All You Need to Know about Medical Cannabis

Cannabis isn’t harmful in itself, as you can use it for medical purposes without abusing it. Although recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018, medical cannabis got legal in 2001. Also, when you use it appropriately, medical cannabis can help to treat severe epilepsy. Likewise, you can use medical cannabis if you have cancer or multiple sclerosis.

Just like recreational cannabis, it’s possible to get addicted to medical cannabis. In addition, using medical cannabis beyond the doctor’s prescription can lead to addiction. However, doctors typically recommend that patients consume a maximum of 40mg of cannabis. The THC content in 40mg cannabis is 9% and is used in treating chronic pain.

When you use medical cannabis according to a doctor’s prescription, you can get its full benefits. Thankfully, this article discusses everything you need to know about medical cannabis. Likewise, we discuss how it differs from recreational cannabis.

What is Medical Cannabis?

When people refer to cannabis for medical purposes, it typically involves using the marijuana plant medicinally. The use of medical cannabis isn’t to get high; instead, it’s to ease symptoms associated with health problems.

Additionally, when dispensaries legally sell cannabis as medicine, it isn’t any different from recreational cannabis. However, some new strains of medical cannabis contain fewer chemicals that cause intoxication. Also, they have more chemicals that help in treating medical conditions.

Furthermore, knowing what medical cannabis is is incomplete without knowing what marijuana contains. Typically, cannabis contains over sixty chemical compounds, which are referred to as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids give marijuana the psychoactive effect that gets recreational users addicted.

Out of the sixty chemical compounds present in marijuana, CBD and THC are more researched. CBD and THC were discovered in the early 1960s and have gained popularity since then. Also, CBD is known to be effective in treating seizures. While on the other hand, THC is marijuana’s primary psychoactive chemical.

According to research, the cannabis plant produces about 300 chemicals that are not cannabinoids. At the same time, it has about 60-100 cannabinoids. Although there are some claims that other cannabinoids aside from CBD and THC are therapeutic, it isn’t proven.

The difference between THC and CBD is that CBD isn’t psychoactive. By this, we mean CBD helps to moderate the euphoric effect caused by THC. Likewise, CBD reduces some other adverse effects of THC on the body, like anxiety.

Although many are aware of the psychoactive effects of THC, some are unaware of its analgesic effect. For instance, THC is known to cause sleepiness or euphoria. Also, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, THC reduces and prevents nausea.

Additionally, the research on how potent CBD is in treating type 2 diabetes and drug dependency is ongoing. Likewise, research is underway on using THC to treat schizophrenia and inflammatory bowel disease.

Medical cannabis comes in different forms. They can either be herbal cannabis which refers to the plant, or pharmaceutical cannabis. Below are the three types of medical cannabis.

Standardized and regulated herbal cannabis

This refers to plant products and is usually made in the Netherlands. They include plant varieties for patients, clinical use, and medicine development. Also, each product is manufactured in line with pharmaceutical standards and comprises different active ingredients.

Illegal and unregulated herbal cannabis

Illegal cannabis is often in plant varieties and is known to have impurities like mould and bacteria. Also, it contains high cannabinoid concentration and is common in the USA.

Pharmaceutical cannabis

Pharmaceutical cannabis includes cannabis products that the government approves. They may consist of synthetic cannabinoids like Dronabinol and Nabiximols. Also, Sativex is approved in over 24 countries and is available as an oral or nasal spray. Also, it’s efficient in treating spasticity, which is a result of multiple sclerosis.

Related Article: Cannabis Use During Pregnancy and Lactation

Differences between Recreational Cannabis and Medical Cannabis

recreational cannabis and medical cannabis

Medical cannabis is only available to users upon prescription by a medical professional. Often, doctors prescribe medical cannabis only when it’s necessary. On the other hand, people who consume recreational cannabis have no medical justification.

Although both recreational and medical cannabis has benefits, you can get addicted to it. The difference in both is seen in their legislation as well as other aspects. For instance, recreational cannabis isn’t easily accessible, although it’s now legal. Here are the differences between recreational and medical cannabis

Ease of access

In most countries, recreational cannabis is banned by the government. If a person is caught with recreational cannabis, it may attract a fine or jail term. Likewise, in certain areas where recreational cannabis is illegal, accessing it is difficult. However, in about 50 states in the US and other countries, CBD from marijuana is legally accepted.

Unlike recreational cannabis, medical cannabis is easily accessible for those in need of it for medical purposes. In addition, in the last decade, the laws on medical cannabis have changed, allowing wider medicinal use.

Legal status

The significant difference between recreational and medical cannabis is legalization. Although cannabis isn’t a new discovery and is popular, there are legal measures put in place surrounding its usage. Also, many countries are yet to legalize the use of recreational cannabis, forcing users to do it discreetly.

Contrastingly, owing to how safe medical cannabis is, the government widely accepts it. Also, over 40 countries in the world have joined in the legalization of medical cannabis. For example, in some places like Estonia, the use of medical cannabis must come with a permit. While Denmark only permits prescription under extended medical trials.


The difference in quality between recreational and medical cannabis is noticeable. Although they both go through the exact growing process, they differ in production and cultivation. How cannabis is cultivated and provided determines whether people will use it for recreational or medical purposes.

For instance, medical cannabis goes through a more controlled and stricter process before going into the market. However, this isn’t the same with recreational cannabis. For most medical cannabis, the marijuana plant is usually grown in a controlled environment. Also, it’s commonly grown indoors.

