Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation on March 15 to legalize smokable medical marijuana. Now, people who need medical marijuana have a new way of using it along with the oils, topical lotions, vapes, tinctures and capsules that already were available since 2016.
Here are answers to health questions you may be considering, as a medical marijuana patient or patient-to-be.
Medical marijuana can be used for what health issues?
The most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control. Marijuana is far less addictive than opioids and appears to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain in general. Medical experts have called it a fantastic muscle relaxant, and it has been known to lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease as well as help with fibromyalgia, endometriosis and interstitial cystitis.
Medical marijuana has been used to stimulate appetite among HIV/AIDS patients and others who have a suppressed appetite due to a medical condition or treatment. It also is used during chemotherapy to manage nausea and weight loss, and can be used to treat glaucoma.
A highly promising area of research is its use for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans who are returning from combat zones. Medical marijuana is also reported to help patients suffering from pain and wasting syndrome associated with HIV, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
What do the studies show?
A European study released March 19 by shows daily marijuana use — especially when high potency cannabis — is linked to an increased risk of developing psychosis. The study published in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal looked at chronic cannabis use in 11 major European cities and found THC was the culprit in the psychotic events. It has been difficult for researchers to study cannabis use in the United States because while legal in some states, it has not be federally legalized.
How do I get medical marijuana to treat my condition?
Doctors don’t formally prescribe medical cannabis, but rather recommend usage. In Florida, you need a physician’s recommendation to make a purchase at medical marijuana dispensaries, which are now open around the state. If your physician isn’t comfortable with a recommendation, you can still find a doctor who specializes in cannabis treatment by seeking one online through resources such as the Medicinal Marijuana Association. Each state has its own list of medical conditions approved for treatment by medical marijuana.
What are the approved conditions for medical marijuana treatment in Florida?
Cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), crohn’s disease, chronic seizures, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic nonmalignant pain or a terminal condition diagnosed by a physician other than the qualified physician issuing the certification.