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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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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.

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Medical Marijuana." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688032/all/Medical_Marijuana.
Medical Marijuana. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688032/all/Medical_Marijuana. Accessed March 22, 2019.
Medical Marijuana. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688032/all/Medical_Marijuana
Medical Marijuana [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 March 22]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688032/all/Medical_Marijuana.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Medical Marijuana ID - 1688032 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/1688032/all/Medical_Marijuana PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -