The Truth Behind Medical Marijuana

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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The truth behind medical marijuana is actually not surprising at all. Although medical marijuana has not always been a hot topic due to government laws, it is something medical researchers should be able to look into. Referencing “”Historical Timeline – Medical Marijuana”” (2017) it states that in 2700 BC, Chinese Emperor Shen Nung ordered his doctors to look into the healing properties of marijuana. It has been a type of medicine way before our time. In still referencing “”Historical Timeline – MedicalMarijuana”” (2017) 1911 was the year that America decided to outlaw cannabis.

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Massachusetts was the first state and the rest followed after. The reasoning for outlawing cannabis was to discourage future use, not because it was an abused drug.

The existence of cannabis, or marijuana, dates back to the ancient times. Introducing cannabis to the world meant trying to deconstruct the drug and figure out it components. Cannabis is a plant based medicine that can be deconstructed into other forms targeting the illness the patient is experiencing. Dating all the way back in 2700 B.C. with the Chinese trying to figure out the healing properties of the forbidden plant. It was also seen in 400 A.D. as evidence showed traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in ashes. Fast forward to the 1800s it was not seen as an abusive drug, but rather a drug to help those who were sick. In 1840, marijuana was added to United States Pharmacopeia. According to the United States Pharmacopeial Convention,. (1851), marijuana was used to treat an assortment of sicknesses. In 1906, was the turning point of cannabis use. The Pure Food and Drug Act, also known as the Wiley Act, required labelling of all medicines, which included cannabis. This meant that cannabis had to have a label, but that required in depth research that did not occur yet, so cannabis than became an outlawed drug. Massachusetts then became the first state to outlaw the drug in 1911. Then after many of the states decided to follow and outlaw the use of cannabis as a medicine. The use of cannabis was outlawed not for the harmful effects because there was no evidence that there was a hazard, but the fact that it was not labelled and could be a possible threat in the future.

Marijuana by the federal government is still a CI controlled substance due to the fact that is unregulated. This means that anyone in a state without legal authorization, will be charged with a felony of possession. Although medical marijuana is legalized in forty-six states, it is still an illegal substance under federal law. In federal government law, any use of cannabis is prohibited. There is no fine line about what is accepted or not, cannabis is an illegal substance. These laws mostly go against people that posses, grow, or distribute extreme amounts of cannabis. Cannabis is a Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. According to an article by Americans For Safe Access, “”The federal government views cannabis as highly addictive and having no medical value.”” With the federal government continuing this mindset, cannabis is not safe to possess, even if there is authorization to possess. The use of medical marijuana as a recreational drug has distorted the view of the factual health care benefits for chronic pain and cancer pain by introducing the main problem of ability to comply by the federal government by federal laws and state laws.

Federal Law

Under federal law, if a person possesses a thousand kilograms or more or a thousand or more plants, a first offense is prison time that is not less than ten years and not more than life, if death or a serious injury occurs not less than twenty years and not not more than life, and the fine can not be more than four million of an individual and ten million if other than an individual. A second offense of possession of a thousand kilograms or more or a thousand or more plants, is prison time not less than twenty years, and not more than life, if there is death or serious injury to a life, the sentence is mandatory life in prison, and the fine is not more than eight million for an individual or twenty million for accomplices.

The federal laws and the local laws conflict greatly when it comes to this topic. According to the article by Americans For Safe Access, “”The United States Supreme Court held that the federal government has the constitutional authority to prohibit marijuana for all purposes. Thus, federal law enforcement officials may prosecute medical marijuana patients, even if they grow their own medicine and even if they reside in a state where medical marijuana use is protected under state law.”” This statement shows that anyone who has possession of medical marijuana will be taken into custody by the federal government and charged with a felony. Since the federal government trumps the state government, medical marijuana is still an illegal substance.

Since the federal government rules medical marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, any research on marijuana or any compounds within marijuana is not allowed. This law held by the federal government prohibits scientists from doing quality research required for FDA approval, and some earlier research does indicate that marijuana might be a promising alternative to other medicines or opioids. According to Taylor and Bailey, “”Underscoring the federal government’s position, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recently pronounced that there was “”no such thing as medical marijuana.”””” This statement shows that the federal government is not planning on lifting the banned of marijuana because it is not deemed beneficial.

In the same article by the National Public Radio Incorporation, a patient, Ann Marie Owen, who turned to medical marijuana to treat her pain. Before using medical marijuana, her doctor prescribed her a variety of opioids. The opioids not only failed to soothe her symptoms, but she got addicted to them. When New York legalized marijuana for medicinal reasons, she decided it was time to switch over to cannabis. None of her doctors wanted to aid her to switch due to the fact that their practice would be compromised by the federal government.

State Law

In 1996 Proposition 215 was in place in California making California the first state to allow the used of medical cannabis. According to a report for Prop 215, “”Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation; smoked marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances. The psychological effects of cannabinoids, such as anxiety reduction, sedation, and euphoria can influence their potential therapeutic value. Those effects are potentially undesirable for certain patients and situations and beneficial for others. In addition, psychological effects can complicate the interpretation of other aspects of the drug’s effect.”” This statement shows that even though the delivery system for cannabis is not desirable is has agents that can help patients who struggle with a variety of illnesses. Cannabis for medical use has only been discouraged because of the federal government’s rule. An article by the National Conference of State Legislature, or NCSL, states that advanced studies of medical cannabis is effective in relieving symptoms of HIV/AIDS, cancer, and chronic pain.

In 2009, the Obama Administration sent a memo to the federal government in regards to not prosecute businesses and patients for medical purposes in accordance with state law. This meant that while President Obama was in office, there was less prosecution for possession. Unfortunately when Obama’s term was at the end, the Attorney General Sessions issued a memorandum called Marijuana Enforcement that canceled out the Cole Memorandum which now allows federal prosecutors to decide the enforcement of cannabis laws.

Currently in the United States, there are thirty-three states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have enacted a public medicinal cannabis programs. State laws differ in each state when it comes to medical cannabis. The purpose of these programs are to protect patients from criminal penalties for using cannabis for medical purpose, access to cannabis through growing at home, dispensaries, or some other system that is in place, it allows multiple strains to be distributed, and it allows vaporization or smoking of cannabis products, material, or extract. States with medical cannabis laws have records for patients who are using the product, which provides minor protection against arrest for possession. These records are also dangerous for patients as well. Once they are places in the system as a cannabis user, the federal government has full control to see who is in possession. The state can not protect the patient from arrest if the federal government prosecutes them, because in the end the federal law overrules the state law. The only states that have not been involved with any medical cannabis programs are South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas,Wyoming, Texas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Idaho.


In conclusion, medical marijuana should be accessible in any state in the United States. The amount of patients that it has been beneficial for with chronic pain and cancer pain is immense. The effective results of medical marijuana shows that it is helpful in many areas that treat pain. This interview is one of many patients who have multiple diagnosis and easily treated with one main type of medicine, cannabis. With opioid medications, it was shown that Ann Marie fell into opioid addiction. This goes for many other patients who have no other medicinal options that can support them. They are physically and emotionally dealing with excess amounts of a medicine that barely benefits them in the long term outcomes. The hold with the federal government should be lifted to protect the citizens rather than having them fall into addiction. In order to create a better society in which we can limit the use of dangerous chemicals and covert to natural remedies can better the world.

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The Truth Behind Medical Marijuana. (2020, Mar 12). Retrieved from