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Is marijuana dangerous or medicinal?

Marijuana contains over 300 compounds, 66 of which are cannabinoids, and are the basis for medical and scientific use of Cannabis. Cannabidiol accounts for approximately 40% of compounds extracted from cannabis, and is a major constituent of medical marijuana. Cannabidiol relieves convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, nausea, and inhibits cancer cell growth according to, “Cannabidiol – Recent Advances,” published by John Wiley and Sons in “Chemistry and Biodiversity.”

On Nov. 10, 2009, the American Medical Association voted to reverse its long-held position, that marijuana be retained as a Schedule I substance with no medical value. The AMA adopted a report entitled, “Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes,” which affirmed the therapeutic benefits of marijuana, and called for further research. In short the report concluded, “short-term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.” Moreover the report urged that, “the Schedule I status of marijuana be reviewed with the goal of facilitating clinical research and development of cannabis based medicines, and alternative delivery methods.”

In 1985, the Food and Drug Administration approved Marinol and Cesamet, both of which are synthetic versions of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in marijuana. These medicines are on the market in the US, and other countries around the world today.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has sponsored and supported research with marijuana since their inception. MAPS is currently attempting to resolve the controversy over medical marijuana through research, in cooperation with the FDA. MAPS aims to prove that cannabis is safe and efficacious for medical uses, pursuant to the same regulations Marinol, and Cesamet both underwent prior to acceptance by the FDA. Although recently hindered by US governmental agencies, MAPS continues efforts to conduct clinical research using medical marijuana and says, “we will ultimately achieve our goal.”

Full Spectrum Laboratories in Denver, CO is the nation’s first independent botanical testing laboratory, and provides certification, innovative quantification, and product safety testing to the emerging medical marijuana industry. Providing world-class analytical services to patients, growers, and dispensers of medical marijuana, Full Spectrum Laboratories has more than 14 years of experience in the fields of research and development, contract manufacturing, and analytical testing.

Researchers have found that “consumption of low doses of caffeine, slowed hippocampus-dependent learning, and impairs long-term memory in mice.” Caffeine can cause nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching (hyperreflexia), insomnia, headaches, respiratory alkalosis, heart palpitations, peptic ulcers, erosive esophagitis and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. There are more than 180 medical marijuana dispensaries/co-ops in Los Angeles alone and less than 95 Starbucks cafés within the same city limits. Medical marijuana has been used successfully to treat symptoms resulting from psychoactive stimulants such as caffeine, to which its effects on the human body go widely accepted, and rarely discussed.

Documented clinical applications for marijuana include nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, insomnia, lack of appetite, spasticity, neurogenic pain, movement disorders, asthma, glaucoma, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, migraines, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorders, alcohol abuse, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, collagen-induced arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, bipolar disorder, colorectal cancer, depression, diabetic retinopathy, dystonia, epilepsy, digestive diseases, gliomas, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, hypertension, urinary incontinence, leukemia, skin tumors, morning sickness, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureas (MRSA), Parkinson’s disease, pruritus, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sickle-cell disease, sleep apnea and anorexia nervosa.

The United States Department of Health & Human Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration conducts a national survey on Drug Use and Health. This survey states that roughly 10% of the population above the age of 12 has used marijuana in the past year, while 6% has used marijuana in any given month. By comparison, 52% of Americans above the age of 12 have had an alcoholic beverage, and 28% have used tobacco in any given month.

Unlike the steady levels of consumption of marijuana in the US, the levels of supply, seizures, and eradication continue to grow. According to the Drug Enforcement Agencies National Drug Intelligence Center over 7 million plants were eradicated in 2007, up 120% from 2004. The DEA seized 660,969kg (1.5 million pounds) of marijuana in 2008, up 149% from 2005.

California’s Proposition 215, also known as the “Compassionate Use Act,” was passed in 1996 with an overwhelming 5,382,915 votes in favor of proposed legislation allowing for the dispense of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Medical Marijuana has been approved for dispense in 14 states in the United States of America to date. Oakland voters recently passed legislation enacting a tax structure on medical marijuana. According to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, 80% of voters favored this legislation.

5,382,915 people said Cannabis is compassion in one state alone. Marijuana is not dangerous, it is medicinal! The danger or “risk factor,” if you will, stems from illegal and inappropriate use. Until the United States unilaterally adopts legislation governing marijuana, as opposed to state’s individual governance of these matters, people must be wary of the laws of the land. The only true risk associated with marijuana in present day is being compliant in all 50 states and abiding by the vastly different state laws.

“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” President George Washington, 1794