Published on November 14th, 2012 | by Key Reads0
Legal Marijuana: Health Pros and Cons
The 2012 election has given us a plethora of firsts: the first two-term black president, the first openly gay Senator, more legalized gay marriages and even legal marijuana. All of these changes will have a definite and marked effect on our country, but many are concerned that the costs of these changes may out weigh the benefits. In the case of legal marijuana, especially for recreational and not just medical use, many people worry about unforeseen health complications related to increased use of the drug.
Over one-third of US States have legalized the use of medical marijuana, but until this election recreational marijuana was not legal in any state. Opponents of the bill to legalize marijuana site that the illegal status of the drug means that we have little scientific evidence to prove that the drug is safe. The American Medical Association has been petitioning the DEA for years to push back restrictions on the drug so that testing can be done, but until now the DEA has always refused. Even with the DEA’s restrictions, over 6,000 studies on marijuana have been published in the last few years.
Most of the studies published have to do with the medical uses of marijuana and how it effects the body. Cannabis has been shown to be effective in combating nausea and chronic pain, as well stimulating appetite. This can be especially important in patients fighting cancer. Marijuana is effective at fighting nausea that the FDA has even approved two synthetic cannabinoid drugs for use in patients with extreme nausea. Other studies have shown that marijuana has immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent type II diabetes.
While the boons marijuana gives to the medical world are numerous and the subject of much study, the effects of recreational marijuana are less understood. Though a few studies have been done on the effects of smoking marijuana for recreation, many of the studies had conflicting and contradictory results. While scientists have proven that marijuana has a low rate of addiction and is virtually impossible to overdose on, little else is known for sure about the long term health consequences of its use.
Now that the US has legal marijuana in two States, hopefully research into those health effects can get underway. Places where this research can now be done because of legal marijuana include:
Legal Marijuana: Recreational Use
Marijuana is only legal for recreational use in 2 states: California and Colorado
Legal Marijuana: Medical Use
Marijuana is legal for medical use in 20 states and the District of Columbia, including: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.