The committee who conducted the review concluded that patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are likely to experience a huge decrease in pain symptoms. In adults suffering from multiple sclerosis-related muscle spasms, temporary use of oral cannabinoids led to a marked improvement in their condition, according to a news release.
The first attempt by the government to control the use of pot was commissioned by then New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia in response to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The LaGuardia report concluded that pot did not have any effect on a person’s sensibilities or decision-making ability.
Former U.S. President Richard Nixon also commissioned a scientific assessment of marijuana in the early 1970s. Commissioned by Nixon, the Schaefer Report came up with the conclusion that cannabis does not rank high in social problems in contemporary America.
There is a huge difference in the landscape of cannabis in 1999 and 2016. Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 28 states (as of this writing), while 16 states have CBD laws. Last summer, the DEA did not reschedule marijuana, which means that it has no medical value.
Testing It Up
A new study from Columbia University found that traffic fatalities have fallen in seven states where medicinal cannabis is legal and that, overall, states where medical marijuana is legal have lower traffic fatality rates than states were medical marijuna remains illegal.
The study found that “medical marijuana laws were associated with immediate reductions in traffic fatalities in those aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 44 years, and with additional yearly gradual reductions in those aged 25 to 44 years.” Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states.
The researchers used traffic accident data from 1985 to 2014, about 1.2 million accidents. They focused on the relationship between medical marijuana laws and the number of fatal traffic accidents, examining each state with legalized medical marijuana separately.
They also looked at the relationship between the existence of medical marijuana dispensaries and traffic accidents, finding a reduction in the number of fatal accidents among those ages 25 to 44 in areas where dispensaries were open.
The researchers concluded that both medical marijuana legalization and dispensaries were, on average, associated with a reduction in traffic fatalities, particularly among drivers 25 to 44-years-old.
They suggested a few possibilities for this conclusion.
Those under the influence of marijuana are more aware of their impaired condition than those under the influence of alcohol and may more often make the choice not to drive.
More people have replaced going out to drink in bars with partaking of marijuana at home, reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road.
An increased police presence in areas where medical marijuana is legal could have led to fewer people attempting to drive while under the influence of marijuana.
“Instead of seeing an increase in fatalities, we saw a reduction, which was totally unexpected,” Julian Santaella-Tenorio, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters.
Medical marijuana supporters rejoiced today as the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released findings which concluded that marijuana is an effective medicine. The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance which is based off of a determination that marijuana has no medical value.
Today’s report obviously shoots down that claim, as does the fact that the federal government owns patents based on marijuana’s medical properties, in addition to the federal government growing and distributing marijuana for medical purposes.
The National Academy of Science’s conclusions that marijuana possesses established therapeutic utility for certain patients and that it possesses an acceptable safety profile when compared to those of other medications or recreational intoxicants are not surprising. This evidence has been available for some time, yet for decades marijuana policy in this country has largely been driven by rhetoric and emotion, not science and evidence.
Today, 29 states and Washington, DC permit physicians to recommend marijuana therapy. Some of these state-sanctioned programs have now been in place for nearly two decades. Eight states also permit the regulated use and sale of cannabis by adults. At a minimum, we know enough about cannabis, as well as the failures of cannabis prohibition, to regulate its consumption by adults, end its longstanding criminalization, and to remove it from its Schedule I prohibitive under federal law.
Currently 28 U.S. states have medical marijuana laws, and 16 additional states have CBD laws (a non-psychoactive component of medical marijuana). Last summer, the DEA announced that it would not reschedule marijuana. The NAS report notes that “There are specific regulatory barriers, including the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, that impede the advancement of cannabis and cannabinoid research.”
According to the American Cancer Society, “Half of cigarette users will die because they smoke. Six million people die every year because of tobacco. This figure includes five million smokers, but also about 600,000 non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. It is expected that, without any action, eight million people will die annually, by 2030.”
A recent example is a study which explored the increase in the risk of a person having a stroke when they consume tobacco or marijuana. Per the conclusion listed in the publication of the study’s results:
We found no evident association between cannabis use in young adulthood and stroke, including strokes before 45 years of age. Tobacco smoking, however, showed a clear, dose-response shaped association with stroke.
This study is encouraging, especially when it is coupled with the results of another study which found that cannabis can help people quit smoking cigarettes.