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Neil Deatherage

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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?

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    May 18 2012: I agree with the majority of commentors that marijuana should be legalized, especially for medical use. I think there is an unfortunate lack of research and evidence for both the benefits and risks of smoking marijuana because of its status as an illegal drug. We know that there are some medical benefits of smoking marijuana, but I think current medical knowledge is unfortunately limited and potentially undervalued because of the stigma associated with drugs. If marijuana were legalized, we would stand to gain a great wealth of information about how this drug should be used and when it poses potential risks rather than benefits. Medical and recreational users should have clear information about how and why marijuana can be useful. Additionally, legalization would help manage weed use in situations when it is perhaps not beneficial (ie smoking and driving, selling/buying in risky situations, etc). I think it is about time that the law reflects the honest benefits and relatively low risk factors associated with marijuana.
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      May 20 2012: I agree with you Lauren that medically, cannabis is an extremely beneficial. Also, that if it were to be legalized, the dangers of dealing with it illegally (such as drug dealing) would decrease. I think many people have such a strong opinion on keeping marijuana illegal is because of the social norm behind the word "illegal". Because of this, people automatically assume that marijuana is all bad and can never be used for good. But of course, as more more research supports it, it can be used for good, and that in some situations, it has been used for good. Sure, people abuse it. But it also seems that its in our human nature to abuse things and by making it illegal won't ever stop people from abusing it. However, this doesn't mean that everything should be legalized just because people will abuse it either way. There are things that are harmful to human health that should be kept illegal such as cocaine and such.
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      May 22 2012: Marijuana if made legal for medical reasons should be regulated by the DEA like opioid based drugs. This way what is dispensed legally can be regulated and maintained at a high quantity. Also it would probably be better to ingest it in other ways than smoking it due to the fact that it can cause more health problems in the future. Even if it is regulated by the DEA as a C2 drug, it will still be abused by people just like any other C2 drug out there. But this is a way for the people who do use it for its medical purposes only to make sure they have a quality product. The reason why I say not to legalize it completely is because of studies that have shown consistent use of marijuana can lead to mental health problems. Marijuana has a longer lifetime inside the body than alcohol and even some other more addicting drugs. Without studies done on the long term effects of consistent marijuana consumption, no one knows what the bioaccumulation will lead to.

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