Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in America, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is especially popular among young people aged 18-25, many of whom believe it does not pose a health risk. Those beliefs are fortified by the legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana in a growing number of states. However, marijuana use can have serious, long-term negative effects on physical and mental health, especially in youth, young adults and women who are pregnant or nursing.
Medical marijuana refers to the use of the marijuana plant or its extracts to treat certain medical conditions or symptoms of an illness.
To date, only two medications using marijuana extracts have been given FDA approval. These medications are in pill form, dronabinol and nabilone, and are used to treat nausea and boost appetite. The FDA has not approved the marijuana plant for medical use.
The chemicals in marijuana called cannabinoids include THC and CBD. Scientists are researching both these extracts to determine their effectiveness in treating symptoms of illnesses including pain, inflammation, seizures, substance use disorders, and more.