Understanding Medical Cannabis


It is always best to consult with a doctor about taking any medication; cannabis is no different. Seeking out a doctor that is more familiar with the benefits of medical marijuana may help to more clearly understand if this treatment may help with your condition. While cannabis is not beneficial for everyone, it has improved the quality of life for many patients. Cannabis is not a cure for any disease or illness. What it does, like most medicines, is increases comfort levels and helps to regulate a condition so that a patient can be more productive in their daily lives. Cannabis can benefit a number of afflictions because of its ability to decrease certain kinds of pain, stimulate appetites, decrease spasms and seizures, and normalize dietary regimen.


In November of 2012, voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly passed Question 3: An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana. The law passed with 63% of the vote making a strong statement that the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts truly support the rights of their friends, neighbors, and family to use cannabis as a medicine. Over the past months the State Department of Public Health has developed a complex regulatory model to oversee the emerging industry and the implementation of the Act.

Under Massachusetts’s medical marijuana law, patients are permitted to legally use, possess, transport, and in some cases, cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. It allows patients to authorize up to two caregivers to access medical cannabis for them, and one caregiver can cultivate for them if they qualify for a hardship exemption. The law allows for a series of medical cannabis dispensaries to serve the needs of patients across the state under strict regulation.


Cannabis is one of the safest medicines on the planet. It is an herbal medicine that helps people find relief where other medicines may have failed them. Cannabis is not a magical plant that can heal any condition; but if used properly it can provide extended relief for many symptoms and drastically increase one’s quality of life.


Endocannabinoids are substances produced naturally by your body that activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors to provide relief from discomfort or euphoria. The principal endocannabinoid is arachidonyl ethanolamide, or anandamide (AEA). This naturally occurring lipid is a fatty cannabinoid neurotransmitter found in the brains of all animals on the planet except insects. The name anandamide is derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss, ananda. Researchers are working to find the correlation between AEA and human memory, eating habits, sleep patterns, and pain relief. Studies in rats have shown that it increases the desire for food intake.

The endocannabinoid system is quite complex and its function is only beginning to be understood. Studies in humans indicate a role in regulating immunity, inflammation, neurotoxicity, blood pressure, appetite, gastrointestinal function, glaucoma, epilepsy, depression and stress. The endocannabinoid system seems to help regulate the body’s biological responses to maintain health and activity by restoring balance. Truly, there is no human physiological system yet investigated that is not in some way modulated by the endocannabinoid system.