In contrast, recreational cannabis is grown outdoors and doesn’t follow the same strict procedure as medical cannabis. Also, it isn’t as closely monitored as medical cannabis.

Furthermore, medical cannabis is typically closely monitored as the final product needs to be safe for patients. Therefore, it has a longer process as it must undergo several checks to ensure it’s safe. Likewise, more care goes into making medical cannabis. Also, its title is derived from being the safer and purer cannabis product.

Buying medical cannabis

How you shop for medical cannabis differs from that of recreational cannabis. Buying recreational cannabis in places where it’s legal may share some similarities with medical cannabis. However, the shopping process isn’t entirely the same.

Patients buying medical cannabis have to produce a means of identification and a medical cannabis permit. The permit and ID card shows they’ve been approved to purchase medical cannabis. Additionally, you can only buy medical cannabis from clinics.

Typically, two customers aren’t allowed inside the dispensary at the same time. Having just one customer inside the dispensary provides for privacy. Also, it’s common to find stores selling recreational cannabis giving medical advice. However, recreational cannabis users note that the store owners aren’t medical professionals and may offer misleading advice.

Furthermore, patients aren’t compelled to get medical cannabis from medical clinics. For instance, patients can get medical cannabis in Ontario from dual-licensed stores. Typically, dual-licensed stores cater to both recreational and medical cannabis users.

Additionally, patients can get medical-related advice from dual-licensed stores as they better understand medical cannabis. Also, they offer buyers advice on cannabis addiction treatment as well as other side effects.

Advantages of Medical cannabis

The endocannabinoid system consists of natural molecules (cannabinoids) and other areas they affect. It is a communication system in the body and brain that has effects several different functions. Also, the endocannabinoid system affects things like appetite, memory and sleep. Medical cannabis works by working on the endocannabinoid system.

Additionally, cannabis plants are likely to contain as much as 40% CBD. Its anti-inflammatory effect on the nervous system provides other benefits to the body. Also, when prescribing cannabis for any health condition, doctors check if the anti-inflammatory advantages outweigh psychological risks.

It helps to alleviate pain

Cannabinoids present in cannabis alter pain perception pathways in the brain, therefore, alleviating pain. It helps to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, such as lack of appetite. Also, it’s efficient in treating illnesses that cause severe pains like

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine
  • Endometriosis
  • Migraine
  • Arthritis

Furthermore, using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for an extended period have potential health risks. Thankfully, medical cannabis can replace the use of NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

Mental and neurological disorders

Another advantage of medical cannabis is how it affects the limbic system. Sometimes, doctors prescribe medical cannabis to treat some mental health and neurological conditions. They are:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tourette syndrome

It alleviates inflammation

CBD, which is present in cannabis, reduces inflammation. People with inflammatory conditions can benefit from medical cannabis as it improves their health quality. Some inflammatory diseases medical cannabis reduces are,

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Improved sleep

Cannabis is known to have a relaxing effect that can help in the improvement of sleep disorders. Also, people battling insomnia due to chronic pain can use medical cannabis to sleep better.

Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

The effects of cannabis on the central nervous system resemble those of opioids. However, unlike synthetic opioids, cannabis doesn’t pose many risks. Also, in comparison to other substances, cannabis isn’t highly addictive.

Owing to the fact that marijuana isn’t highly addictive, many are advocating for its total legalization. Likewise, the health benefits attached to it are another reason people believe it should be made legal. Also, in some cases, medical professionals use cannabis in treating opioid addiction.

Notwithstanding, cannabis can cause damage to the body when you use it without a prescription. Here are some side effects of medical cannabis

It has stimulating effects

Cannabis is known to boost your mood and, at the same time, cause you to be hyperactive. Likewise, it increases your heart rate as well as blood pressure. However, compared to the depressing effects of cannabis, stimulating effects aren’t so common.

Depressant effects

Often, people that use medical cannabis have depressive symptoms. Similar to depressant effects caused by alcohol use, they’re likely to experience similar results while using cannabis. Additionally, although you feel relaxed and calm, you may have problems with concentration.



Medical cannabis may alter your perception of reality. It can cause poor motor skills and mild hallucinations. Owing to the hallucinogenic effects of cannabis, performing some activities aren’t safe after consuming cannabis. Additionally, not only is driving under the influence of cannabis unsafe, but it’s also illegal.

Can I Get Addicted to Medical Cannabis?

Although you’re using medical cannabis to treat a medical condition, it’s possible to get addicted to it. Frequent and continuous use of medical cannabis can cause you to physically depend on it. The result of heavy use and dependence is addiction.

Furthermore, it’s common to find medical cannabis users build a tolerance to cannabis’ effect. Unfortunately, they have to increase their doses to get the same effect, leading to addiction or even overdose. Also, some people can build dependence after a couple of doses. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be over an extended period.

Related Article: What is Cannabis Use Disorder: Symptoms, Side Effects and Treatment

To Sum It Up

Before you begin to use medical cannabis, it’s essential to know what it does and its side effects. Although only doctors can prescribe medical cannabis, patients can buy it from medical clinics or dual-licensed stores. However, to purchase it, you’re to have a permit and an ID card.

Additionally, medical cannabis may be prescribed by a doctor, but there’s still a possibility of addiction. Like other addictive substances, you can build tolerance for medical cannabis and become addicted to it. If this should happen, it’s essential patients go for addiction treatment before the addiction worsens.

Thankfully, patients can get the best cannabis addiction treatment with Inspire Change Wellness Centre. Call us today to discuss your options for cannabis addiction treatment today!

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