It’s difficult to think of a herb that has caused more controversy than marijuana. And even now, the medical community is split into two camps about its use. However, since 1972, when the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have “no accepted medical use,” 15 out of 50 US states have legalised its use for medical reasons.
There are now dozens of peer-reviewed studies which show that marijuana is a safe herb for a whole range of conditions, from the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis to glaucoma, epilepsy, and just more generally for pain relief.
However, opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary. In other words, the pharmaceutical industry see it as a threat, just as they do any other kind of herbal medicine, because they won’t be able to control it or patent it.
The argument that marijuana is addictive, and leads to harder drug use is silly at best, and scare mongering at worst. That the buyer of this herb has to source it from someone who also might sell cocaine is the fault of the legislation. By banning a useful herb, it has been driven underground. And while its use almost certainly would impair driving ability, so does alcohol and no-one is considering banning that.
Anyway, it’s heartening to see that in America, at least, many people are coming to their senses about this useful herb. A story run by Reuters today is even suggesting that investing in marijuana might be a sensible move.
More patients that try it, switch
A report out this week on the U.S. medical marijuana market estimates growers of this herb already generate US $1.7 billion in economic activity a year. But that market could grow fivefold in short order, researchers say, as the list of states that legalise pot for treating a variety of illnesses grows and as more patients try it — and switch.
The study, conducted by See Change Strategy for the American Cannabis Research Institute and Deal Flow Media, a financial research firm specialising in unusual assets, says that of the nearly 25 million Americans who are potentially eligible to use medical marijuana based on their diagnoses, fewer than 800,000 currently do.
However, in the UK, the cannabis lobby is making slower progress. The use of this herb still remains illegal (except for prescribed cannabinoids). It is a Class B drug. As a result, the penalties for getting caught with cannabis, especially on repeated occasions, can be severe.
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