One small step for marijuana

No matter how you smoke it, the debate over medical marijuana isn’t always an easy one to take in. Many see marijuana as the devil’s candy — a drug that corrupts the youth, makes people lazy and ruins lives.However, the use of medical marijuana seems all too logical. Most users don’t have very long to live and need a painkiller that works without interfering with other medications or body functions. The big news recently for these patients is that the federal government decided to stop prosecuting dispensers and users of medical marijuana. On Oct. 19, deputy attorney general David Ogen signed a memorandum authorizing the use of medical marijuana in states that already allow it. In the past, marijuana users and distributors have been prosecuted by the federal, but not state, governments. Federal courts have been inundated with dying cancer patients and the elderly who are merely seeking a relief from pain. The government claims that this relaxation of policy is merely to unclog the court system.However, medical marijuana laws should be eased because of their medical benefits as well.  Pain relief for cancer patients and the elderly is a clear case, but what if medical marijuana weren’t used just for elderly people and the terminally ill?According to the Los Angeles Times, a professor at Brown University, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, gained permission from a doctor to give her nine-year-old autistic son medical marijuana in the form of cookies to treat pains from an inflammatory bowel condition and anxiety.  At first, the drug was used to treat his pain, but as time progressed, it became clear that the drug reduced his aggression levels and his pica – the tendency to eat things that aren’t food. This is only one example of marijuana’s medical potential.If the federal government would encourage medical marijuana research, doctors and researchers will start to explore marijuana’s benefits other than pain relief. According to a study by the National Cancer Institute, medical marijuana has been shown to reduce nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.Treatments like these are just the beginning.It is time for the government and medical community to get over the biased stigma hanging over marijuana. If something natural can help people so much, it is only right that it be utilized, studied and made available.