Medical marijuana has been used for centuries to combat pain, weakness, anxiety, insomnia, female problems and nausea. Today it is commonly used by cancer and AIDS patients to stimulate hunger, combat nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy or other drug therapy and reduce pain. It has also been shown to be effective in reducing eye pressure, especially in the cases with glaucoma. Medical marijuana, or cannabis, is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant and there is some evidence of cannabis being used medicinally for over four thousand years. Many believe that medical marijuana is a healthy and natural alternative to dangerous and toxic pharmaceuticals that often have side effects worse than the original condition. The United Sates declared marijuana a narcotic and declared it illegal with the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
Those opposed to the use of medical marijuana contend that there have not been enough studies, it is too dangerous and it is ineffective enough to call for its legalization. They believe that marijuana is addictive, is a gateway drug, can lead to infertility and can injure the brain, lungs and other organs. However, advocates of medical marijuana point out numerous government studies, peer-reviewed clinical trials and the long, proven history of cannabis used medicinally throughout the world as counter-points to the opposition. Advocates also point out the various harmful side effects of prescription drug medication, and hold that if those are approved by the FDA for patient use, than marijuana should be as well.
Despite the 1976 ruling by the federal government that marijuana has “no acceptable medical use”, sixteen states have passed medical marijuana laws that allow for patient use of cannabis. Each state has different requirements and guidelines specific to their state, and each city may have ordinances of their own as well. If you live in a state that has passed medical marijuana laws, it is best to find out if your individual follows the state-mandated guidelines for acceptable use and the amount each patient is allowed to have legally.
In California, SB 420 (HS 11362.7) passed in September of 2003 and went into effect in January of 2004. SB 420, Medical Marijuana Implementation, allowed each city and county to adopt specific rules and regulations for the use of medicinal cannabis, as long as they did not violate the state’s set standards. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was...