One of the most heated medical debate topics of the generation is the legitimacy of medical marijuana. Proponents of medical marijuana legalization cite the effects of the drug on a wide range of ailments, from mental health treatment to chemotherapy stress relief, and that medical marijuana has an astonishingly small side effect profile and limited long-term effects when compared to alternative treatment options. Opponents of the legalization of medical marijuana stress that legalization of marijuana in any capacity will lead to increased use, not enough studies have been performed to sufficiently claim that it is helpful as a medical treatment option and that some individuals experience extreme apathy, psychosis, and addiction because of the drug.
The topic is extremely polarizing, and it can be difficult to rummage around the claims and opinions to access the legitimate facts about medical marijuana—so we did it for you! Here are three unbiased facts on medical marijuana that we consider to be both important and underreported.
Marijuana is a Schedule 1 Drug
According to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug, which means it’s placed in the highest of five possible categories. As a Schedule 1 drug, cannabis is viewed to be highly addictive and have no accepted medical application. This puts marijuana in the same category as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. It’s important to note, however, that an incredibly large number of studies on marijuana and its medical applications have been completed since 1970; while some studies have revealed potential medical applications of marijuana and its classification has been debated, marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug.
Medical Marijuana is being Used in the United Kingdom
Sativex is a cannabis-based drug designed for neuropathic pain in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. It is approved in 24-countries but is still under review in the US. It is directly derived from the marijuana plant but is standardized as to ensure that every bottle of Sativex contains the same amount of active ingredients (standardization is a large issue for many doctors who do not support medical marijuana).
In addition, Sativex and similar drugs have been found to help with the post-surgical pain of procedures such as hip and knee replacements, as well as lower back procedures.
Eight of Ten States Saw a Decrease in Marijuana Usage after Legalization
By 2006, ten states nationwide legalized marijuana for medical use. In eight of those states, teen use of marijuana decreased. Four of those eight states reported statistically significant teen marijuana use in the years following legalization.
Analyzing and understanding these facts on medical marijuana and the potential implications of legalization can help you to design your own opinion and stance on the legalization of medical marijuana. For more information on medical marijuana availability and enforcement in Colorado, contact the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division or explore https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/medicalmarijuana.