Over the past few years, medical marijuana has been legalized in many US states, but the number of controversies around it has not decreased. How safe is it? Should it be regulated? Has it been proven effective? In what cases its use is justified?
According to many opinion polls, the majority of American citizens support the legalization of medical marijuana at the federal level. However, medical marijuana is not legal in the whole country. At the same time, several million citizens use it. The ability to use the substance is available in many states. For instance, MMJ in Florida is an opportunity to help yourself get rid of some ailments.
The partial legalisation of marijuana had several significant socio-economic consequences. Nearly every state where it is legal has seen a reduction in violent crime (including homicide) as well as drug-related offenses. Tax deductions to the budget from the sale of marijuana turned out to be larger than expected.
It is also an important fact that a strong increase in the use of marijuana by schoolchildren and young people, which was most feared by opponents of legalisation, was not recorded.
Does medical marijuana help?
Most often, marijuana is used to relieve chronic pain. Indeed, it has fewer side effects that can:
- Impair kidney function
- Damage the heart
- Cause gastrointestinal bleeding
Moreover, medical marijuana is safer than opiates, the use of which is associated with the risk of addiction.
In addition, marijuana is considered an excellent muscle relaxant, significantly reducing spasms in multiple sclerosis and tremors in Parkinson’s disease. It is also used to treat:
- Alzheimer’s disease
At the same time, each of the US states that have legalized marijuana has its own approved list of conditions that allow you to obtain permission to purchase and use it.
Most patients who take medical marijuana are satisfied with the results. There is also evidence that states that have legalized it have seen a decrease in opioid overdose-related deaths. There are also interesting, albeit small in terms of coverage of participants, observations that, due to their scale, cannot claim the role of serious studies. For example, veterans returning from war zones and their therapists claim that marijuana significantly improves posttraumatic stress disorder.
There are even real cases recorded by doctors. In one of the city’s nursing homes, where residents were allowed to use cannabis capsules or cannabis oil drops, doctors noticed that the drugs greatly eased the pain, improved appetite, and reduced opioid use in one of the residents.
The lack of large-scale clinical trials also keeps physicians in an information vacuum. Marijuana is not taught in nursing schools or medical and pharmaceutical schools. It is also not in the database of pharmacies that doctors use to prescribe drugs. Physicians simply have nowhere to get information about its effectiveness, potential drug interactions, and side effects.
However, special medical centers are ready to help and advise people on such specific issues as the use of medical marijuana. After all, in this case, it is not a violation of the law. At the same time, no one will condemn a person, because the purchase of such a substance is legal and controlled by official medical institutions and qualified specialists.
James Wallace did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.