Medical cannabis refers to the parts of the herb cannabis used as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy, or to synthetic forms of specific cannabinoids such as THC as a physician-recommended form of medicine. The Cannabis plant has a long history of use as medicine, with historical evidence dating back to 2737 BCE.
Some US state governments have legislated to allow the medical prescription of cannabis, but the US federal government has tried to prevent patients from obtaining cannabis and threatened physicians who prescribe it with criminal prosecution or loss of their licence to practise. In the UK and Australia, committees of inquiry have recommended medical prescription (UK) and exemption from criminal prosecution (New South Wales, Australia), but governments have not accepted these recommendations. The Canadian government allows and exemption from criminal prosecution to patients with specified medical conditions.Some advocates argue that legalizing cannabis is the only way to ensure that patients can use it for medical purposes. However, this would be contrary to international drug control treaties and is electorally unpopular. The best prospects for the medical use of cannabinoids lie in finding ways to deliver THC that do not involve smoking and in developing synthetic cannabinoids that produce therapeutic effects with a minimum of psychoactive effects. While awaiting these developments, patients with specified medical conditions could be given exemptions from criminal prosecution to grow cannabis for their own use, at their own risk.
An interview with filmmaker Rick Ray is presented. He states that Charlie Lynch, operator of a medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay, California, didn't deserve to go to jail as he had permission to open the dispensary. He mentions that state of medical marijuana is still in a dangerous position due to difference in state and federal permission. He highlights that Lynch was a completely different person than what he had expected.
Soon after health officials announced they would dole out Arizona's first licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, Ryan Hurley, co-chairman of the medical marijuana practice at the Rose Law Group here, noticed a common trait among some of the people most eager to enlist his services: They were already in the business in other states. There was a family who owns dispensaries in Washington State. There was an investor from Los Angeles who has a stake in several California dispensaries. There was a disabled Navy veteran who makes a living running a medical marijuana delivery service in San Diego.
Obama defends himself by arguing that the medical-marijuana industry has changed in ways that Washington just can't ignore. Federal prosecutors, he points out, still will not target genuinely sick patients or their immediate caregivers. "The only tension that's come up--and this gets hyped up a lot," Obama said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, "is a murky area where you have large-scale commercial operations that may supply medical-marijuana users but in some cases may also be supplying recreational users." Prosecutors cite the explosive growth and enormous size of the new medical-marijuana industry, the tens of millions of dollars in cash changing hands, a poor track record of local regulation and anecdotal evidence that recreational interstate trade in the drug is booming.
In recent months, federal officials have shuttered dozens of storefront dispensaries nationwide. Whole cannabis crops in California's Central Valley have been tilled under, and the feds have warned local and state officials not to implement laws or regulations that allow the medical use of a drug still outlawed, without exceptions, under federal law. "None are immune from action by the federal government," warns Northern California's U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. It's all happening under the Administration of Barack Obama, who pledged as a candidate in 2008 to ease federal pressure on medical marijuana in states that had legalized the practice. "What I'm not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," he said back then. Obama even promised to end Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical-marijuana suppliers. "The double messaging is what has driven people crazy," says promarijuana California assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
The "Compassionate Use Act of 1996' passed in every one of the state's fifty-eight counties, amending state law to permit patients to cultivate and possess medical marijuana with a physician's recommendation. wo days after the passage of the new law, on November 7, 1996, the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM)N was incorporated as a nonprofit organization dedicated to medical marijuana research and education and to providing organically grown cannabis to patients struggling with a variety of chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
Routine activities theory purports that crime occurs in places with a suitable target, motivated offender, and lack of guardianship. Medical marijuana dispensaries may be places that satisfy these conditions, but this has not yet been studied. The current study examined whether the density of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with crime. Method: An ecological, cross-sectional design was used to explore the spatial relationship between density of medical marijuana dispensaries and two types of crime rates (violent crime and property crime) in 95 census tracts in Sacramento, CA, during 2009.
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to ban hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries that have cropped up across the city. The council in the nation's second-largest city acted after some residents said the pot shops have been a blight on neighborhoods. The city estimates more than 900 collectives are open. The new "gentle ban" eliminates storefronts but allows patients to grow medical marijuana. At least 178 California cities and 20 counties have banned pot shops, the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access says. Daniel Sosa, a medical marijuana advocate, said it's fruitless to OK a ban that won't have any merit and will likely lead to more lawsuits.
There have been several clinical trials that have found statistically significant pain relief in patients utilizing medical marijuana vs. placebo. One such randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 2007 with 125 patients indicated that participants utilizing marijuana for medical purposes reported statistically significant reductions in pain scores, as well as improvements in secondary outcome measures of sleep and neuropathic pain symptoms. A similar study conducted in 2008 on 38 patients and published in the Journal of Pain reported that smoking marijuana led to a significant analgesic response while exhibiting minimal psychoactive side effects.
Medical marijuana patients are key producers of knowledge about the therappeuic effects of cannasbis; they are also responsible for much of the education of the public and the medical profession on this issue. During a 2004 congressional hearing on medical marijuana, the head of enforcement for the Medical Board of California, Joan Jerzak, observed that the flow of information on medical marijuana is largely from patient to physician: "As you know, the traditional medical model flows from the presentation of ideas that lead to new emerging medicines...and physicians are traditionally introduced to these new methods through education setting and through ongoing review of medical journals. In contrast, alternative medical modalities, such as medical marijuana, are typically consumer-driven, whereby the consumer find out about particular modality or treatment and may ask their practitioners about it."
The issue of medical marijuana use has been on the forefront of public debate. There are indications that marijuana is sometimes used to alleviate pain from cancer, to reduce nausea from chemotherapy, to mitigate the wasting syndrome of AIDS, and for the treatment of glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and a variety of other disorders. A few studies have suggested that the medical use of marijuana is common among people with HIV/AIDS and those with certain psychiatric conditions.