National Medical Cannabis Week 2023: Celebrate and Educate

by Angela G

Welcome to a week where we celebrate, learn, and advocate for a cause important to the cannabis community—National Medical Cannabis Week. During this week (and beyond), we’re delving into the world of medical cannabis, exploring what it is and what recent studies reveal about its effectiveness. 

We’ll also take a closer look at the progress the United States has made in the medical cannabis industry and compare it to other countries where medical cannabis is legal.

For those considering medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for the first time, we’ve got you covered with essential advice to make your journey smoother. And we’ll also discuss ongoing efforts to position medical cannabis as a credible and valuable form of treatment alongside traditional medicine.

So, join us on this enlightening journey where we celebrate progress, learn about the latest findings, and advocate for a future where medical cannabis is a widely accepted and accessible treatment option. During and beyond National Medical Cannabis Week, our goal is spread awareness and educate first-time and transitioning patients about the benefits of medical cannabis.

National Medical Cannabis Week: What is Medical Cannabis?

What is medical cannabis definition

Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is a form of treatment that involves the utilization of various components derived from the cannabis plant. It’s an advanced wellness-oriented version of the recreational cannabis you might be acquainted with. 

Medical cannabis draws from the cannabis plant’s diverse types of cannabinoids, notably tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which offer unique medicinal properties. THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the euphoric “high,” can be harnessed to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, or address issues like anxiety. On the other hand, CBD is a calming, non-intoxicating cannabinoid, prized for its ability to soothe anxiety, alleviate discomfort, and enhance overall well-being.

The practice of consuming cannabis for medical purposes isn’t new; it has roots in ancient herbal remedies. Over time, its applications have expanded, and today, it serves as a natural remedy for a wide range of conditions. Whether it’s managing chronic pain, mitigating nausea, or enhancing sleep quality, medical cannabis has a rich historical background as a therapeutic agent.

In essence, medical cannabis is about tapping into the inherent medicinal potential of these natural compounds to offer relief and improve the quality of life for folks facing various health challenges. 

Rise of Cannabis as an Alternative to Traditional Medicine As Per Studies

According to a recent nationwide survey, as highlighted in a 2017 study, several adult cannabis partakers have a solid reasoning behind their tokes. About 10.5% of them are consuming cannabis purely for medical purposes, and nearly half, 46.6%, are blending both medical and recreational consumption into their cannabis experience.

The Evolution of Cannabis 

Close up of cannabis plant in greenhouse

Cannabis regulation in the United States has a long history, dating back to the early 20th century. Let’s quickly journey through this history to understand where we stand with medical marijuana today.

In 1909, the US made its first move to ban opium smoking, primarily targeting Chinese immigrants on the West Coast. The Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914 marked a broader step, regulating opiates and limiting their use to prescribed medical purposes. Prohibition, the ban on alcohol, came into effect in 1919, although this was eventually repealed in 1933 due to its ineffectiveness. Additionally, heroin was strictly prohibited in 1924.

Outlaws on Cannabis

Bearded man smoking a weed joint

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act made growing and distributing marijuana illegal, effectively outlawing it by making federal stamps for its use unavailable. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 put marijuana and other mind-altering substances, including LSD and “bath salts,” in Schedule I, making them illegal. These legislative efforts led to the criminalization of many Americans, disproportionately affecting nonviolent offenders and resulting in high incarceration rates.

Before the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana consumption was on the rise, particularly among the counterculture of the ’60s. During the Vietnam War, marijuana consumption was prevalent among military personnel stationed in Southeast Asia, ultimately influencing the Controlled Substances Act.

Now, let’s consider the medical consumption of marijuana. Marijuana has a long history of medicinal use, dating back thousands of years. In recent years, medical marijuana has gained popularity, with many participants citing chronic pain as their reason for seeking it. However, the medical community often insists that medical marijuana should not involve smoking the raw plant, much like the medical field discourages smoking for other drugs.

Clinical Trials in the United States

Close up of weed buds in palm of hand

As of 2023, the United States has made substantial progress in conducting clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of medical cannabis. These trials are critical because they provide a systematic and controlled approach to studying the effects of cannabis in treating various medical conditions. Researchers are investigating its potential in a range of conditions, including:

Chronic Pain Management

One of the most significant areas of study is the consumption of medical cannabis in managing chronic pain. Chronic pain conditions affect millions of Americans, and the potential for cannabis to provide relief has been a subject of considerable interest. 

A 2022 study presented significant evidence of the effectiveness of medical marijuana in alleviating chronic pain. The research encompassed various chronic pain conditions, including neuropathic pain, back pain, arthritis, post-surgical pain, headaches, and abdominal pain.

