Welcome to the new age of marijuana. A plant that was once branded “The Devil’s Lettuce” or “The Devil’s Grass” has exponentially grown in legalization over the past decade—let alone the past two years. With legalization and decriminalization laws passing left and right, what does this mean for medical patients? Is a medical card no longer needed or applicable? Does access to marijuana no longer require a diagnosis or doctor’s approval? Let’s find out.
For decades, there has been an underlying yet pervasive interest in the use of federally-controlled marijuana for medical purposes. Since the 80s, condition like glaucoma has become what some might call poster diseases for medical marijuana use but modern scientific research has gone deeper, discovering links between compounds called cannabinoids which are found in cannabis (like THC, CBD, and CBN) and intractable diseases, those which heretofore remain untreatable.
As researchers continue to delve into the many different clinical applications of marijuana, state-level governments begin to rewrite their outdated laws in keeping with society’s demand for greater acceptance of a much-maligned plant.
Legalization isn’t across the board – for now, only nine states have made the leap to allow use of both medical and recreational weed (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington), with medical marijuana legal in 30 states. With 67% of American’s supporting legalization (this according to a 2017 Gallup poll), it’s likely that over the next decade or so the number of state’s instituting their own medical and recreational programs will increase dramatically.
Who Uses Medical Marijuana?
While there is still a stigma surrounding marijuana use in general, the answer to the question, “Who uses medical marijuana?” might surprise you.
Hundreds of thousands of patients, if not more, turn to marijuana for its healing properties, and have done so for centuries. Cannabis is second to very few other natural analgesics, with opiate derived medications topping the list of most potent. Everyone from children to the elderly can use cannabis products for their medical condition, and there is a growing body of research that supports this claim, taking marijuana as medicine out of the alternative scene and into mainstream.
Because of its ability to influence the endocannabinoid system, one that regulates and maintains normal function like sleep, hunger, memory, arousal, mood, etc., it can affect a variety of different symptoms.
How Do Medical Patients Benefit from Legalization?
The presence of a black market has always meant that patients could get marijuana, though the quality may not always have been trustworthy, and supply is never a given. With legalization comes regulations and quality control, giving patients regular access to high-quality weed-grown to certain specifications, available through (for the most part) respectable sources.
Not only can you be confident that you’re going to get what you’re paying for, it means patients also have access to a wider variety of strains, and choice means you can tailor the type of weed you try to meet your exact needs, i.e. young patients will want to choose marijuana strains that are high in CBD with little to no THC (the psychoactive compound), where patients can try high-THC strains to help soothe tremors.
The benefit extends to doctors as well, who now have the authority to recommend medical cannabis products to their patients, and who can have educated discussions with any patient with questions or concerns about how marijuana may help their condition.
The Medical Marijuana Industry at Large
Truth be told, it seems like the legalization of marijuana, if only for medical patients, can have massive positive impacts on local level governments. Look at the numbers for Colorado, one of the nation’s most notoriously accepting regions: since the sale of Mary Jane became legal in 2014, the state has recorded over $1 billion in marijuana sales and over $200 million in tax revenue in 2017 alone.
Legalization Equals Diversification
With the stigma removed from the sale and cultivation of cannabis comes the ability for breeders and entrepreneurs to develop a variety of different strains and products that reach a much wider target audience. On top of being able to purchase dried marijuana, most often used to smoke or brew into tea, you can now buy cannabis-infused edibles (baked goods or candies), concentrated tinctures, vaping oils, hash-like concentrates, shatter pills, and more.
Marijuana vs Opiates for Medical Patients
The current epidemic of opiate overdoses sweeping North America and the world has led doctors and caregivers to consider their options. Opiates are highly addictive. Along with other natural substances, marijuana is being strongly considered as an alternative to help curb addiction-related deaths. Physicians can provide patients with a wider variety of suitable options, taking addictive substances off the table.
Ask the magic 8 ball – is legalizing medical marijuana a good thing? All signs point to yes, and the best way to wade into cannabis culture is to learn how to cultivate your own thriving medical garden. Peruse our selection of top-quality strains, suitable for both recreational and medical patients. Sativa, indica and everything in between, beginner, intermediate, and master gardeners are sure to find the perfect marijuana seeds for their pot plot.