As marijiuana for medical use gains acceptance in more states, doctors and other patient-facing allied health professionals, such as medical assistants need to know how best to respond to questions from their patients in an informed and honest manner.
Those who are considering medical marijuana (sometimes abbreviated to MMJ) to help with what’s ailing them, naturally have concerns about its safety and efficacy. Misinformation and misconceptions abound about this so-called wonder drug. Before starting on any new therapy, it’s important they get all the facts and of course to talk with their primary care physician.
Probably the biggest confusion people have about MMJ is understanding the difference between it and pot, also referred to as cannabis and weed. They’re the same, with one major difference—strains that have been developed to treat specific illnesses. It’s estimated there are approximately 800 strains of marijuana in the world1. Most of them are hybrids of one, two and sometimes three strains. And there are new strains being developed all the time. Additionally, all of them can be used for medical marijuana.
In the same way dog and cat breeders use a process called selective breeding to weed out (no pun intended) unwanted traits and promote traits that are more desired, the same thing is done with cannabis—only in dogs and cats it’s highly questionable whether this process is healthy for the animal.
By understanding that strain x helps a patient with chronic pain and strain b helps with depression (as an example), combined they can produce a new strain with both characteristics.
As you’ll discover, medical marijuana isn’t the same pot you may or may not have smoked (or won’t admit to smoking) when you were younger.