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On the Question of Medical Marijuana

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

On the Question of Medical MarijuanaThere are an increasing number of states approving the legal raising, distribution and use of marijuana for medical purposes. Among those states are California and Colorado. There is also an increasing number of newspaper articles and television reports about the multiple problems presented by the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Not the least of these is the fact that growing and using cannabis remains illegal according to federal law. Consequently, a struggle is going on between growers and distributors in those states where marijuana is legal vs. the DEA or Drug Enforcement Agency, an arm of the federal government.

There is no question about the usefulness of marijuana in the treatment of certain illnesses. For example, is known that marijuana can relieve glaucoma, reduce the feelings of nausea associated with chemotherapy for cancer, and relieve pain.there is evidence that the symptoms of many other diseases can be traded with marijuana.

Nevertheless, there are serious problems connected with medical marijuana. For one, marijuana is made up of some 500 compounds. it is a matter of medical debate as to which of these compounds have medical benefits versus which of them could be harmful. In addition, there is a question as to the best way to administer medical marijuana. It is generally agreed among medical experts that smoking is not the best way to ingest the necessary compounds in order to relieve symptoms.

There is a much larger problem associated with the whole issue of medical marijuana. In my opinion, is that issue is rising to the surface in places like California and Colorado. The fact is that much of the marijuana industry remains in the hands of criminal elements. There are increasing numbers of reports of violent crimes being committed by people who are raiding the homes and backyards of legitimate growers who are approved to raise and sell this crop. Also, some of the raisers legally sell weed to legal distributors on the one hand, and, to criminals on the other, in order to maximize profits.Cable Network News ran an investigative story on this very issue in California.

Another problem connected with this complicated issue, is the question of whether or not. Prescriptions are being made available to those people who have no legitimate need for the substance. This is perhaps the greatest dilemma presented by the passage of laws permitting for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. If these laws are nothing but a loophole permitting people to use the substance for recreational purposes, then the law was are without value. We already are struggling with the problem of prescription drugs, especially pain killers, being abused by young people.

The opinion I am about to advance a strictly my own. I understand that many people may strongly disagree. I welcome every body to join this debate.

In my opinion, it is time to decriminalize and regulate the marijuana industry. The fact is, that marijuana is already being widely distributed, all across the nation and for recreational purposes. Decent people, working people, professionals, and many others are using cannabis but feeling like they are breaking the law, which in fact, they are.

Of course, there is great concern among many people that marijuana will be used by children and adolescents. This is a very real concern, because research clearly demonstrates that cannabis has a negative impact on the growing developing brain and brain cells of children and teenagers. It seems to me, that it could be easier to prevent this substance from falling into young hands. By regulating it. What better way to regulate it than to legalize.

Because marijuana has been illegal for so long is firmly in the hands of a criminal element that distributes other and more dangerous illicit drugs. In fact, this is why he, marijuana has been deemed a gateway drug. In other words, it is not marijuana in its self that is gateway, but the fact that criminals have a vested interest in encouraging users to try other substances. Legalization of marijuana could put a stop to this by placing the plant firmly into legal hands.

Research also shows that marijuana can either cause depression or deep in depression in those who are vulnerable or who are already depressed. There is also evidence that the chronic use of marijuana can hasten the advent of schizophrenia in those who are already vulnerable. While this is very true, it is also true that another legal substance presents a very real dangers. And that substance is alcohol. During Prohibition and the government attempted to end alcohol abuse by making it illegal. All of us know how unsuccessful, that attempt was. If we already free-market economy, and we believe in supply and demand there can be no question that there is a huge demand for recreational marijuana.

It seems to me that it makes sense to legalize marijuana, stop making users feel as though they are criminals and continue to study and use the necessary cannabis compounds to treat illnesses. In that way and important loophole is closed in that people do not have to behave like hypocrites.

Your comments and questions are strongly encouraged on this important issue.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD.