Politicians have been debating loudly and fiercely about what status marijuana should have for decades by now. Public support for legalization has risen up to 64% in comparison to 12% back in 1969 when the first poll on the topic took place. However, the issue is still tearing the country apart with its controversy and complexity. What situation on marijuana do we have now?
Currently states have been struggling with three primary questions:
- Should marijuana be legalized?
- If yes, for what purposes?
- Medical only or both medical and recreational ones?
How to better organize marijuana consumption in order to prevent undesirable consequences like potential mass addictions and reckless behavior endangering other people and to not interfere with current local legislation in some states or cities on issues like air quality.
Nowadays using weed for medical purposes is legal in 29 states, the District of Columbia and the US territories of Puerto Rico and Guam. Eight states have legalized recreational marijuana consumption, and some have either decreased or diminished prison time for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Also, some states with no distinct legislation on the matter allow marijuana use for some serious conditions that are likely to produce severe bouts.
So what are the medical issues one can legally treat with marijuana?
- Pain. Be it headaches all the way to migraines, chronic nerve pain, cancer pain or consequences of some long-lasting issues like glaucoma, marijuana does help to alleviate it;
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea. As of today, ‘considerable clinical evidence indicates that marijuana could yield a variety of useful medicines, especially for nausea, vomiting, and appetite stimulation’;
- Muscle spasms caused by multiple schlerosis. Some evidence allows scientists to claim that cannabidiol (CBD), which is one of the two primary active ingredients in pot along with tetracannabinol (THC), may help in controlling dystonia.
- A number of mental conditions. For instance, marijuana has proven to be of use in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and chronic stress;
So, the current situation is complicated due to strong support of anti-legalize stance by certain powerful political actors (e.g., Attorney General Jeff Sessions who has been a steadfast opponent of legalization), as well as already existing pieces of legislation on local levels (states or cities) that would be conflicting with weed-legalizing laws should they appear in the near future. Moreover, it is still unclear even to legalization proponents and lawmakers how use of pot for recreational purposes can be organized better.
In the meantime, National Institute on Drug Abuse states that marijuana has not received FDA approval, and its efficiency in treating diseases and alleviating their symptoms still needs to be affirmed by large-scale studies and clinical trials that have not been conducted in a significant number yet. Thus, for now even medicinal use of weed is not a perfect way to go with, as there is no certainty that benefits of such a treatment would override risks. Here is more about the perspective law alternations around the states.