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What is Medical Marijuana?

Marijuana is an ancient plant with psychoactive properties that people have been using for eons. In fact, humans began cultivating cannabis 12,000 years ago, before the invention of farming itself.

But it wasn’t until 5,000 years ago that people began discovering the plant’s many medicinal qualities. Artifacts from 2900 BC indicate that the ancient Chinese considered cannabis to be a unique, multipurpose medicinal plant that possessed both ‘yin’ and ‘yang.’ The Hindus in ancient India were using cannabis in food and drink as early as 1000 BCE (it’s even listed in the Ayurveda as a pain reliever) and the Ebers Papyrus, an ancient medicinal scroll from 1550 B.C. Egypt, references cannabis as a therapeutic treatment.

In the US, 2.6 million people in 33 states use cannabis to help treat medical problems, and 60% of the US population now lives in states where it’s legal to use marijuana for certain health conditions.

Medical marijuana offers a wide variety of potential benefits for the mind and body. As perceptions about marijuana continue to evolve, a new era of normalization and legalization is emerging, presenting exciting possibilities for those who wish to understand, explore, and utilize its benefits. 

What is THC and CBD? 

Short for tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, these magical acronyms are cannabinoids, the naturally-occurring compounds released by the white crystals (trichomes) of the marijuana plant, and are responsible for delivering its therapeutic benefits. 

THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids. When ingested, these natural cannabinoids bind to specific receptors in the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which is located in the brain and throughout the central nervous system.


Medical studies have confirmed the therapeutic benefits of THC and CBD, and scientists are always discovering more. People suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), stress, sleep disorders, inflammation, and nausea have all seen positive results from the use of THC and CBD. Moreover, the FDA has even approved artificially synthesized cannabinoids such as Marinol and Sativex as a treatment for MS and seizures.

What are CBD/THC Ratios and Percentages?

Cannabis experiences and effects differ depending on the CBD/THC percentage of your product. Since CBD decreases some of THC’s effects, including anxiety, paranoia, and THC’s psychoactive ‘high,’ the more CBD a product has, the less of a ‘mental high’ a user might experience.

For example, a product with THC and zero CBD will have a strong psychoactive effect, while a product that is 2:1 THC to CBD will be milder. A product that contains a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD will have very light psychoactive effects, while a product that has CBD and zero THC will have no psychoactive effects, while also providing keener analgesic and sedative effects.

However, there is no perfect ratio. Each person is unique and their preferences will differ. For some individuals, a 1:1 ratio can be a good starting point. For others, it may be too little, or too much. That’s why it’s always best to start low and go slow. If you begin with a low dosage and pay attention to the way you feel, you can more effectively adjust your dosage going forward and reach a successful outcome.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic, organic oils responsible for a marijuana plant’s unique flavors and fragrances, as well as certain effects — kind of like a strain’s secret blend of herbs and spices. There are more than 200 known terpenes, each with a signature terpene profile, and just like cannabinoids, terpenes are activated by binding to our endocannabinoid system.

What Are the Potential Short-Term Side Effects of Marijuana Use?

You should also be aware that marijuana use may also cause short-term effects related to:  

Sense of time

Has been shown to distort an individual’s perception of time, typically slowing time down.

Attention span

Long-term use can have an adverse effect on attention span.

Problem-solving

Can diminish or impair an individual’s problem-solving skills.

Verbal fluency

Long-term use can have an effect on one’s verbal memory or ability to recall words.

Reaction time

Has been shown to impair one’s reaction time.

Psychomotor control

Certain psychomotor skills maybe influenced by use.

Ask your doctor if your use of the following medications should be adjusted with the use of medical marijuana:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Antiplatelets

  • Aspirin
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Dronabinol
  • Narcotics
  • NSAIDS
  • Phenobarbital
  • Sedating anticholinergics

  • Sedative hypnotics
  • SSRI
  • TCA
  • Theophylline

Marijuana Usage and Precautions for Health Conditions

You should take precautions before using marijuana if you have:

  • Hypotension
  • Low blood sugar
  • Are on blood thinners

What Medical Conditions Should not Be Mixed With Marijuana?

You should not use marijuana if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Are pregnant, may be pregnant, or are trying to conceive
  • Are breastfeeding
  • COPD & Asthma (no inhalation)
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Impaired Immune System
  • Hypertension
  • Hypersensitivity to cannabinoids

This website contains medical cannabis information and is restricted to individuals 21 years of age or older. Please confirm your age and state:

  • IL
  • MD
  • MA
  • NY
  • OH
  • PA

Did you know that most medical marijuana information is state-specific? We have dispensaries in each of the above states, along with state-specific resources for patients. For the best experience, please select a state.