The legalization of medical marijuana allows certain individuals to use marijuana for therapeutic or medicinal purpose only when absolutely necessary. Therefore, one might wonder what the actual health benefits of medical marijuana are and what effects the legalization of medical marijuana might have on a state like Florida with such a prominent recovery culture.
Marijuana—commonly perceived to be considerably less harmful than other drugs due to it being a naturally-occurring rather than man-made substance—is controversial due to its somewhat muddled legality in some states. Recently, it’s even been decriminalized for personal use in such states as Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska, which has caused some to question medical marijuana laws as well.
Does Medical Marijuana Actually Have Health Benefits?
Most are familiar with marijuana as the naturally-growing plant that can be smoked in order to obtain a high. Over the past several decades there have been studies suggesting that marijuana has therapeutic value. This has been incredibly controversial with many passionate individuals on both sides of the argument. Those against medical marijuana argue that the health benefits are unfounded and medicinal usage is merely an excuse for individuals to abuse marijuana recreationally without fear of punishment.
Those in support of medicinal marijuana site what it sometimes a rather long list of health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of glaucoma, alleviating epileptic seizures, slowing or halting the progression of certain types of cancer, decreasing anxiety, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, alleviating the pain of multiple sclerosis, and alleviating some of the side effects of hepatitis C. Some of the other benefits include the surprising discoveries that smoking marijuana can increase lung capacity and reverse some of the effects of smoking tobacco, offering relief from the pain of arthritis, improvements to metabolism, and even spurs creativity.
Marijuana use is not without its risks, which is why medicinal use of marijuana has not yet been approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In order for the Food & Drug Administration to approve a substance for medical use, the substance must be tested in large-scale clinical trials and marijuana has insofar only been tested in small-scale clinical trials.
The cannabinoids in marijuana, also known as cannabis, have been extracted from the plant and even manufactured synthetically in a lab setting. The human body even produces cannabinoids naturally as they play a role in many cognitive functions such as memory, learning, perceiving pleasure, thinking, awareness of time, controlling body movements, appetite, and stimulation of the senses.
Medical Marijuana in the Recovery Capital of the World
To date, there are 23 states, not including DC, that have legalized, or decriminalized, marijuana for medical or medicinal use. In 2014, attorney John Morgan’s group United for Care sponsored Amendment 2, which sought to legalize medical marijuana for the state of Florida. Although it was a close call, the bill was not passed on Election Day 2014.
Morgan’s United for Care is once again attempting to legalize medical marijuana with the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, which could grace ballots in November 2016. For the bill to pass, it must obtain a supermajority vote, meaning that at least 60 percent of voters must vote favorably. While the evidence for the medicinal value of marijuana has been compelling, the clinical trials have been very small, leaving many Floridians unconvinced that legalizing medicinal marijuana is the best route for individuals to get the optimal benefit. Moreover, there have been other implications concerning the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Florida is widely known as the recovery capital of the world as there is a high concentration of alcohol and drug rehab centers throughout the state, but particularly in Delray Beach and the surrounding areas. With there being such a prominent and extensive recovery community in the state of Florida, many are wondering what effect the legalization of medical marijuana would have on Florida’s reputation as a major recovery mecca.
In Florida and elsewhere in the United States, individuals frequently abuse the substances that they receive for the purposes of medicinal use. In fact, the United States is experiencing a major heroin epidemic that resulted from high rates of prescription painkiller addiction followed by a number of law and policy changes that made it more difficult for individuals to obtain and divert prescription drugs.
Therefore, opponents of the initiative to legalize medicinal marijuana in Florida are unsure of whether marijuana for medicinal use would be more helpful than harm, especially with the possibility of drug treatment centers potentially being located near marijuana dispensaries.
Begin the Healing Journey with Drug Treatment Center Finder
There are many substance to which individuals can become addicted. Marijuana might not be quite as dangerous as some others, but it’s not without its risks. In states where medicinal marijuana is legal, it’s important to consider whether the drug offers a greater benefit than risk.
If you or someone you love is struggling with marijuana dependency or another form of addiction and would benefit from learning more about the recovery process, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today for a free consultation and assessment. One phone call to (855) 619-8070 can begin the journey back to happiness, health, and sobriety.