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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 22 2012: I think what will be interesting to watch over the next decade is how employment, insurance and our government handles cannabis becoming increasingly accepted as a medicine. Most jobs that require drug screening cannot accept cannabis as a medicine, often denying employment. Health insurance companies cover prescription drugs in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year, but have yet to extend coverage with less expensive cannabis alternatives. And when these issues cannot be solved in State Supreme Courts but must be decided in Federal Court? These will be very interesting times for cannabis in the United States..

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