|Weeding Fact from Fiction on the Marijuana Issue |
Despite almost overwhelming scientific evidence that disproves the untruths about marijuana, many people believe that which is not factual. To clarify this situation, let’s discuss what is truly fact and fiction about marijuana:
Fiction: Research has failed to demonstrate that marijuana has any therapeutic value.
Fact: In 1999, a paper presented by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine reported that marijuana had demonstrated therapeutic value in relieving pain, nausea, loss of appetite and anxiety in patients with certain serious medical conditions.
Fiction: Damage caused by marijuana smoking far outweighs any potential benefits to health.
Fact: All smoking causes damage to lungs and respiratory systems, but marijuana can be administered in food, beverages or through a vaporizer. It doesn’t have to be smoked to be effective. A 2006 study by leading pulmonary specialist Donald Taskin, MD, reported that there was no evidence that even heavy marijuana smoking leads to lung cancer.
Fiction: Legalizing marijuana, even if only for medical purposes, will lead more young people to smoke marijuana.
Fact: Not one of the 10 United States that has de-criminalized marijuana report non-medical marijuana usage rise at all. In fact, recreational marijuana usage appears to decline when marijuana is legalized.
Fiction: Marijuana users “progress” to using harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin, and legalizing marijuana will inevitably lead to increased hard drug usage.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that those who use marijuana recreationally, “graduate” to harder drugs.
Fiction: Publicly acknowledging support for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is too risky for politicians who want to stay in office.
Fact: Public opinion polls clearly show increasing support for medical marijuana usage regardless of political affiliation or demographic identity. A 2005 poll conducted by Gallup reported that 78% of those polled supported “making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering.” Furthermore, a poll conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found that 72% of respondents support the use of medical marijuana.
Given these facts, it’s clearly time for federal and state legislators to move forward swiftly to legalize marijuana for medical use.