Summary of the WHO review on cannabis and cannabis-related substances based on a CND request. Medical marijuana uses the marijuana plant or the chemicals it contains to treat diseases or conditions. It's basically the same product as recreational marijuana, but it's taken for medical purposes. Cannabis, derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) as its main active ingredients.
THC is the main psychoactive component with analgesic effects, while CBD is a non-psychoactive component with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipsychotic properties. The most common use of medical marijuana in the United States is to control pain. While marijuana isn't strong enough for severe pain (for example, post-surgical pain or a bone fracture), it's quite effective for chronic pain affecting millions of Americans, especially as they age. Part of its appeal is that it's clearly safer than opiates (it's impossible to overdose and is much less addictive) and can replace NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve, if people can't take them because of kidney problems, ulcers, or GERD.
Medical cannabis, or medical marijuana (MMJ), is the cannabis and cannabinoids that doctors prescribe to their patients. The use of cannabis as a drug has not been rigorously tested due to government and production restrictions, resulting in limited clinical research to define the safety and efficacy of using cannabis to treat diseases. The FDA has not approved the cannabis plant for any medical use. However, the FDA has approved several drugs that contain individual cannabinoids.
In addition, the FDA has approved two artificial cannabinoid drugs, dronabinol (Marinol, Syndros) and nabilone (Cesamet), to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. The authors state that additional randomized controlled trials of different cannabis products are needed to make conclusive recommendations. For reasons that include growing popular support for cannabis use, the tendency to legalize cannabis and the perception of medical utility, more and more scientists are conducting research on medical cannabis. This can be done by expressing your interest in the CPSA's Cannabis for Medical Purposes program through an email or the online form on this page.
Medical cannabis can be administered through several methods, including capsules, pills, tinctures, dermal patches, oral or dermal sprays, cannabis edibles, and vaporizing or smoking dry buds. Synthetic cannabinoids are available for prescription use in some countries, such as dronabinol and nabilone. The following sections summarize research on cannabis or cannabinoids for specific health conditions. THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical substance that causes the high that accompanies marijuana use.
Under the new regulations, there are improvements for patients to access cannabis for medical purposes by federally licensed vendors. The least controversial is the extract of the hemp plant known as CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) because this component of marijuana has little or no intoxicating properties. If you have submitted a renewal application to Health Canada and nothing has changed, you can continue to produce cannabis for your own medical purposes. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active chemical substance in the cannabis plant that causes a “high” in people who consume it.
People often use the words “cannabis” and “marijuana” interchangeably, but they don't mean exactly the same thing. Overall, research on the health effects of medical cannabis has been of poor quality and it is not clear if it is a useful treatment for any condition or if the harms outweigh any benefit. In addition, some evidence suggests modest benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. .