TED Conversations

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 24 2012: I would like to thank each and everyone for his/her insight and participation in this TED conversation. It has been with great pleasure reading different perspectives not only from fellow University of Oregon classmates, but perspectives from those throughout the United States and in different countries across the globe. The sheer volume of comments in this discussion suggests this question is going to remain at the forefront of scientific and political debate, with more questions than answers to come as the issue of medicinal cannabis intensifies. Thank you all again very much.


    Neil Deatherage

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