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Marijuana as Medicine

Many people believe that marijuana can be used as medicine to treat certain illnesses. Canada and several states in the U.S. have passed laws in recent years to specifically allow sick people to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. The only major federal report on the the subject of medicinal use of marijuana concluded that there was evidence that marijuana could be useful for "pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation."

Still, under the Title 21 of the U.S. Code, Section 812 (part of the Controlled Substances Act or CSA), the U.S. federal government classifies marijuana as a 'Schedule One' substance which has no medicinal value. Despite the evidence indicating therapeutic uses, The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has refused to consider reclassification of marijuana, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially opposed the use of marijuana as medicine.

We support the rights of sick people to help themselves by using marijuana as medicine. However, in the long term, we believe that medicinal marijuana will be a non-issue because marijuana will be legal for responsible adults to use regardless of illness.

Read what doctors, scientists, and others say about medicinal marijuana

  • Senior Citizens Support Medicinal Marijuana: 72 percent of respondents in an AARP survey agree that "adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician recommends it."

  • "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base" (1999) -- The Institute of Medicine (IOM) published this report in response to the the White House's request for a review of scientific information about marijuana's medical uses. This report is informative and straightforward, and states the clear conclusion that scientific evidence indicates the therapeutic effects of "cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation."

  • Marijuana may protect against cancer.

  • Canada has a much more sensible approach to medicinal marijuana than the U.S. Health Canada "grants access to marihuana for medical use to those who are suffering from grave and debilitating illnesses."

  • Americans for Safe Access is an activist organization devoted to defending patients' access to medical marijuana.

  • Read Ann Harrison's article about "The Trial of Ed Rosenthal", courtesy of Alternet.

  • "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," is an excellent article by Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D. The article appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 336:366-367, January 30, 1997, Number 5) and explains why the federal government's position on medicinal marijuana doesn't make sense. The New England Journal of Medicine is one of the nation's most respected medical journals; subscription is required to view the article online.

  • NORML's section on Medical Use of marijuana has good information and polls showing that Americans support making marijuana legally available for medicinal purposes.

  • Read Marijuana Rx: The Patients' Fight for Medicinal Pot, by Alice M. O'Leary and Robert C. Randall.

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