Medical Marijuana is already providing relief and therapeutic value to residents in 25 states and the District of Columbia where laws are currently in effect, working well, and protecting both patients and doctors from arrest. A clear majority of the public and many prominent religious and medical organizations support the right of seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana without risking arrest and imprisonment.
Marijuana’s Medical Value
- Studies show that many patients suffering with HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer and chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other debilitating illnesses find that marijuana provides relief from their symptoms.
- “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting and can be mitigated by marijuana.”— Institute of Medicine, Marijuana and Medicine: “Assessing the Science Base,” 1999
- Evidence not only supports the use of medical marijuana in certain conditions but also suggests numerous indications for cannabinoids.”— American College of Physicians, “Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana,” 2008
- Available prescription drugs often come with far more serious side effects than marijuana, and many patients who find relief from marijuana simply do not respond to prescription medications. Smoking or vaporizing marijuana are much more effective delivery methods than pills for many patients: The drug works instantly, the dosage may be controlled by the patient, and there is no problem “keeping it down” since it cannot be vomited back up.
- Cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamine may all be legally administered to patients — so why not marijuana, which has a far lower rate of dependency and for which there has never been a recorded overdose.
23 states and Washington, D.C. currently provide legal access and protection under state law for seriously ill patients whose doctors recommend the medical use of marijuana. Generally, these laws are working well and providing patients with relief and protection from arrest. Since 1996, when the first effective medical marijuana law passed, data have shown that concerns about these laws increasing youth marijuana use are unfounded: Of the 15 states with available before-and-after data, none have reported statistically significant increases in teen marijuana use. In fact, 11 have reported decreases.
Support from the Medical Community
American College of Physicians • Institute of Medicine • American Public Health Association • American Nurses Association • American Academy of HIV Medicine • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society • Lymphoma Foundation of America • American Medical Student Association • The state medical societies of New York, Rhode Island, and California
The American Medical Association believes that “effective patient care requires the free and unfettered exchange of information on treatment alternatives and that discussion of these alternatives between physicians and patients should not subject either party to criminal sanctions.”
According to a 2003 WebMD Medscape poll, 76% of physicians and 86% of nurses favor “marijuana for medicinal purposes.”
Support from the Religious Community
United Methodist Church • Presbyterian Church • United Church of Christ • Episcopal Church • Unitarian Universalist Association • Union of Reform Judaism • Progressive National Baptist Convention