Medical Marijuana

One of the most egregious outcomes of marijuana prohibition is that many sick people cannot legally access the medicine that works best for them. For many seriously ill people, medical marijuana is the only medicine that relieves their pain and suffering, or treats symptoms of their medical condition, without debilitating side effects. Marijuana has been shown to alleviate symptoms of a huge variety of serious medical conditions including cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma, and is often an effective alternative to synthetic painkillers. 

Medical Marijuana Access and Research 

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws legalizing the use and production of medical marijuana for qualifying patients under state law. However, the medical use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and patients in the remaining states are without any legal access at all.  Even in states where medical marijuana laws exist, patients and providers are vulnerable to arrest and interference from federal law enforcement.  
 
Marijuana prohibition has also thwarted research within the United States to uncover the best and most effective uses for marijuana as a medicine, making efforts to reform medical marijuana laws particularly difficult.
 
DPA played a primary role in the passage of medical marijuana laws in nine states, starting with California’s Proposition 215 in 1996. We seek to implement medical marijuana programs in additional states and to expand existing programs to better protect patients’ rights and to improve patient access to their medicine.  
 
The Drug Policy Alliance is committed to increasing the number of states with medical marijuana laws, supporting and improving existing state medical marijuana programs, protecting medical marijuana patients, and ending the federal ban on medical marijuana so that all patients within the United States have safe access to quality medicine and research into marijuana’s medicinal benefits can move forward. 

Emerging Theraputic Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature Fourth Edition

Armentano, Paul
NORML

For patients and their physicians, this report can serve as a primer for those who are considering using or recommending medical cannabis. For others, this report can serve as an introduction to the broad range of emerging clinical applications for cannabis and its various compounds.

Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base

April 7, 2003

Marijuana and Medicine addresses the science base and the therapeutic effects of marijuana use for medical conditions such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. It covers marijuana's mechanism of action, acute and chronic effects on health and behavior, potential adverse effects, efficacy of different delivery systems, analysis of the data about marijuana as a gateway drug, and the prospects for developing cannabinoid drugs. The book evaluates how well marijuana meets accepted standards for medicine and considers the conclusions of other blue-ribbon panels.

Not Just a High

Nathan Seppa
Science News

"...while the medical marijuana movement has been generating political news, some researchers have been quietly moving in new directions — testing cannabis and its derivatives against a host of diseases. The scientific literature now brims with potential uses for cannabis that extend beyond its well-known abilities to fend off nausea and block pain in people with cancer and AIDS. Cannabis derivatives may combat multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and other inflammatory conditions, the new research finds. Cannabis may even kill cancerous tumors."

If Marijuana Is Legal, Will Addiction Rise?

The New York Times

Antidrug activists say that if the drug is legalized, more people will use it and addiction levels, made worse by the increased potency, will rise too. Legalization advocates note that pot addiction is not nearly as destructive as, say, abuse of alcohol. What would be the effect of legalization or decriminalization on marijuana abuse and addiction?

Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health (I-09): Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes

This report: (1) provides a brief historical perspective on the use of cannabis as medicine; (2) examines the current federal and state-based legal envelope relevant to the medical use of cannabis; (3) provides a brief overview of our current understanding of the pharmacology and physiology of the endocannabinoid system; (4) reviews clinical trials on the relative safety and efficacy of smoked cannabis and botanical-based products; and (5) places this information in perspective with respect to the current drug regulatory framework.

Marijuana Policy Project Resource Collection

Handouts, reports, briefing papers and other resources collected by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Americans for Safe Access

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers. ASA has over 30,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states.

Drug Policy Alliance Joins Opposition to Proposed De Facto Ban on Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in San Diego City

San Diego – On March 28, the San Diego City Council will vote on an ordinance that amounts to a de facto ban on medical cannabis facilities in the City of San Diego. If passed as currently written, this unduly restrictive ordinance would threaten the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable members of our community and would deny safe access for thousands of patients in the city. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) urges the City Council to oppose this ordinance.

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli at 213-291-4190

House Bill Threatening to End New Mexico's Medical Marijuana Program will Not Advance

Bill's Sponsor Pulls Legislation in Lieu of a Memorial to Study Program's Effectiveness

Santa Fe - Today, freshman Representative Jim Smith confirmed he will be pulling his legislation to end New Mexico's Medical Marijuana Program. House Bill 593 was scheduled for debate in the House of Representative's Consumer and Public Affairs Committee this Saturday. Instead, he has introduced a memorial to study the effectiveness of the program.

Emily Kaltenbach at 505-920-5256 or Tony Newman at 646-335-5384

Department of Health to Hold Hearings Monday, March 7th on Draft Regulations for New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Program

Patients, Families and Advocates Express Frustration with the Regulatory Process and Fear the Overly Restrictive Regulations Will Limit Adequate Access to Medical Marijuana

Tony Newman at 646-335-5384 or Roseanne Scotti at 609-610-8243

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