The Pros and Cons of Medical Cannabis

Marijuana tincture dropper next to cannabis plant
  • The different varieties of medical marijuana include hemp, Delta-8, and cannabis. In Texas, only low-THC cannabis products are permitted for medical use.

  • Medical marijuana can treat patients with a range of conditions including PTSD, Parkinson’s, cancer, and epilepsy.

  • There are many pros and cons of medical cannabis treatment. Possible side effects may include relaxation, increased appetite, pain relief, and decreased blood pressure.

  • With Texas 420 Doctors, you can qualify for quick, convenient, and safe access to medical cannabis online.

Cannabis is a form of holistic medicine that has been in use for centuries. Now it is growing popular in the United States as more people begin to recognize the benefits of this natural plant. While marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, many states have legalized it for medical and recreational purposes. 

Legalization may be great for some, but how do you know if starting treatment with cannabis is the right solution for you? Before making a decision, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of medical cannabis.

What Is Cannabis?

Here are a few facts about marijuana you need to know. Cannabis is a natural product obtained from the Cannabis sativa plant. The plant is native to Central and South Asia, but it is grown all over the world. According to the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the UK is the world’s largest supplier of medical marijuana (as a matter of fact, it produced over 320 tons of it). The plant is widely cultivated in the US, both indoors and outdoors.

Cannabis derivatives are, for the most part, obtained from the flowers and leaves of the plant, although its stems and seeds supply a substantial amount too. Cannabis is commonly referred to as weed, marijuana, pot, ganja, and reefer, among other colloquial names. Read on to learn more up-to-date information about the pros and cons of medical marijuana, including its restrictions, effects, uses, and more.

Cannabis, Marijuana, Delta-8, and Hemp — What’s the Difference?

When considering the types of medical marijuana for your needs, it’s helpful to compare the benefits that come with the different varieties available for treatment.

One of the more interesting facts about marijuana and hemp is that they are just different species of the Cannabis sativa plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, and, legally speaking, the THC content determines the difference between marijuana and hemp.

  • Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC
  • Marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC

One of the pros of medical cannabis is that, in Texas, only low-THC cannabis products (defined as those with 1% or less THC) are allowed for medicinal purposes. That helps ensure its effects aren’t overwhelming and counters one of the possible cons, which is its potential abuse.

The THC that most people think of in marijuana is called Delta-9 THC. An isomer — or chemical variant — known as Delta-8 THC is widely considered to produce fewer cognitive distortions when compared to Delta-9. In layman’s terms, you’re less likely to feel “high” on Delta-8. Many Delta-8 THC products are commercially available without a prescription in Texas.

What Kinds of Cannabis Are Legal?

In its least processed form, distributors sell marijuana as a dried flower bud or a shredded mixture of various parts of the cannabis plant. It’s typically green or gray. 

Depending on state law, medical marijuana is available in several forms, including:

  • Flower
  • Bottled cannabis oil 
  • Distillate 
  • Edibles

When comparing the pros and cons of medical cannabis, one major pro is that medical marijuana can be administered in many different ways, such as:

  • smoking the flower
  • vaping THC distillate
  • ingesting it with food

Currently, edible Delta-9 THC products, such as gummies and tinctures, are the only form of medical cannabis legal in Texas.

How Does Marijuana Work?

The Cannabis sativa plant contains more than 480 natural compounds, and the industry has labeled 80 to 100 of the compounds as cannabinoids. When learning about the different kinds of medical cannabis, you should inform yourself about the two most widely known cannabinoids – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

An interesting fact about medical marijuana is that THC and CBD have quite different effects upon consumption: 

  • THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis (the ‘high’ it creates)
  • CBD is believed to have an anti-psychoactive effect, helping moderate some of the psychoactive effects of THC

Regardless of whether cannabis is smoked, applied, or consumed, here is the biological process involved:

  • First the THC enters the bloodstream
  • THC interacts with specific sites on nerve cells called cannabinoid receptors
  • The THC influences those receptors to impact how they signal the brain

Different receptors are situated in parts of the brain that influence a variety of functions such as:

  • Thought
  • Pleasure
  • Memory
  • Coordinated movement
  • Sensory and time perception
  • Pain

While pain and stress relief are major pros of medical cannabis, some users find the potential psychoactive effects to be one of the cons.

What Are the Facts About the Effects of Marijuana?

Does even a small amount of marijuana make you “high?” The fact is that cannabis can have different effects depending on the route of administration. Typically, the high from consuming cannabis (rather than smoking or vaping) is longer-lasting. 

Cannabis can take effect within:

  • a few seconds to a few minutes when smoked
  • up to two hours when ingested as an edible

Cannabis is also available in a variety of different strains. Growers and botanical specialists often formulate cannabis strains with multiple combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes to produce targeted effects or specific flavor profiles. 

It’s important to remember that there are several pros and cons of how medical cannabis affects the body and the mind. Many people consider the physical and emotional effects of cannabis as positive while others believe the resulting mental state is negative.

Some of the potential side effects of this plant include:

  • merriment, giddiness, or even exhilaration
  • relaxation and sedation
  • increased appetite
  • enhanced sensory perception
  • focus and heightened imagination
  • reduced motor coordination
  • time distortions
  • increased heart rate
  • decreased blood pressure

Many of the effects of medical cannabis, especially when comparing the advantages and disadvantages, are desirable from a medicinal standpoint. These include its ability to: 

  • sedate and relax
  • offer pain relief

Depending on your health requirements, these effects can appear appealing or disagreeable.

Person measuring cannabis clump on a weighing scale

What Are the Medical Applications of Marijuana?

One critical factor in the conversation about the pros and cons of medical cannabis is its use as a therapeutic agent to treat symptoms of many conditions, ranging from glaucoma to ALS, seizures, and inflammatory bowel disease. The qualifying conditions differ from state to state.

In Texas, some 200 medical conditions qualify, including:

Another interesting fact about marijuana concerns the recent addition of PTSD to this list following findings from several studies. These findings suggested that medical marijuana could help people manage the symptoms of PTSD, prompting the state of Texas to include this as a qualifying condition in September 2021.

How to Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Texas

In Texas, the law only permits qualified doctors who have registered with the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas to prescribe medical marijuana. 

To receive a prescription for it, you must:

  • be a Texas resident
  • have an approved medical condition

Once you weigh the pros and cons of medical cannabis, you can move forward with your decision. If you believe your condition qualifies, you should get evaluated by a CURT-registered physician. After the doctor is confident that you know enough facts about marijuana to make an informed decision, they will provide you with a prescription. 

The process is relatively simple after that, and you will only need to take a few more steps on how to get a medical marijuana card in Texas. After you receive your prescription, you can purchase medical cannabis online from any Texas dispensary and have it delivered to your home.

Qualify in 30 Seconds with Texas 420 Doctors

We founded Texas 420 Doctors to help eligible Texas quickly and easily access medical marijuana. Qualify in as little as 30 seconds and get evaluated by a board-certified, CURT-registered physician to get your medical cannabis approval letter. Learn more about medical marijuana by following our cannabis blog.

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