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Medical Marijuana: a look ahead.

The relatively recent sweep of medical and recreational marijuana approval in ballot initiatives across the U.S. represents the success of the efforts of many grass-roots organizations and individual proponents across generations, a long-awaited “paradigm shift” if you will. This shift affords the world a fresh perspective on the old taboos that kept this curative drug from receiving treatment considerations and dispels long-held notions regarding its effects on human physiology and the mind. Early studies are showing that marijuana can be key to treating patients suffering from pediatric epilepsy, cancer, painful peripheral neuropathy and many more ailments which have not yet had the benefit of proper clinical trials and studies. The hope with recent advances is that stigmas will lift and rather than seeing this from the judgmental perspective that centers on weighing the virtues and drawbacks of recreational use, we will let the huge potential of cannabis’ medicinal traits remain at the forefront of our debates.
Our inability to separate the issues of medical vs. recreational use has led to a dissipation of focus that inhibits more intentional steps in the generation of an effective and expeditious administration of the substance. It must be emphasized, however, that we are breaking new ground, marijuana has been legal before but social perception of it was dramatically different back then. Since its prohibition, it has accrued, over decades, a “forbidden” appeal that has completely reshaped the social canvas that we live in and makes it hard to analyze this treatment option objectively . The controversy that still lurks behind formal initiatives is unsurprisingly slowing down progress and creating potentially undue red tape.
This may not weigh too heavily on recreational users but if we want to usher this wonder drug successfully into the 21st century we should be responsible and consider the dire situation many patients are facing trying to receive THC or cannabidiol-oriented treatment. We have a huge gap of knowledge that inhibits professional consensuses for treatment standards in terms of concentration, administration, frequency and other critical factors that are necessary for integrating cannabis into a smart and effective health-management system. The main reason for this lag is because in the marijuana debate, recreational right sometimes takes the political limelight, and although it is understandable, it can be beneficial for recreational activists to place their support behind the medicinal front for this will blaze a quicker trail in the long -run for overall acceptance not only from our governing entities but also from opponents who still fear that “reefer madness” could sweep the country and turn us into psychotic cavemen.
So for those casual users who have been waiting on legalization for decades and dream of a nation-wide repeal on marijuana laws, relax, your desires are being voiced in ballots across the country but Rome wasn’t built in a day and this largely unstudied plant requires solid medical parameters on top of which recreational use can be mounted. The national spotlight overall is proving to be favorable for the cannabis movement, however, children, mothers and many other ailing citizens must remain top priority.

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Lester Grinspoon, MD
"I have come to doubt whether the FDA rules should apply to cannabis. There is no question about its safety. It is one of humanity's oldest medicines, used for thousands of years by millions of people with very little evidence of significant toxic effects. More is known about its adverse effects than about those of most prescription drugs."
"Cannabis will one day be seen as a wonder drug, as was penicillin in the 1940s. Like penicillin, herbal marijuana is remarkably nontoxic, has a wide range of therapeutic applications and would be quite inexpensive if it were legal"



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