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What are Medical Marijuana Clinics?

Nicole Madison
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Medical marijuana clinics are facilities that help people either obtain marijuana to treat certain conditions or apply for permits or approval to acquire or grow marijuana for medical use. Marijuana, also called cannabis, is considered an illegal drug in the United States, most of Europe, and many other countries. An addictive substance, it comes from the Cannabis sativa plant and is used to produce a relaxed state and heightened senses. When people smoke it, they describe the feeling as getting high. However, marijuana may be helpful for treating certain health conditions, and in some jurisdictions, medicinal use of the drug is legal.

Many believe that people go to marijuana clinics to obtain the drug. Often, this is not the case. Instead, many clinics deal only in helping patients gain approval or permits for medical marijuana use. The patients must then grow it on their own or get it from a dispensary. Depending on the location, laws may vary regarding the legalities of acquiring marijuana, even when it is legal to use it as a medication.

There are many medicinal uses for marijuana. For example, cancer patients may use it to relieve nausea following chemotherapy treatments. AIDS patients may use it to improve their appetites. It may also help those with chronic pain, especially in cases involving nerve damage and inflammation. Medicinal use of marijuana may even help to suppress immune system response in the presence of autoimmune disorders, helping to control both inflammation and physical discomfort.

Interestingly, medical marijuana clinics weren’t always required for getting the drug legally. Until around 1937, an extract of marijuana was frequently used in medications in the United States. In fact, it was among the most frequently prescribed medicines of that time period. Once laws made it an illegal substance, however, its use in medications was restricted. Today, it is widely considered harmful, and even obtaining approval for it from medical marijuana clinics is controversial.

While medical marijuana clinics may provide important help to those who need it, there are valid arguments on the other side as well. For example, controlling its distribution and ensuring that it stays in the hands of those who truly need it for medicinal use is a challenge. Controlling its growth, production, and sale is a problem as well. Some people wonder how the government can ensure that medical marijuana clinics won’t make a business of approving the drug for those who aren’t ill. Others point out that the same problems exist when it comes to narcotic medications, as many of these medicines are over-prescribed or sold to those who abuse them.

Besides legal reasons, opponents of medical marijuana clinics claim that the drug isn’t good for the body. It is proven that marijuana causes memory and learning difficulties as well as problems with perception. The drug makes thinking and solving problems more difficult, causes coordination loss, increases heart rate and contributes to anxiety. After a long period of marijuana use, users may have an increased risk of heart attack, cancer and mental illness. Its use can even contribute to immune system and respiratory problems.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Discussion Comments

By WaterHopper — On Jan 02, 2011

@purplespark: I am not 100% certain of the validity of this, but I will pass along the information that I have read. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), there are 10 states that currently decriminalize (or legalize) marijuana for medical use.

Since 1996, Arizona, California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon have passed legislation that removed the state-level penalties for medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor. Maryland passed an affirmative defense law in 2003. This says that if someone is arrested for marijuana use but is found to be using it for medical necessity (by a doctor’s order), they will only face a fine instead of jail time.

By PurpleSpark — On Jan 01, 2011

How many "medical marijuana" states are there?

By GardenTurtle — On Dec 29, 2010

@boathugger:

Cannabis was cultivated for the first time around 4000 B.C. in China. As a matter of fact, the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. There are 3 main types of marijuana. They are Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.

Sativa is taller than the others and considered more potent. Indica is a short, bushy-type plant and is considered more of a “muscle relaxer”. Ruderalis grows in the colder climates such as Russia.

It is said that marijuana can cure, treat, or prevent more than 100 different diseases. I really don’t have an opinion on that. That is just what I read in a magazine.

By BoatHugger — On Dec 27, 2010

This was a really great article. I have to do a thesis paper on marijuana facts and the medical use of it. Does anyone happen to know when or where marijuana was discovered?

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison

Writer

Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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