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What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is any part of the marijuana plant that you use to treat health problems. People use it to get relief from their symptoms, not to try to get high.

Most marijuana that’s sold legally as medicine has the same ingredients as the kind that people use for pleasure. But some medical marijuana is specially grown to have less of the chemicals that cause feelings of euphoria.

medical marijuana strains

Ingredients in Medical Marijuana

Marijuana plants have multiple chemicals, known as cannabinoids. The two main ones are THC and CBD. THC gives some of the pleasurable effects that pot smokers are looking for, but it also has some effects that may treat medical problems.

Some research suggests that CBD may be helpful for some health issues, but it doesn’t cause you to get high.

illustration of mid brain and dopamine molecule

How Marijuana Works on the Brain

People who smoke marijuana begin to feel its effects almost immediately, while those who eat it may not feel it for up to an hour.

When you smoke pot, THC goes from your lungs to the bloodstream and causes your brain cells to release the chemical dopamine, leaving you feeling high.

Experts know less about how CBD works. They think it may work sometimes with THC, and sometimes on its own, to have an effect on the brain.

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