Marijuana, or cannabis, has been used by humans for thousands of years. And recently, there’s been a ton of controversy regarding the use of medical marijuana and marijuana in general. I’m sure we all know someone else *cough* who has used marijuana. By the general population’s standards, marijuana use is not seen as a very serious issue or offense. And many physicians have even lobbied for the recreational use of marijuana to treat many medical conditions.
Though marijuana has been classified as an illegal drug, over the past two decades there has been a growing movement to legalize it, primarily for medical purposes. It’s common knowledge in the medical community that marijuana has been used for many years to help the ill. And current research has shown that marijuana has the potential for treating tons of common medical conditions including: nausea, vomiting, PMS, insomnia, migraines, multiple sclerosis, alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, Parkinson’s disease, sickle-cell disease, sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
So what if you are suffering for any of the above conditions and would like to try medical marijuana? That’s where things get a a bit hazy and confusing. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so doctors cannot prescribe and pharmacies dispense it. Instead, doctors “recommend” it for their patients. Patients can then use this recommendation to obtain an ID card allowing them to grow or purchase medicinal marijuana. But federal law still makes says marijuana is illegal. So patients and dispensers can still be raided by federal law enforcement.
So despite all of its positive health effects, marijuana is still very much illegal. And this is mostly because some government representatives argue that the lobbying for medical use of marijuana is all a smoke screen for encouraging recreational use, which could ultimately lead to drug and gang wars.
Many people, including physicians, shake our heads in disagreement. But some government officials are even making it their mission to set examples of individuals that purchase or sell marijuana illegally. For example, this week it was reported that a mere $31 marijuana sale landed a 25-year-old Oklahoma mother (who also works in nursing homes) and her grandmother to 10 years in prison. Many people were outraged at the ruling, especially when so many people believe marijuana should be legal.
So for now, our country continues to struggle with the legalization and decriminalization of a drug that has tremendous health benefits. Currently medical marijuana has been legalized in 15 states and the District of Columbia. And it will be interesting to watch which states will follow.
What are your thoughts on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes? Do you use or do you know someone who uses medical marijuana? Has it helped? Considering that marijuana has such great health benefits, is it reasonable to severely penalize someone who is caught with illegal possession?
Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, writer, & media personality. Known for writing on health related issues as well as witty, straightforward commentary on life, love, and culture, Dr. Austin is also working on her first fiction book- a psychological thriller. If you want to know more about Dr. Phoenyx Austin and her future projects- check her out on Facebook!