Let’s start out by learning the health benefits, the stigma and what, up until just recently, cannabis is known for in the scientific academia communities in the U.S. and other countries.

As of the date of this published article, twenty three states around the U.S. including Washington D.C. have legalized medical marijuana.

Experts have been changing their minds too regarding whether or not cannabis has any health benefit — recently, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta reversed his opinion on medical marijuana stating:

“I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana.

Well, I am here to apologize. I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.

Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.

They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.”

While recreational cannabis usage is controversial, many people, specifically scientists and researchers, agree with Gupta’s new stance, and believe that the drug should be legal for medical uses.

And even though the benefits of smoking cannabis may be overstated by advocates of marijuana legalization, new laws will help researchers study the drug’s medicinal uses and better understand how it impacts the body.

Currently only 6% of studies in the U.S. on marijuana analyze its medicinal properties.

There are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers believe have medicinal applications. Those are cannabidiol (CBD) — which seems to impact the brain without a high— and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain relieving (and other) properties.

Keep in mind that some of these health benefits can potentially be gained by taking THC pills like Dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC, which in some ways might be more effective than smoked marijuana.