What is “Medical Marijuana? Really?

legalized potWhat is “Medical Marijuana?

As time goes on, more and more states have been legalizing “medical marijuana”.  As it stands now, 23 states as well as D.C. all have some sort of legislature for the medicinal use of marijuana. While more states are hopping on the legalization band wagon, there are a number of questions that remain…such as what constitutes medical marijuana and how is it different from recreational use?

How can Marijuana be Medicinal?

While studies are still ongoing, and will be for quite some time, medicinal marijuana has been shown to be effective in helping with a number of medical conditions with lower long term side effects than standard pharmaceuticals. These conditions can include helping patients cope with the nausea that comes with chemotherapy, stimulating appetite for patients who suffer from anorexia nervosa, lessening the pain from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, and easing conditions of depression and other mental disorders.

How is Medicinal Marijuana Obtained?

Each state that has adopted a legalized stance on medicinal marijuana has its own rules regarding regulation and distribution. If your state has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes then you’re required to have a medical marijuana card from a licensed physician. This card will allow you to possess a set amount of cannabis for the treatment of your medical condition. Depending on the area where you live, you may either purchase cannabis from a dispensary or you will be allowed to grow a set number of plants in your home. However, these states will have a strict regulation on use outside of your home, as well as being under the influence of marijuana when you’re away from home.

What’s the Difference Between Medical Marijuana and Recreational?

Determining the difference between medicinal and recreational uses can be difficult at best. Ultimately, it comes down to the reasoning and intent behind the use. Many recreational users are looking for the “high” that comes with imbibing marijuana. While it’s true that many strains of marijuana can create a feeling of euphoria, it’s not necessarily true of all strains. The strains of marijuana that produce this high have elevated levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Conversely, there are other strains that won’t produce this euphoria that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD). Either chemical is suggested to have some beneficial effects although which one is prescribed will depend on the medical condition.

If you’re being prescribed medical marijuana, then it’s important that you discuss the matter with your physician including when and where you can imbibe. As more states begin to revisit or change laws regarding the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, so too will they revisit the laws regarding possession and use, especially when it comes to being on the roads. Understanding the rules and regulations as they evolve will save you a world of hassle down the road.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.