Medical cannabis, or medical marijuana, can refer to the use of cannabis and its cannabinoids to treat disease or improve symptoms; however, there is no single agreed upon definition.
A cannabinoid is one of a class of diverse chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that represses neurotransmitter release in the brain.
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The use of cannabis as a medicine has not been rigorously scientifically tested, often due to production restrictions and other governmental regulations.
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There is limited evidence suggesting cannabis can be used to reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, to improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, and to treat chronic pain and muscle spasms.
Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus.
Chemotherapy is a category of cancer treatment that uses one or more anti-cancer drugs as part of a standardized chemotherapy regimen.
A spasm is a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle, a group of muscles, or a hollow organ such as the heart.
Its use for other medical applications, however, is insufficient for conclusions about safety or efficacy.
Short-term use increases the risk of both minor and major adverse effects.
Common side effects include dizziness, feeling tired, vomiting, and hallucinations.
Long-term effects of cannabis are not clear.
Concerns include memory and cognition problems, risk of addiction, schizophrenia in young people, and the risk of children taking it by accident.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real.
The Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years across many cultures.
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant that includes three species or subspecies, sativa, indica, and ruderalis.
Its current use is controversial.
The American Medical Association, the Minnesota Medical Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and other medical organizations have issued statements opposing its use for medicinal purposes.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine is the United States' leading addiction medicine professional society representing over 4,000 physicians, clinicians and associated professionals with a focus on addiction and its treatment.
The American Medical Association, founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of physicians—both MDs and DOs—and medical students in the United States.
Minnesota Medical Association is a non-profit professional association representing physicians, residents, and medical students, working together for a healthy Minnesota.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that while cannabinoids may have potential as therapy for a number of medical conditions, they do not recommend it until more research is done.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an American professional association of pediatricians, headquartered in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and maintains its Department of Federal Affairs office in Washington, D.C.
They, along with the American Medical Association and the Minnesota Medical Association, call for moving cannabis out of DEA Schedule I to facilitate this research.
Medical cannabis can be administered using a variety of methods, including liquid tinctures, vaporizing or smoking dried buds, eating cannabis edibles, taking capsules, using lozenges, dermal patches or oral/dermal sprays.
Cannabis edibles are foods and drinks that contain cannabinoids, the psychoactive drugs in cannabis, most notably tetrahydrocannabinol.
A tincture is typically an alcoholic extract of plant or animal material or solution of such, or of a low volatility substance.
A dermal patch or skin patch is a medicated adhesive patch that is placed on the skin to deliver a medication into the skin.
Synthetic cannabinoids are available as prescription drugs in some countries; examples include: dronabinol and nabilone.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or more precisely its main isomer -trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
Nabilone is a synthetic cannabinoid with therapeutic use as an antiemetic and as an adjunct analgesic for neuropathic pain.
A tic is a sudden, repetitive, nonrhythmic motor movement or vocalization involving discrete muscle groups.
Recreational use of cannabis is illegal in most parts of the world, but the medical use of cannabis is legal in certain countries, including Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
Australia is currently in the process of passing a law which would allow the use of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.
In the United States, federal law outlaws all cannabis use, while 25 states and the District of Columbia no longer prosecute individuals for the possession or sale of medical marijuana, as long as the individuals are in compliance with the state's medical marijuana sale regulations.
However, an appeals court ruled in January 2014 that a 2007 Ninth Circuit ruling remains binding in relation to the ongoing illegality, in federal legislative terms, of Californian cannabis dispensaries, reaffirming the impact of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The Controlled Substances Act is the statute establishing federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances is regulated.