COLUMBIA (WACH) - In 1972, the U.S. Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have â??no accepted medical use.â?? Since then 20 states, plus Washington, DC, have legalized the medical use of marijuana. However, these state marijuana laws do not change the fact that using marijuana continues to be illegal federally. Nor do these state laws change the criteria for FDA approval of safety and effectiveness. State laws vary greatly in their criteria and implementation, and many states are experiencing vigorous internal debates about the safety, efficacy, and legality of their marijuana laws. Many local governments are even creating zoning and enforcement ordinances that prevent marijuana dispensaries from operating in their communities. States that legalized marijuana include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, DC. Maryland has a law that allows medical marijuana use as a legal defense in court. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana and public consumption for medical reasons is still illegal.
Proponents of medical marijuana argue that it can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, pain, epilepsy, and glaucoma. Now, new research has revealed that chemical compounds found in cannabis may help to reduce brain damage following a stroke. Researchers at the University of Nottingham conducted a meta-analysis of experimental studies into cannabinoids; chemicals related to those found in cannabis, some of which also occur naturally in the body. The findings show that the compounds could reduce the size of stroke and improve neurological function. Also, research published by the National Institute of Health has found that cannabinoid-based medicine administered through IV may provide a method of helping an indicial resuscitate from cardiac arrest. Another study performed on mice and rats at the National Cancer Institute suggests that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors.
Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary. They say marijuana is addictive and can lead to harder drug use. They also claim that marijuana use interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. Heavy marijuana use lowers menâ??s testosterone levels and sperm count and quality. Pot could also decrease libido in some heavy-smoking men. Many experts believe that marijuana is physically addictive. Symptoms of withdrawal from pot might include:
- Aggression and anxiety
- Decreased mood and decreased appetite