Something that is still discussed widely today is the legalization and usage of marijuana for medicinal purposes. There are currently twenty-nine states where medical marijuana is legalized, nine of which also have marijuana legalized for recreational purposes. Despite this, however, there still seems to be a degree of discrepancy as to where marijuana stands in regards to how helpful, or potentially harmful, it could be to people.
While some physicians recognize the benefits of marijuana in the treatment and management of conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, and arthritis (to name but a few), others argue that the downsides of the drug outweigh any potential benefits, and point to the classic “stoner” symptoms, such as decreased productivity, loss of short-term memory, and an increased sense of paranoia.
One interesting thing about this debate, however, is that it’s not new. In fact, in 1850 marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia as a treatment for various ailments, and was used as such. By 1911, though, states began to ban the use of marijuana and outlaw cannabis, and by 1942, almost 100 years after its addition, marijuana was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopeia completely. Jump forward another 50 years, attitudes change direction again, and California becomes the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and is one of the nine states today that has legalized marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes.
When looking at the turbulent history of the classification of marijuana in the U.S. alone – seemingly comprised of a constant back-and-forth between “do-we/don’t-we” arguments in regard to its usage in the medical field – it is not surprising that this debate is still at the forefront of current affairs in multiple countries around the world.
For example, if one were to tune into the news in the UK at the moment, the story of the six-year-old boy whose parents are campaigning to be issued a license for cannabis oil would be hard to miss. This particular story is about a young boy with a rare form of epilepsy, who was found to have drastically improved seizure control when he was prescribed a marijuana-based treatment while in the Netherlands. Once again, however, this story is not new. People campaigning for the use of medical marijuana, after experiencing the benefits and positive side effects of products containing extracts of cannabis (such as CBD oil), seems to be something that has gone on as long as the debate itself.
When this debate reaches governmental levels, parties involved obviously want to fully explore the pros and cons of what it would mean to introduce legalized marijuana into their nation’s social system. What is so very interesting about this subject is that it seems to produce very different opinions, and therefore, outcomes, even under the scope of one combined nation – such as the United States.
Why is it that states such as California have legalized marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes, and have fantastical billboards advertising services that literally deliver marijuana to your front door? Why is it that states such as Hawaii have legalized medical marijuana, but not marijuana for recreational purposes? Why is it that the other 21 states have either had bills that failed, or opted not to look into legalizing marijuana at all?
Where does marijuana stand on the scale from helpful to harmful? At which point does it tip from one end to the other? Do the potential benefits really outweigh the potential risks?
What do you think?