The Truth About Medical Marijuana

6. Most Common Uses
If Oregon’s data are representative of other states where medical marijuana is legal, the vast majority of users are taking it for severe pain, followed by persistent muscle spasms (such as those caused by multiple sclerosis).

Some States Are Calling for Reform

In late November 2011, the governors of Washington State and Rhode Island petitioned the federal government to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses, saying the change was needed so states like theirs, which have decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes, can regulate the safe distribution of the drug without risking federal prosecution.

The move by the governors - Christine Gregoire of Washington, a Democrat, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, an independent who used to be a Republican - injected new political muscle into the long-running debate on the status of marijuana. Their states are among the 16 that allow medical marijuana, but which have seen efforts to grow and distribute the drug targeted by federal prosecutors.

In April, Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that would have repealed the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law. Even so, Mr. Schweitzer made it clear that he would like to see reform of the law.

New Mexico’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez, also expressed interest in repeal in 2011, and lawmakers in New Jersey have jousted with the governor over regulation.

7. A Pot Pill Exists
There is a pill called Marinol, available by prescription throughout the U.S., which contains a synthetic form of THC (the psychoactive substance in marijuana). It may be prescribed to relieve nausea and vomiting associated with cancer or appetite loss associated with AIDS.

Hoffman E, MD

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