Medical marijuana — also referred to as medical cannabis — has enjoyed a boom in recent years. More states have legalized it, more products are available, and more people have turned to it for help, especially older adults.
A study in the April 2020 JAMA Internal Medicine found that the number of adults ages 65 and older using medical cannabis increased from 2.4% to 4.2% between 2015 and 2018.
But medical cannabis is still a complex and controversial topic.
“The scientific evidence continues to move forward, but there is still much we don’t know about its role in treating and healing,” says Dr. Staci Gruber, faculty editor of the Harvard Medical School Guide Medical Marijuana: Facts about cannabis, THC, and CBD.
A look at the leaves
Marijuana is another term for the Cannabis sativa L. plant. It contains more than 100 chemical compounds, called cannabinoids. When people use cannabis, these compounds bind to receptors in the brain and throughout the body that affect appetite, mood, memory, and pain.
The two most prevalent compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which is what gives you a “high” — and cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t have an intoxicating effect, but may have therapeutic properties. (CBD most often comes from hemp, which has high amounts of CBD and minimal THC.)
Medical cannabis products contain various degrees of both, but often lower amounts of THC. In comparison, recreational cannabis products typically contain higher amounts of THC. “However, some cannabis products can be used for both medical and recreational purposes,” says Dr. Gruber.
Read full article here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-highs-and-lows-of-medical-cannabis