A Brief Overview of the Medical Benefits of Marijuana

Posted on January 27, 2014 by Jeffrey Feiler

United for Care's proposed amendment to legalize medical marijuana in Florida lists several debilitating conditions for which a doctor can prescribe cannabis. If the amendment passes in November of 2014, physicians in Florida will be able to prescribe medical cannabis to patients with cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and any other condition for which the physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risk for a patient.

The medical use of cannabis has been documented for at least 3,000 years. William O'Shaughnessy introduced the therapeutic use of cannabis to Western medicine in the 1830's when he conducted experiments, administering the drug to patients to treat muscle spasms, stomach cramps and general pain. Before medical marijuana became a federally controlled substance, it was listed in the United States Pharmacopea from 1850 to 1942. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, along with LSD, peyote, GHB and quaaludes.

Despite the federal government's classification, which states that cannabis has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the United States, 20 states, including the District of Colombia have legalized medical marijuana in one form or another. The Schedule I classification of cannabis in the United States makes it difficult to study, however, the research that has been done suggests that cannabis may be helpful for all the conditions listed in the proposed Florida amendment.

Medical cannabis has been found to be effective in treating nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. It has also been found to be effective in treating chronic pain, especially pain caused by neuropathy and arthritis, and that the benefits far outweigh the risks. In many cases, the use of medical cannabis to treat pain is far safer than the use of opioids.

In addition to nausea and chronic pain, medical marijuana has been useful in treating multiple sclerosis. The active compounds in cannabis gives patients relief of spasticity, and is a reasonable option if other treatments have not been effective. A 2012 review found no problems with tolerance, abuse or addiction. There is currently clinical research being conducted to test cannabis' anticancer and antitumor effects. Clinical trials also show that cannabis can help lower intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.

If Florida legalizes medical cannabis in November of 2014, physicians will not be held liable by the state for recommending and prescribing medical cannabis to patients with debilitating conditions. Furthermore, patients will have the option to choose cannabis over other medications, like oxycontin that have more dangerous side effects. If you believe patients with debilitating conditions should be allowed to have medical marijuana as a treatment option, please sign and mail United for Care's petition to place an amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the November 2014 ballot.

Jeffrey Feiler is a well-known Miami Criminal Lawyer who has been successfully defending the rights of clients for over 30 years with a reputation for getting impressive results.

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