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Neil Deatherage

TEDCRED 50+

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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 20 2012: Medicinal marijuana should be an option for individuals dealing with chronic pain since many pain relieving medications, such as hydrocodone, are much more addictive than cannabis. Furthermore, there is no risk of overdose from cannabis use. However, the long term risks of habitual cannabis use aren’t well known and there needs to be much research in this area. There’s no question that cannabis has some medical uses, but long term studies are needed to determine whether cannabis is the best option for individuals dealing with chronic pain. As for its legalization,it would have to occur at the Federal level since medical marijuana dispensaries that are legally run in states such as California have been shut down by Federal agencies.
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      May 20 2012: I agree that marijuana should be legal for medicinal use, but feel that recreational use should not be allowed. Knowing people who used it recreational and seeing how it affected their lives helped form my opinion. Once they stopped using, they changed for the better. Making it that much easier to obtain would likely mean that more people would be using marijuana, and more lives could be negatively impacted. I would like to see more studies done, however to show that it would be useful for dealing with chronic pain.
      • May 20 2012: What's the difference between someone recreationally using marijuana or recreationally drinking beer though? (Or even other hobbies like playing MMORPGs.) If someone lets alcohol, marijuana or an MMO consume their whole life until that's the only thing they do, then of course their life will get better once they stop.

        A healthy life is all about moderation so my point would be that just because some people might want to let marijuana define their lives, I don't see why the majority of recreational users that are interested in a more balanced life should have to suffer. It's kind of hypocritical IMO because you could replace marijuana with many other things like alcohol, MMOs, work, exercise, Tumblr, etc., and the statement would still apply. (Max played MMOs 12 hours a day and now that he stopped playing, his entire life has improved.)

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