Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

18. Is it legal to take marijuana to treat certain health conditions?

Although under federal law, marijuana is illegal to use under any circumstance, in some states doctors are allowed to prescribe it for medical use. However, solid data on marijuana’s health benefits is lacking, and for smoked marijuana many health experts have concerns about the potential negative effects on the lungs and respiratory system.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana to treat any disease. They have approved two medications that are chemically similar to marijuana to treat wasting disease (extreme weight loss) in people with AIDS and to treat nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment.