While it remains federally illegal & illegal in Wisconsin – Attitudes regarding the use of cannabis have shifted significantly over the last decade.


The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that, as of early 2022, 37 states, three territories and the District of Columbia allowed the medicinal use of cannabis products. By May 2022, 19 states, two territories and the District of Columbia had enacted measures to regulate the non-medicinal use of cannabis by adults. This shifting dynamic also is evident in Canada, where the Cannabis Act of 2018 created a strict legal framework controlling the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis, effectively legalizing it throughout the country that October.

Attitudinal shifts regarding cannabis on the part of legislators have prompted many people to wonder what, if any, medicinal benefits marijuana can provide. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that very question has been the subject of research and debate for decades. That debate is unlikely to end anytime soon, though the NIDA indicates that suggestions about the potential medicinal properties of cannabis are not unfounded.

The NIDA notes that marijuana and its components have been found to have medicinal properties. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved certain medications that contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is a compound found in the resin secreted by the marijuana plant. These drugs, prescribed in pill form, are used to treat the nausea that can develop in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The drugs, which are called Marinol® and Cesamet®, also are prescribed as appetite stimulants to AIDS patients with wasting syndrome.

Though it has yet to be approved in the United States, the mouth spray Sativex® is available in various parts of the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom. The NIDA notes that Sativex® is prescribed to multiple sclerosis patients to treat the spasticity and neuropathic pain associated with MS.

CBD oil is one cannabis-related product to garner significant attention in recent years. CBD refers to cannabidiol, a chemical found in marijuana. According to the NIDA, the only CBD-based liquid medication thus far approved by the FDA is Epidiolex®, which is used to treat two rare forms of severe childhood epilepsy. But consumers undoubtedly recognize just how widely CBD oil is marketed, and the Mayo Clinic notes CBD-infused foods, drinks and beauty products are available online. However, research as to the benefits of CBD is ongoing and limited. That does not necessarily mean claims about the benefits of CBD are false, but it also does not mean they’re true or backed by legitimate, recognized medical research.

As attitudes about cannabis shift, research could change perceptions about the plant that has its fair share of supporters and detractors. Individuals considering cannabis for its potential medicinal properties are urged to speak with their physicians before purchasing ANY products.