The medicinal cannabis has led to many debates regarding its usage, legality, health risks and benefits. Currently, the drug has been made legal for medical therapies, although its usage without medical prescription is still regarded illegal. The stakeholders that support the medicinal cannabis include the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA). Some of the American legislatures are also in support of this drug, alongside citizens who had massively voted for the legalization of the drug. This has led to legalization of medicinal cannabis in states like California, Puerto Rico among many others in the US. The FDA is still conducting research on the drug and insists on regulating the drug use. Statistics show that health care providers show limited support for using the drug in therapies.
The increasing use of the medicinal cannabis has helped in suppressing symptoms like chemo effects in treating cancer, and also in treating some of the diseases. However, the indications of the drug use are not yet clear. Studies shows that the medical use of the cannabis is very effective compared to other drugs in the same category. The drug is increasingly being used for managing neurological disorders lie epilepsy, and the American Academy of Neurology has showed that oral cannabis is very effective in reducing spasticity scores in patients, central nervous system pains, and it also eases the pain in spasms.
Despite the legalization of the medicinal cannabis, the US department of Justice still finds this legalization as unnecessary and not a federal priority. This can lead to problems for physicians as they would not be able to effectively prescribe the drug for the patients. Canada has legalized the use of dried cannabis for medicinal use. This can lead to abuse of the drug in future. People can use the policies to abuse the drug.
Bridgeman Barna Mary & Abazia T. Daniel. Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, and Implications for the Acute Care Setting. March, 2017
The topic of cannabis use has long since been a controversial matter. For decades many have been under the impression that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive cannabinoid primarily present in the flower of the plant, threatens both the physiological and psychological health of cannabis users. However, due to misinformation that has been publicly released the medicinal properties of the plant have been overlooked until quite recently. According to Bridgeman and Abazia (2017), the medicinal utilization of the cannabis plant in ancient Romania can be traced as far back to over 5,000 years in the past, to approximately 400AD (p. 180). During the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States cannabis was a significant patent used to treat a variety of medical issues and pain, however, in 1942, the federal government made the decision to make its usage illegal therefore enforcing legal penalties regarding possession by the middle of the century (Bridgeman & Abazia, 2017, p. 180). Since its prohibition, people that have continued to use cannabis have been labeled as criminals, which is unfortunate considering many have been imprisoned.
With the increasing number of research studies that claim to verify the medicinal benefits of cannabis many patients that have been unsuccessful in treating physical and mental diseases and disorders with pharmaceuticals have become motivated to smoke, vape, and/or ingest cannabis or extracts of the plant; as Bridgeman and Abazia point out, “this represents the revival of a plant with historical significance reemerging in present day health care” (2017, p. 187). Although the legalization of medicinal cannabis has improved the health and well-being of many patients and will continue to do so in the future, it is important to ensure that its administration is safe and that clinicians also consider any possible adverse effects.
Stakeholders that support medicinal cannabis are those affiliated with cannabis farms, dispensaries, and organizations that produce information and products regarding its use. Stakeholders that oppose the plant are those affiliated with the manufacturing of conventional pharmaceuticals as well as those that politically and financially benefit from prohibition, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); Miron (2005) reports that on an annual basis, “government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition” costs approximately $7.7 billion (p. 1).
Bridgeman, M.B. & Abazia, D.T. (2017). Medicinal cannabis: History, pharmacology, and implications for the acute care setting. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 42(3). 180-188.
Miron, J.A. (2005). The budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition (pp. 1-28). Harvard University.