Among the 984 chronic pain patients studied, two-thirds reported pain relief as the primary benefit of consuming medical marijuana, while improved sleep ranked as the second most commonly reported benefit.

Epilepsy

Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, has gained recognition for its potential in treating epilepsy, especially in children with conditions like Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Clinical trials are assessing the efficacy and safety of CBD-based treatments, and outcomes have shown promise in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.

In a 2018 study, researchers assessed the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy. Patients in these trials continued their regular antiepileptic drugs while receiving either a placebo or CBD. Here’s a summary of the findings, highlighting how CBD can help with epilepsy:

  1. Mechoulam and Carlini (1978)
  • Nine patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy were handpicked for the clinical trial.
  • Four patients received 200 mg of CBD daily for three months, while five received a placebo.
  • Two patients in the CBD group had no seizures during the treatment; one had partial improvement, and the fourth had no improvement.
  1. Cunha et al. (1980)
  • Fifteen patients with secondary generalized epilepsy with a temporal focus were selected.
  • Eight patients received 200-300 mg of CBD daily for 8-18 weeks, while seven received a placebo.
  • Four patients in the CBD group became seizure-free, three had partial improvement, and one showed no effect.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Another noteworthy area of research pertains to the consumption of cannabis in managing PTSD. Veterans and others who have PTSD are exploring cannabis as a potential alternative to traditional medications. 

In a study, as highlighted by a Forbes article, researchers tracked two groups of PTSD patients over a year. One group consumed legal medical cannabis, while the other did not consume cannabis at all. Both groups initially included 75 participants who met the criteria for PTSD. 

Those who consumed cannabis experienced a notable reduction in symptom severity. While the control group also showed some improvement over time, the cannabis partakers saw a much faster and more substantial decrease in symptoms. 

The study revealed that cannabis partakers were over 2.5 times more likely not to have PTSD. This outcome suggests that cannabis might do more than merely alleviate symptoms; it could potentially aid in the process of healing from the trauma underlying PTSD. 

Read more: Cannabis and Mental Health: Unmasking Myths and Facts

Global Comparison of Medical Cannabis Usage and Relevance in 2023

Outdoor scene with weed leaf to celebrate National Medical Cannabis Week

Let’s look at how different countries have embraced and integrated medical cannabis into their healthcare systems and the lives of their citizens.

Legality and Accessibility

  • United States: The medical cannabis legality in the US is determined by lawmakers at the state level. While many states have legalized medical cannabis, it remains illegal at the federal level, leading to inconsistencies and limitations in access.
  • Canada: Canada legalized medical cannabis in 2001, and it has a well-regulated system in place. Patients with qualifying medical conditions can access cannabis through licensed producers.
  • Germany: Germany has a strictly regulated medical cannabis program, allowing patients to access cannabis for specific medical conditions when other treatments have failed.

Research and Regulation

  • United States: The US has made strides in medical cannabis research, but federal restrictions have hindered comprehensive studies. Regulation varies widely by state.
  • Israel: Israel has a long history of cannabis research and legalized medical cannabis in the early 1900s. It has been at the forefront of cannabis research, contributing to our understanding of its medical potential.
  • Australia: Australia legalized medical cannabis in 2016, and its program has been expanding. Patients with qualifying conditions can access medical cannabis through registered healthcare providers.

Patient Eligibility

  • United States: Eligibility for medical cannabis varies by state, with conditions ranging from chronic pain to specific illnesses.
  • Netherlands: The Netherlands has a longstanding tolerance policy toward cannabis, and it has a medical cannabis program for patients with specific medical conditions. However, the medical cannabis market in the Netherlands is relatively small.
  • United Kingdom: The UK legalized medical cannabis in 2018 but has a relatively limited program, primarily focused on specific medical conditions and under the guidance of specialists.

International Cooperation

  • United States: The US has limited international collaboration on medical cannabis research due to federal restrictions.
  • Israel: Israel has actively collaborated on medical cannabis research and shares findings with the global scientific community.

Considerations for First-Time Medical Cannabis Patients

Things to consider as a first time medical cannabis patient on National Medical Cannabis Week

For those taking their first steps into the world of medical cannabis, the journey can be both promising and daunting. Understanding the essentials is critical to a positive experience. 

Consult a Healthcare Professional

Before diving in, consult with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about medical cannabis. They can guide you through the process, help you understand if it’s the right fit for your condition, and provide recommendations.

Start Low and Go Slow

When trying cannabis, especially if you’re new to it, start with a low dose and gradually increase it. Following this approach minimizes the risk of experiencing unwanted side effects.

Research and Learn 

Take the time to go through cannabis education online to learn about different strains and consumption methods. Not all cannabis is the same, and various strains can have other effects. Knowing what you’re consuming is essential.

