TED Conversations

Neil Deatherage


This conversation is closed.

Should Cannabis be legalized as a medicine?

The rich biodiversity of plants in nature has provided humans many medicines to prevent and cure sickness and disease. The use of cannabis as a medicine continues to gain acceptance within the scientific and medical community, with Connecticut early this month joining 16 other states to legalize it for medical use. Case studies continue to support the value of cannabis as a medicine to ameliorate various ailments ranging from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, Parkinson's, chronic pain, and nausea associated with cancer.

Despite scientific evidence supporting medicinal qualities from cannabis, much controversy surrounds outright legalization for medicinal use. While many states currently allow cannabis as an alternative to traditional medicines, the FDA continues to classify cannabis as a schedule I drug subjecting patients to possible fines and/or imprisonment under federal law.

Can cannabis find a place in today's society as an alternative medicine, or are possible unforeseen consequences too great to allow this plant for medicinal use?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 17 2012: Hmm. Two things interest me:

    - Does cannabis have any exclusive properties? That is, are its qualities unique? Noted above are its abilities to treat glaucoma, Parkinson's, AIDS, and cancer. To my knowledge there are other medicines, even natural products, that treat these also. If there is a replacement--one that does not have the history of addiction associated with it as cannabis does--that leads me away from legalization of cannabis.

    - How "pure" is medical marijuana? That is, how far distanced from utilizing the plant itself, rather than a byproduct or isolated compound, or synthetic, is our use of cannabis? (I simply do not know -- feel free to edify.) That, to me, would be the greatest boon. I tend to think that the closer we are to nature's essential product, ultimately the more beneficial it is.

    Of course, even I have to regard this last comment of mine with some skepticism, because a poison dart frog's toxin may be "pure," but that doesn't mean it's good for you.
    • May 19 2012: Purity in products is often not desired the same way it is in manufacturing, or other fields as your last part clearly states. Often the ratio of harmful is to small in the products we have cultivated for many years, but still is there. Taking apples to cyanide, or your prescription drug that is supposed to be diluted with food and or water. All naturally growing things have a balance that protects their life and often makes it so something else can digest it without too much ill effects.
      One of the primary arguments against modern pot has been humans have greatly increased the THC production of the plant. (THC is what makes one "high"). People against the legalization this brings it closer to the poison apple.
      People for the use often use the argument that this balance in which grows naturally includes good natural combinations, that are often not found in your purer pharmaceutical grade drugs. Smoking pot with chemotherapy has fewer negative reactions than any appetite enhancing drug as well as numbing the pain. If you purified it getting the right doses also becomes more difficult. Pot like many plants can also be baked into food like a grain,

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.