their underlying symptoms. These conditions ranged from migraines to musculoskeletal and rheumatic diseases, among other chronic illnesses.

The Modern Reality of Medical Marijuana

Patients seeking treatment using medical marijuana have often attempted a broad range of other approaches. These include complementary treatments such as chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture, as well as herbal and other remedies. These patients often:

  • Have attempted to use marijuana medicinally, despite local legality.
  • Nearly a third of these patients in states where medical marijuana is legal haven’t informed their physicians.
  • In states where it’s illegal, this number is at almost 46%. 

This can put physicians in certain areas in a complicated position. Even in states where MMU is legal, there are often strict regulations about prescribing and using it. Further, the scientific evidence on the use and efficacy of marijuana as a form of treatment is scant. There is abundant anecdotal evidence, but until rigorous, long-term studies have been performed, they’re all that physicians have to go on. This means that it’s difficult for them to provide any commentary about its effectiveness or what the proper dosage may be for treating various concerns.

Given the current environment and the changing nature of laws governing medical marijuana, an open dialogue must exist between patients and their physicians on the subject. Both the patient and physician need to be able to ask open and frank questions about how MMU is involved in their treatment.

This dialogue is essential to expanding the knowledge base in the medical industry regarding the impact MMU has on patients and their concerns. Only through these conversations can physicians know the desire and benefits of using MMU in their practice. The physician and our government need to gather this information to set guidelines on how it’s prescribed and what conditions will benefit from it.

Speak To Your Physician About MMU

If you want to learn more about medical marijuana and whether it can help you control your symptoms, reach out to your physician. They’ll be able to provide you with the latest information and talk about how they might be able to help. Even if it isn’t legal in your state, your physician must know that you’re using it as part of your care. Like any medication, marijuana can be contraindicated for use with certain other medications, with potentially life-threatening results. Together the American medical community and the population can take steps to ensure that marijuana as a medication continues to be researched and applied in ways that best benefit the patient.

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Linda Clark, NP

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