Medical Cannabis

Although his legal expertise in Louisiana is in the specialized area of maritime law (specifically related to the Jones Act) Mike Hall is well versed in the recent changes to the laws regarding cannabis. With a practice centered in Lafayette, he along with one of the partners in his law firm are looking into the feasibility of opening a dispensary when laws permit. He shares his insights below.

The use of cannabis is now legal when used as a medicine, in many countries worldwide like Canada, Germany, the Netherlands or Italy. But it also is legal in 14 states of the United States of America. It started in 1996 in California, and two years later, in 1998, the states of Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Michigan also made the use of cannabis legal. 9 other states followed the same example since then. 11 other states, including DC have pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana.

The therapeutic effects of cannabis are disputed. Even in the medical field, doctors cannot agree on whether yes or no, cannabis should be used as a medicine. There are pros and cons about all the possible subjects concerning medical cannabis.

The thing is : cannabis seems to have great virtues when it comes to ease certain conditions due to diseases. Diseases like cancer for example. When a patient needs to get chemotherapy to treat a cancer, marijuana can have a great effect for reducing nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. It also can relieve pain in certain conditions, but this “pain-relieve” effect is not consistent. What it does though is to reduce anxiety and nausea that sick people can feel, and as a result, it helps patients to feel better.

So, the discussion is on for several years now. Some studies show that the active ingredient in marijuana THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) prevents the formation of deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. But what people omit to say about this molecule is that, a daily use of cannabis (marijuana) has shown negative side-effects. What cannabis does to a daily user’s brain can be difficult to treat. Among other effects, it alters memory-related brain function. There is also a correlation between cannabis use and increased cognitive function in schizophrenic patients. And many other effects.

Some say that using cannabis because it is now legal for certain medical conditions, is like taking any other type of medication by only reading the virtues of this medicine, and forgetting about the negative effects’ list. This is old thinking.

Similar “old” thinking is also at work with the ability to buy std diagnostic kits. Right now the usual way a person can get tested in the US is to go to the family doctor or a clinic. There are some online sites that offer private STD testing – but the small print says: “private, not anonymous, STD testing”. This means that your name and other identifying information will be linked to your test results. Other sites offer at home STD testing kits that give results within 15 minutes with accuracy between 95%-99% depending upon the test kit and the std that it tests. These kits are simple to use and really should be available at drug stores, just like do-it-yourself pregnancy tests. When will these kits be accepted by the pharmaceutical and medical establishment?

** Update **

As of June, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana use in some form. Four states have legalized recreational use of marijuana: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Twenty three states and Washington, D.C. now recognize not only the medical benefits but the financial benefit of taxing the use of it. Far too long have the drug cartels & gang influences controlled the substance to no benefit of any government at all. It is about time that a new approach is taken & the existing laws are updated for a new fuller understanding of the Marijuana.

Why should criminals make billions of dollars on this naturally growing substance while the states’ and federal government spends billions to fight it. Twenty-three states are getting it right with more states considering legislation regarding marijuana use.

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