Medical Marijuana

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Medical Marijuana Marijuana is medicine. It has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) was legal in the United States for all purposes - industrial and recreational, as well as medicinal until 1937. Today, only eight Americans are legally allowed to use marijuana as medicine. NORML is working to restore marijuana's availability as medicine. Medicinal Value Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. No one has ever died from an overdose. It is also extremely versatile. Four of its general therapeutic applications include: relief from nausea and increase of appetite; reduction of intraocular ("within the eye") pressure; reduction of muscle spasms; relief from mild to moderate chronic pain. Marijuana is often useful in the treatment of the following conditions: Cancer: Marijuana alleviates the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by chemotherapy treatment. AIDS: Marijuana alleviates the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the disease itself and by treatment with AZT and other drugs. Glaucoma: Marijuana, by reducing intraocular pressure, alleviates the pain and slows or halts the progress of the disease. Glaucoma, which damages vision by gradually increasing eye pressure over time, is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Multiple Sclerosis: Marijuana reduces the muscle pain and spasticity caused by the disease. It may also relieve tremor and unsteadiness of gait, and it helps some patients with bladder control. Multiple sclerosis is the leading cause of neurological disability among young and middle-aged adults in the United States. Epilepsy: Marijuana prevents epileptic seizures in some patients. Chronic Pain: Marijuana reduces the chronic, often debilitating pain caused by a variety of injuries and disorders. Each of these uses has been recognized as legitimate at least once by various courts, legislatures, government, or scientific agencies throughout the United States. Currently, such well respected organizations as the National Academy of Sciences (1982), the California Medical Association (1993), the Federation of American Scientists (1994), the Australian Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health (1994), the American Public Health Association ... ... middle of paper ... ...2618) to amend the federal law to allow physician's to legally prescribe marijuana as a medicine to patients. NORML testifies before Congress in 1996 on behalf of medical marijuana. The legislature of Washington state appropriates over $100,000 in 1996 to conduct clinical studies on patients to determine the effectiveness of medical marijuana in the treatment of serious illnesses. The appropriation also fund research on cultivating medical marijuana in a tamper-free environment and explores potential ways in which the state can legally distribute the drug for medical use. Due in part to the activism of NORML members, a California initiative to legalize marijuana for medical purposes (Proposition 215) gathers enough signatures to be placed on the November 1996 election ballot. In August, both the San Francisco Medical Society and the California Academy of Family Physicians -- representing a combined total of almost 10,000 physicians statewide -- endorse the proposition. The challenge for compassionate Americans is to translate this public support into effective reform. It may not be easy to break the DEA's stranglehold on medicinal marijuana, but it can be done!

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