Marijuana, or cannabis, has been used as a medicinal remedy for thousands of years. Once used as an anesthetic in ancient China, the drug has been administered throughout the world to treat many ailments including chronic pain, digestive disorders and inflammation. Nevertheless, possession of marijuana is illegal in the United States and often results in fines or imprisonment for those using it.
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) is rapidly absorbed into the body by either ingestion or smoking. Once in the blood stream, marijuana tends to produce a calming or euphoric affect. Additionally, it has been shown in many studies to increase appetite, decrease nausea and relax muscles. As such, it may be prescribed for a broad range of indications for general medical use. Nevertheless, marijuana also has many potential detrimental effects. Chronic users may experience depression, memory loss, anxiety and/or paranoia. Additionally, if smoked, there is an increased risk of lung cancer.