Helpful Insights forPatients and Caregivers
What is marijuana?

Medical marijuana is marijuana used to treat medical conditions. This is allowed by some states, but not the U.S. government. Recreational marijuana is marijuana used by a person to “get high” rather than treating a medical condition. Recreational marijuana is legal in some states.



  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Marijuana. National Institute of Drug Abuse. December 2019.
  2. World Health Organization (WHO): Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Thirty-ninth Meeting, Agenda item 5.2. Geneva,  6-10. November 2017.                                                                                        
  3. De Aquino JP, et al. The Psychiatric Consequences of Cannabinoids. Clin Ther. 2019;40(9):1448-1456.  
  4. Klumpers LE, Thacker DL. A Brief Background on Cannabis: From Plant to Medical Indications. J Aoac Int. 2019;102(2):412-420. DOI: 10.5740/jaoacint.18-0208. PubMed PMID: 30139415.
  5. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Committee’s Conclusions. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. January 2017:
  6. 2021 Marijuana Policy Reform Legislation. March 2021.
  7. American Psychiatric Association. Position Statement in Opposition to Cannabis as Medicine. July 2019” url:
  8. Hill, K., et. al. Risks and Benefits of Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Psychiatry. The American Journal of Psychiatry. . Published December 8, 2021.
  9. Fischer, B., et al. Lower-Risk Cannabis use Guidelines: A Comprehensive Update of Evidence and Recommendations. American Journal of Public Health. . Published July 12, 2017.
  10. State Medical Cannabis Laws. National Conference of State Legislatures. marijuana-laws.aspx . Published February 3, 2022.
  11. Position Statement in Opposition to Cannabis as Medicine. American Psychiatric Association. . Published May 2019.