The Pros and Cons of Medical Marijuana


Lukas Barfield

October 26th, 2017

Policy


blank form for the pros and cons, black and white image

Throughout recorded history the cannabis sativa plant was used for recreation, fiber and medicine. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the much maligned marijuana plant earned its negative reputation on a worldwide scale.

The issue of so called “Indian Hemp” was seriously addressed for the first time on a global scale at the 2nd Opium Conference in Geneva of 1925. At the conference, it was agreed upon that “Indian Hemp” would be put on the list of drugs that were to be monitored by governments around the world. The United States did not sign the agreement, but later passed its own restrictions on marijuana in 1937 with the passage of the Marijuana Stamp Tax Act.

This unfortunate intervention by governments around the world has proven to be the primary factor that has hampered research into marijuana’s efficacy as a viable medicine. In spite of government efforts to impede research, some investigations have shown marijuana to be an effective medicine for treating a variety of conditions. However, it’s illegality on a Federal level and in most industrialized countries still has consequences.

Therefore, patients must carefully way the “Pros” and “Cons” of using medical marijuana to treat their individual conditions. Due to lack of information, this decision may not be an easy one. Here is a list of some known medical marijuana pros and cons that may help patients make such an important decision.

Pros of Medical Marijuana

  • Marijuana is an extremely safe medicine. There has been no known overdose from marijuana, there are few side effects and it is not physically addictive.
  • Marijuana is a very versatile medicine as it interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system, a system in the body which promotes balance in the cells. The resin produced by the marijuana plant can be made into innumerable products that can be used to treat many different medical conditions affecting all parts of the body and for which pharmaceuticals may not be effective.
  • Patients can grow their own medical marijuana. Depending on which state you live in, many medical marijuana patients have the option of growing their own medicine. Growing outdoors can provide larger amounts for patients once a year, but indoor gardens work well for a consistent supply of medicine year round.
  • Much of the United States has medical marijuana laws. Twenty-nine states plus DC have medical marijuana, eight states and DC have legal adult use recreational marijuana, and many other states have high CBD regulations. These well-regulated state-run medical marijuana systems provide safe medical marijuana to patients, and more states are passing medical marijuana laws every year.

Cons of Medical Marijuana

  • The Federal Drug Administration does not regulate marijuana products, due to marijuana’s designation as a Schedule 1 Narcotic, a “controlled substance”, with no known medical use. This means patients are often left to their own devices determining which medical marijuana products are effective.
  • Dosing marijuana can be an issue. Despite its versatility, due to lack of research, little is known about affective medical marijuana dosing. The Mayo Clinic does provide loose guidelines for some conditions, but little is known about the exact amount of medical marijuana needed to treat a given ailment.
  • Insurance does not cover medical marijuana. As a result, costs can rise when treating conditions such as cancer or MS for which larger amounts of medical marijuana are required.
  • Marijuana is still illegal on a Federal level, and still in a handful of states. Although marijuana has been decriminalized in many municipalities around the country, patients living outside legal Medical marijuana states may still face prosecution for possessing medical marijuana. In addition, many jobs still drug test for marijuana, and in some states testing positive for marijuana may affect transplant eligibility.

About Lukas Barfield



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