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Medical marijuana refers to the use of cannabis or cannabinoids as medical therapy to treat disease or alleviate symptoms.
- Marijuana contains approximately 60 pharmacologically active compounds (“cannabinoids”).
- The exact compounds and mechanisms of action of the cannabinoids in marijuana is an area of ongoing research.
- The most commonly isolated active ingredients include Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Most of the psychoactive properties come from THC.
- Routes of administration include inhaled, intranasal, oral (extract, mixed into food, or made into tea), sublingual, and topical.
- Cannabinoids can be taken in herbal form, extracted naturally from the plant, gained by isomerization of CBD, or manufactured synthetically.
- Cannabis is the most widely consumed illicit substance worldwide.
- An estimated 178 million people aged 15 to 64 years used cannabis at least once in 2012.
- In the United States in 2010, 6.9% of individuals 12 years old had smoked cannabis in the previous month, and it is estimated that 25% of the American population has used it at least once.
- Use among high school seniors now exceeds tobacco use (32% vs. 25%).
- In the United States, as of 2016, 30 states and Washington, DC had introduced laws to permit the medical use of cannabis.
- Under federal law, marijuana remains a schedule 1 substance.