The campaign started 20 years ago to make medical cannabis accessible to all patients suffering from debilitating conditions. It has rekindled interest in cannabis’ therapeutic benefits. California and Arizona passed their first medical cannabis legislation in 1996. Arizona withdrew its legislation later, paving the path for other states to follow. Although Arizona and California have been at the forefront of recreational cannabis regulation, there is no limit to the number of legal cannabis establishments that can legally grow and sell the drug. Just like any other legal high, legal cannabis has a wide variety of benefits to individuals with different illnesses, just as other illegal drugs such as LSD and MDMA have.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the therapeutic and medicinal properties of cannabis. These studies were funded by special interest groups and by government agencies. These studies have proven that cannabis has many unique medicinal properties, including pain relief, anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting effects, and the ability to fight seizures.

Although the therapeutic and medicinal effects of cannabis are vast, not every one of these discoveries has been embraced by the medical establishment and the cannabis user’s community. Many users of cannabis claim that medical marijuana does not help their diseases. They also believe that the medicinal properties of cannabis can be more harmful than its actual substance. Many people also believe that cannabis’ negative side effects are exaggerated, and that there is no evidence that it is addictive. Some of the most common negative effects cannabis users have reported include:

According to the Canadian Medical Association, there is “no evidence that the use of cannabis necessarily causes harm,” but users continue to report that the drug has helped them with nausea and depression. The Royal College of Psychiatrists in England states that there is limited evidence regarding the adverse effects of cannabis. The American Medical Association also states that marijuana has “limited psychoactive effects” and cautions against interpreting data regarding the therapeutic or recreational use. Despite these findings, further research is required to determine the medicinal as well as therapeutic uses of cannabis.

Not surprisingly, the most prevalent negative effects of cannabis come from users who smoke it. Many experts claim that smoking cannabis cigarettes cause mental disorientation, a decrease in concentration, difficulty sleeping, coughing, and nausea. Other negative effects reported by users include depression, paranoia, anxiety, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, coughing, and stomach pain. According to The Journal of the National Drug Control Policy marijuana can increase anxiety, paranoia and depression and can even cause “clowning around the home syndrome”. The Canadian Medical Association recommends against smoking cannabis, stating that its medicinal properties are “not known” and that users should consult a doctor before doing so.

Although there is no evidence to support the use of cannabis for treating schizophrenia or reducing symptoms, many doctors recommend that it be used. Some doctors have used cannabis to treat schizophrenia patients. Ritalin is an anti-psychotic medication that can cause memory loss and drowsiness. Children often use marijuana to get high. Many children are now using marijuana, despite the potential side effects. In fact, in some cases, children have been arrested for possessing small amounts of pot. Though cannabis is not considered to be an addictive drug, it can become addicting over time and can eventually lead to the use of harder drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, in addition to using marijuana.

Regardless of the fact that cannabis users may be at risk for developing psychological disorders and addiction, medicinal purposes are still growing in popularity. Two of the most popular applications of medicinal cannabis, chemotherapy and treatment of Parkinson’s disease, have shown remarkable results. Patients with cancer also report significant improvements after using cannabis for their treatment. This speaks volumes about how cannabis can effectively help treat both physical and mental health problems.

The question still remains as to whether cannabis should be legalized across the United States. It is currently illegal to possess or purchase cannabis. However, many police officers state that they will enforce the law, especially considering the medicinal benefits of medical marijuana. Additional to this, marijuana can be considered an illegal narcotic by federal authorities. Possession could result in heavy penalties or even jail time. In short, until more scientific studies are completed, medicinal marijuana cannot be fully legalized. However, laws governing the production, sale, use, and distribution of medicinal marijuana are gradually becoming more permissive in all parts of the country.