Medical Marijuana and Its History: How States Have Legalized It

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Medical Marijuana history

Marijuana is one of those topics that always seem to stir the atmosphere when they are approached. Everybody seems to have an opinion and everybody seems to want to take a side – but the truth is that many people do not know exactly why they have a particular opinion.

The fact that recreational marijuana has been legalized in certain American states recently has brought to surface an old subject: should we or should we not legalize marijuana? If so, should it only be for medical use or is it safe for “recreation” as well?

These questions are very old and what makes it even more difficult to give an answer is related to the fact that even among specialists opinions are more than just divided and they take extremes.

Some say marijuana is efficient in treating a series of symptoms, while others believe that marijuana only induces a placebo effect and that its efficiency is not proven.

Furthermore, some say marijuana is very safe for use and that it doesn’t cause any kind of smoking-related medical conditions.

Marijuana and Its Legal Status in the U.S.

In between these opinions we are all left dazed and confused. The only way to form a valid opinion on this is by acquiring as much information as possible on the topic.

The history of the legal status marijuana has had in the United States is one of the most important things you should know if you want to understand everything better.

Cannabis has been out there for a very, very long time and it has been smoked in the Western world for quite some time as well.

The first mentioning of the plant does not come from the Western world though, but from China and it goes much farther back in time than many would imagine: 2727 BC!

Although not always used for its effects on the human brain, marijuana (or, better said, one of its versions, hemp) has been used for clothing, paper and animal feeding for a very long time too.

Some cultures used it for spiritual purposes too (getting in contact with their spiritual side, for example).

When Europeans arrived on the American land, they brought hemp with them as well. However, starting with the 17th century, restrictions and regulations against the sale of this drug started to take shape.

At the middle of the 19th century though, there were a lot of medical products containing marijuana in various forms and, until the beginning of the 20th century, it was not fully illegal.

In 1906, cannabis started to be looked at as a type of poison and less than 2 decades from then on many of the states made it illegal. By the middle of the 1930s, all the American states had regulated as a drug.

However, in the 1990s some states started to abolish these laws and this is when medicinal marijuana entered the market in those places.

These legal moves are considered to be debatable nowadays because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act released in 1970, which means that it is still officially considered to pose a high risk of abuse, to not have any kind of medicinal value and to be unsafe for use without medical supervision.

Ever since the 1970s even, many have tried to reclassify marijuana under that act, but up to the moment, the issue is still unclear.

With everything happening around the topic though, marijuana is now legal for medical use in 23 of the American states (+ DC) – but this has not stopped people from wondering whether marijuana should be a viable option for treating various symptoms.

Marijuana and Its Legal State Around the World

It is not just the Americans who have an issue with putting their fingers on whether marijuana should be legal or not. In fact, the situation is similar throughout most of the other countries in the world as well.

The laws around the world differ a lot from making cannabis completely illegal to making it “slightly” legal (such as allowing people to grow 1-2 plants for personal use – but not more than that). In other countries, the plant is still illegal, but has been decriminalized.

Even more than that, there are countries in the world where the use, selling, growing or possession of marijuana is not just illegal – but punishable by death.

Netherlands, for example, is one of the countries famous for the fact that it has legalized marijuana. However, it is to be kept in mind that not even there is the plant fully legal.

Cannabis is decriminalized for personal use when it comes to possession – but even so, police has the right to confiscate it.

Furthermore, the selling of cannabis is only legal in the famous coffee shops – but nowhere else. Uruguay has passed laws that make marijuana legal starting with 2015 as well.

What Does Marijuana Treat?

Marijuana is used for treating symptoms, rather than diseases. The main symptom marijuana is used for is extreme pain (such as that encountered in the case of nerve pain diseases, cancer-related pain and so on).

Furthermore, marijuana is administered in the case of the people who suffer from loss of appetite and extreme weight loss too.  Crohn’s disease, HIV-related symptoms, nausea and seizure-related diseases are also treated with the help of cannabis.

The use of marijuana for medical purposes is still highly debated. Even among the medical professionals and medical associations, there is a very clear delimitation of the opinions: some consider this plant to be beneficial, while others consider it to be useless or downright dangerous for the patients.

Studies have been made on both sides, but up to the moment people have not yet been able to reach a unanimous opinion.

Until studies with conclusive results will appear, patients are left with drawing their own conclusions by thoroughly analyzing every bit of information available.

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