Track Your Journey with Journaling

Consider keeping a journal to track your experiences. Note the type of cannabis you consume, the dosage, and how it affects your symptoms. It’ll help you and your healthcare provider fine-tune your treatment plan.

Be Patient

Cannabis might not work overnight. It can take some time to find the right strain and dosage that works for your specific condition. Be patient and give it time.

Locating Trustworthy Clinics for Medical Cannabis Treatment

How to find trustworthy cannabis treatment clinics

Let’s delve into the intricacies of selecting a trustworthy clinic to ensure you’re in safe hands while exploring the potential benefits of medical cannabis.

  • Ask for Referrals: Start by asking your healthcare provider for recommendations. They may know reputable clinics in your area.
  • Check Legal Requirements: Ensure the clinic complies with all legal and regulatory requirements. It should be licensed and in good standing with the authorities.
  • Read Reviews and Visit Website: Search for “medical cannabis near me” and look for clinics with decent patient reviews and testimonials online. They can provide insights into the clinic’s reputation and the quality of service they offer. Additionally, the clinic should have an updated, well-maintained website with accessible contact details.
  • Go in Person to the Clinic: It’ll allow you to assess the cleanliness, professionalism, and overall environment.
  • Consult a Healthcare Pro: Schedule a consultation with the clinic. This way, you can ask questions, discuss your condition, and gauge how knowledgeable and caring the staff is.
  • Expect Transparency: A trustworthy clinic should be transparent about its processes, treatment options, certifications, and costs. They should provide precise information that you have a right to access.

For help on how to get started, here’s a helpful guide on the different types of medical recommendations and how they affect your order.

Advancing Cannabis as a Valid Alternative to Traditional Medicine

Close up of cannabis bud

As medical cannabis continues to gain recognition, its role in reshaping the landscape of healthcare is undeniable. In this National Medical Cannabis Week segment, we’ll explore the ongoing efforts and breakthroughs that are pushing cannabis to the forefront as a valid and alternative means of treatment compared to traditional medicine.

  • Research: There’s a growing body of research exploring the medical benefits of cannabis. The scientific evidence is crucial for gaining acceptance in the medical community.
  • Medical Training: Healthcare professionals are increasingly being educated and informed about the potential of medical cannabis, which ensures they can provide informed guidance to patients.
  • Legislation: Many countries and states are passing laws to legalize and regulate medical cannabis, which is a step in the right direction. The legal framework provides patients with safer access and encourages research.
  • Patient Advocacy: Patients and advocacy groups play a vital role in raising awareness about the benefits of medical cannabis. Their efforts help reduce stigma and promote acceptance.
  • Clinical Trials: Ongoing clinical trials are being conducted by healthcare experts to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of cannabis for various medical conditions. Positive outcomes in these trials bolster its credibility.
  • Public Perception: As more success stories emerge and the public becomes better informed, the perception of cannabis as a valid treatment is shifting.

National Medical Cannabis Week: One Small Step for Cannabis, One Giant Leap for Medicine

Grassdoor celebrates the strides made in medical cannabis, educating our community and customers about cannabis’s potential and advocating for its rightful place in healthcare and even for recreational use. 

For those embarking on their journey with medical cannabis, remember to seek trusted clinics and stay informed. Together, we’re pushing for medical cannabis to take its well-deserved spot alongside traditional medicine.

And if you’re eager to explore more about medical weed during National Medical Cannabis Week, don’t forget to visit our blog—your gateway to a wealth of information and cannabis education resources.

FAQs About Medical Cannabis

What was the first medical cannabis program in the US?


The first medical cannabis program in the United States was initiated in California in 1996 under the Compassionate Use Act. This groundbreaking law allowed the consumption of medical cannabis under the supervision of a physician for patients with specific medical conditions.

What is the current status in the United States regarding the legalization of medical cannabis?


While medical cannabis is legal in many states, it remains illegal at the federal level. Each state has its own set of regulations and qualifying conditions for medical cannabis consumption.

Who is the biggest grower of medical cannabis?


Some of the largest medical cannabis producers in the United States include companies like Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, and Cresco Labs. These companies have a significant presence in multiple states with legal medical cannabis programs.

What is cannabis awareness and National Medical Cannabis Week?


Cannabis awareness refers to public cannabis education and information campaigns like cannabis education programs aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of cannabis, its consumption, potential benefits, risks, and the evolving legal landscape. 

These awareness initiatives such as National Medical Cannabis Week often focus on responsible and informed cannabis consumption, the importance of adhering to state and local laws, and promoting open dialogues about the plant’s medical, recreational, and industrial applications.

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