Marijuana (cannabis) is a mixture of leaves, stems, and flowering tops of the Indian hemp plant Cannabis sativa.  Marijuana is thought by many to be harmful, but it has been proven in fact to be helpful for some people with certain illnesses. 
When I first started looking into medical marijuana as my research subject, I was curious to see what people my age actually thought about marijuana. I asked twenty of my peers, ranging in age from seventeen to twenty-two, "What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say 'marijuana'?" The responses shocked me: six of them said "getting high," four of them said "damaging drug," and ten of them, fifty percent, said "medical uses." The response that overwhelmed me the most was "medical uses" because at my age I have not thought much about marijuana being used for medical purposes, but instead for pleasure purposes.
According to Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base: "Marijuana plants have been used since antiquity for both herbal medication and intoxication."  If marijuana has been used since 3000 BC  for medical uses, then why is it illegal today for most people to use it for these purposes? An article in CONSUMER REPORTS writes, "For the past decade the Government has refused to provide either money or marijuana to researchers studying the drug's potential therapeutic effects, so this research has been nearly at a standstill," quotes one writer for CONSUMER REPORTS. 6"Science should know more about this substance by now, considering how long it has been in use," agrees Harrison Pope also from CONSUMER REPORTS. 
Richard Brookhiser wrote in Marijuana Magazine, "A Government-commissioned ...
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Stanley J. Watson, Jr., John A. Benson, Jr., Editors. Institute of Medicine. 1999.
 "Marijuana as Medicine: How Strong is the Science?" CONSUMER
REPORTS. May. 1997.
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Hearing in New Orleans." Thomas, Chuck and Buring, Julie. 22 Jan.
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