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Why Medical Marijuana Is Not a Good Substitute for Pain Medication

About Medical Marijuana

In recent years, the push to legalize the growth and consumption of marijuana has been backed by those who believe it holds the key to treatment of a variety of disorders, from seizures to PTSD to chronic pain. You may have read news articles or seen videos that tell stories of people whose lives have been improved drastically since beginning to use marijuana for treatment. These stories provide hope for people with these conditions, who often relocate themselves to states where medical marijuana is legal in hopes of finding a cure for their pain.

What We Know

The excitement around medical marijuana is not completely unfounded. Anecdotal evidence shows that it does have the potential to be a strong, versatile treatment for a number of debilitating conditions. Unfortunately, this alone does not make it a good choice. Anecdotal evidence does not mean that it will hold up under clinical trials, and the questionable legality of the drug means that there are no standardized regulations in place for the industry. Marijuana continues to be illegal on a federal level, so individual states are responsible for deciding whether to legalize it and how to regulate medical marijuana. Some states require it to be sold in the form of cannabis oil at varying levels of potency, while others allow it to be sold as a plant with low THC levels, allowing patients to smoke it.

Risks

The fact that marijuana remains illegal federally means that buying and using it will always carry some legal risk. Even if you live in a state where it is legal, the federal government could overrule that legal status at any time and cut off access to the treatments. Federally approved pain medication is not in such a precarious position. Since individual states have their own, differing regulations, it is highly difficult to make sure that the dosage of cannabis is standardized. This can cause it to have unpredictable effects on the body. In addition, taking medical marijuana by smoking the plant is dangerous, as it brings potentially toxic chemicals into the lungs along with cannabis smoke. The future of medical marijuana is uncertain. It may become a safe option if stricter regulations are implemented on a federal level, following controlled research about its effectiveness and interaction with other medications. Currently, prescribed pain medications are causing addiction and the need for treatment is higher.

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