To the casual observer, it would seem surprising that marijuana would be legalised under the Obama administration. Law-enforcers will apparently not arrest users and sellers of marijuana (aka weed,grass,cannabis,hashish,ganja) – provided they conform to US state laws on its use for strictly medical purposes.
New Jersey became the latest USA state to allow its medical use, adding to the 14 which had done so earlier. Unlike California, where doctors are authorizing patients to take marijuana to relieve such minor ailments as anxiety, headache, premenstrual syndrome, and trouble sleeping, New Jersey has tightened regulations to allow its medical use only for people who have less than a year to live, or those with specific symptoms resulting from certain chronic diseases like AIDS, cancer and Crohn’s.
Marijuana has been used medicinally as an intoxicant for thousands of years in Eastern culture. In Western medicine, several well-known pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly , sold cannabis in powdered or tincture forms in the early 20th century as a painkiller, antispasmodic, sedative, and “exhilarant.” Since then, its use declined because more effective drugs for these purposes became available.
Now, researchers have shown its usefulness in the treatment of neuropathic pain (intense pain due to nerve damage), improving nausea and poor appetite in patients on chemotherapy as well as releasing muscle spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis. While medical research has been slow, (researchers are finding it difficult to get the plant legally and to get permission to undertake such research), its medical use remains controversial in many areas other than the few indications above.
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