Medical Marijuana Use in the United States

By Arjun ap.

Medical cannabis is legal in a number of American states, provided that the user has obtained a license and purchases from a licensed grower.

Medical marijuana is a controversial topic, as it is federally classified as an illegal drug. At the state level, however, numerous legislatures have legalized the use of cannabis for medical reasons and licensed individual growers and dispensaries to provide small amounts of marijuana.

States with Medical Marijuana

Cannabis is a plant that has been used throughout human history, and despite its federal status as an illegal drug, many states have felt that the benefits offered by marijuana use are worth pursuing.

(Source: Narconon)

Medical marijuana, nowadays, is legal in 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Arkansas, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Connecticut , Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, New York , Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Washington, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia all have legalized medical marijuana, decriminalized it or both.

All of these states examined the available information on the medical benefits of cannabis and chose to allow individuals who were accepted for licensing to obtain and possess it. In some cases, states allow individuals with a medical marijuana license to grow their own plants, in addition to providing dispensaries.

Despite the fact that many states have legalized medical marijuana use, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not fully support cannabis as medical substance, having approved till the moment only “Epidiolex” a cannabis-derived drug product and three other synthetic cannabis-related drug products named as Syndros, Marinol, and Cesamet.

(Source: FDA)

Cannabis use prohibition is still enforced even in states with medical marijuana laws. The federal government does make an effort to comply with state laws regarding medical marijuana use.

In most states that have legalized medical use of marijuana, in order to qualify for medical marijuana benefits, a patient must obtain a recommendation from certified medical marijuana doctors or a Medical Marijuana card. The patient must be diagnosed with one of several approved treatments.


Benefits of Medical Marijuana

The documented benefits of marijuana use include a lessening of nausea and vomiting, lessened intraocular eye pressure, general pain relief and the stimulation of appetite. All of these benefits make marijuana applicable to patients with a number of conditions, which can influence their ability to get licensing for medical cannabis.

Patients with glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, cachexia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, arthritis, migraines, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some other conditions. Each state has its own requirements for patients applying for a license or medical marijuana use.

Proponents of medical cannabis support it because of its easy cultivation, physical benefits and because it is a natural remedy to medical symptoms that removes the need for chemical drugs with sometimes painful side effects. Opponents of marijuana use claim that it can be used as a gateway drug into more dangerous drugs, and that cannabis is an addictive substance; no conclusive evidence exists among the scientific community that supports those claims.

(Source: Medical Marijuana at ProCon)

Possession of Marijuana

Each state has varying amounts of marijuana that may be held by individuals who have a medical marijuana license. Rhode Island allows individuals to grow a maximum of 12 plants and possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana, while only licensed physicians and providers can grow the plant in Maine.

Many states with legalized medical marijuana have also decriminalized the possession of marijuana. In Maryland, possession of marijuana is no longer punishable with jail time and instead is subject to a small fine. Michigan, which legalized medical marijuana in 2008, allows defendants to claim medical use of the drug in a court of law whether or not they have a license.

Pending legislation on decriminalizing marijuana and allowing the use of cannabis as a medical treatment exists in a number of states, although the position of the federal government has not changed. Medical marijuana has numerous benefits for patients despite its controversial status in the legal arena.

Arjun is an independent researcher, writer, speaker and a consciousness activist. He writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze.

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