Due to the widespread legalization of marijuana in Canada and the United States, the hard-line policies that prevented people from being able to access a useful drug are rapidly becoming things of the past and, more and more, the drug is even being recognized as something entirely appropriate as a recreational drug for adults, just like alcohol. It’s use as a medicine, however, has been bolstered by several aspects of this particular drug that make it uniquely useful among the options that patients facing a range of different conditions deal with.

Side Effects

One of the things that physicians have to look at when they are considering prescribing a drug to a patient is the side effects. Side effects, as a term, really doesn’t do justice to what these physicians are considering. Side effects, in reality, are simply effects of a drug. Those undesirable effects are generally termed side effects and, in many cases, they are quite distressing for patients.

For example, medical marijuana is oftentimes used as a way of alleviating chronic pain. Over many years of study, marijuana has proven to be an effective painkiller without having the extremely dangerous addictive qualities that opioid pain relievers have. Some people who are prescribed opiate painkillers for chronic pain and end up becoming opiate addicts, simply because they need to take their medicine and addiction is a known side effect of those drugs.

Another interesting thing about marijuana as a painkiller is that it doesn’t have the same incapacitating effects that opiates do. If you take an OxyContin or a Vicodin, you’ll be well aware of the fact that you’ve taken a medication. For some people, these effects are completely incapacitating. Marijuana can kill pain but allow the user to remain functional. In fact, with today’s cannabis dispensaries, people can select specific strains of marijuana that cause less drowsiness than others and, in fact, some strains of marijuana such as the Sativa strain actually have the effect of making the user feel quite alert.

Natural Treatments

One of the ironies of medical marijuana is that, for many years, people have been being sold natural treatments for conditions that are really just quack medicine. At the same time, a highly effective, entirely natural treatment has been available, save for the fact that policies prevented people from getting access to this useful medicine: marijuana.

Some people simply do not want to take unnatural pharmaceuticals into their bodies. Medical marijuana provides a viable alternative for these people. The effects are generally very mild, but the drug manages to be very good at killing pain, reducing the symptoms of anxiety, helping people to stimulate the appetite and at providing other benefits, at the same time.

Over the years, the benefits of medical marijuana have been too significant to ignore. Even some former DEA officials – the United States Drug Enforcement Administration – have come out in favor of this drug, citing the fact that it has almost no side effects and that the benefit ratio is just too good to pass up. Though it once may have been an alternative treatment itself – and an illegal one, at that – medical marijuana is rapidly becoming mainstream medicine, simply because it works.