Updated on January 3, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Since the dawn of civilization, the medicinal benefits of marijuana have been recognized and vouched for by philosophers, licensed physicians and patients alike throughout various societies and cultures. References to medical marijuana or medical cannabis concern the parts of the cannabis herb that can be used as a physician-recommended form of herbal therapy or medicine. Cannabis contains around 483 medicinal compounds, eighty of which are cannabinoids and serve as the basis for both medical and scientific use. Among these, the most important cannabinoids that are found in the marijuana plant are tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, cannabidiol, cannabinol, β-caryophyllene and cannabigerol.
With an extremely long and documented history of medicinal use, the marijuana plant has been used as a remedy dating all the way back to 2737 BCE or before the Common Era. Most notably, cannabis is recognized as one of the fifty fundamental herbs within Chinese herbology, ensuring its fundamental position for possessing medicinal benefits. The ancient Egyptians also used medical marijuana in suppositories in order to relieve themselves from the pain of hemorrhoids and to treat sore eyes. The Ebers Papyrus, is an ancient Egyptian text that preserved the most voluminous record of ancient Egyptian medicine known to date, and contains a description of medical marijuana as a therapy within its text.
Although medical marijuana is considered illegal in some countries across the globe, a number of governments, including the United States Federal Government, are opening up to the idea of medical marijuana as a viable treatment for qualifying, life-altering conditions. Supporters and advocates for medical marijuana maintain that cannabis has several well-documented and beneficial effects such as the amelioration of vomiting and nausea, the stimulation of appetite amongst chemotherapy and AIDS patients, the lowering of intraocular eye pressure in glaucoma and gastrointestinal illnesses as well. There are a number of chronic and debilitating conditions that have symptoms than can be managed using medicinal cannabis.
Patients seeking access to medical marijuana are subject to the medical marijuana regulations and legalities in their respective state. Before any medical marijuana recommendation or certification processes are initiated and completed, both prospective and current patients must meet all of their state’s specified guidelines. Each state that has approved the use of medical marijuana has established specific guidelines including a list of approved diseases and conditions for which an individual may qualify. If the individual’s condition is compliant with their state’s guidelines, they are eligible to be seen by a licensed physician and eventually obtain a medical marijuana card in their respective state. The initial recommendation by a physician that a patient meets the qualifications in their state for medical marijuana is the first step in the process of registering for a medicinal cannabis card in many states in the US.
When you have become a registered and approved patient within your respective state’s medical marijuana program, many states have programs where patients can go directly to budtenders to discuss the benefits of medicinal cannabis products. In some cases, certain states allow their patients to cultivate their own medicine. But for patients who are unable to cultivate medical marijuana, budtenders and dispensary owners are a great resource. We provide listings of local dispensaries and virtual appointment scheduling so that patients can start the conversation about their medical marijuana treatment process right away. Legislation for dispensary owners is constantly changing from state to state, increasing the resources available to medical marijuana patients.