Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Pros and Cons of Using Recreational Marijuana

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We at TestCountry have been discussing about marijuana and its different facets for years, and it has always been a controversial topic. The legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states may have made marijuana users rejoice, but it remains to be an endless debate of whether the substance should be allowed or not due to the unfavorable effects that it may cause upon long-time users. In this article, we will delve into the benefits and disadvantage of recreational marijuana use.

Marijuana is widely used, especially among the teens and young adults. There are now about 20 million users aged 20 and older using marijuana, with some engaged in recreational marijuana use.

Marijuana is sold in the form of dried leaves, which can be smoked. The popularity of using electronic cigarettes or vapes heightened when cannabis liquids became available. Not all states have legalized recreational marijuana, therefore using vapes infused with cannabis has become an alternative way of using marijuana without being noticed by authorities.

Brief History of Marijuana in the US

The hemp plant was used as a legal tender in states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia in 1619. The Virginia Assembly passed a legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp.

There was a proliferation of hemp production after the Civil War. By the end of the 19th Century, marijuana became a popular ingredient in creating medicinal products which were sold in public pharmacies.

In 1906, The Pure Food and Drug Act was passed and became the basis for regulating misbranded foods, drugs, liquors, and medicines.

The Mexican immigrants introduced the recreational use of marijuana to the American culture in 1910. Marijuana has become mostly associated with Mexican immigrants, which has also become synonymous with fear and prejudice. There were anti-drug campaigns to hopefully prevent the spreading of marijuana as terrible crimes have also become associated with its use by the Mexicans.

In 1931, marijuana use had been outlawed by 29 states. By 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was created. The first commissioner was Harry J. Anslinger who remained in the post until 1962.

The Uniform State Act of 1932 was created to encourage state governments to take responsibility in controlling crimes related to marijuana use.

Importation of hemp during the World War II declined. The US Department of Agriculture launched a program called “Hemp for Victory” which encouraged farmers to plant hemp and granted deferments to those who would stay at home and grow the plant. There were about 375,000 acres of hemp harvested in 1943.

1951 initiated stricter sentencing laws by setting mandatory sentences for drug-related offenses.

The 1960s had become a very significant period as it was the time when there was a widespread use of marijuana among white upper and middle-class citizens. By 1968, the FBN and the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs of the Food and Drug Administration merged.

The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act categorized marijuana as distinct from other narcotics, thus eliminated mandatory federal sentences to those in possession for small amounts.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was established in 1973. A nationwide movement composed of conservative parents insisted for a stricter regulation of marijuana as well as the prevention of drug use among teenagers in 1976. Consequently, this has become instrumental in affecting public attitudes which led to the War on Drugs in the 1980s.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act in 1985 in response to the increasing number of crimes related to drug use. This raised federal penalties for marijuana possession and dealing. Eventually, an amendment was created requiring life sentences for repeat drug offenders and providing the death penalty to “drug kingpins”.

1996 was the start of legalizing medical use of marijuana in California under Proposition 215.

marijuana plant

Statistics on Marijuana Use

Marijuana or cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance. Recent surveys showed that there are about 94 million people in the United States alone that have admitted to using marijuana at least once in their lifetime.

Marijuana is widely used because of how some individuals use it as their means of escape from the realities of life with the hope of masking pain, anger, fear or regret. It is the most frequently found substance in the bodies of drivers involved in fatal car accidents.

From a survey made by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2007, 2.1 million Americans have used marijuana for the first time. There has also been an increase in marijuana production since 1981. Approximately $10.5 billion has been spent by marijuana users in purchasing this illicit substance.

The trends of prevalence of marijuana use among 8th Graders to 12th Graders:

Grade Level Lifetime Past Year Past Month Daily
8th Grade 12.8% 9.4% 5.4% 0.70%
10th Grade 29.7% 23.9% 14.0% 2.5%
12th Grade 44.5% 35.5% 12.5% 6.0%

According to a report by Arcview Market Research, North American marijuana sales increased by more than 30% in 2016, raising sales to $6.7B. It is also predicted to greatly increase in the coming years.

A very astonishing fact from legal sales of recreational marijuana use in Colorado reached almost $1 billion in 2015. It cannot be denied how the legalization of marijuana created some benefits, namely, jobs and an increase in tax revenues.

Accordingly, the public remains divided regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana. And more than seeing the good that it can allegedly provide is knowing that there are possible unfavorable outcomes with both short-term and long-term use of marijuana.

Notwithstanding the risks accompanied with its long-term use, the number of people using marijuana for recreational purposes is believed to have been increasing each year.

Advantages of Using Recreational Marijuana

Undoubtedly, using marijuana can offer some positive effects in the body. Although recreational use was not the main reason for making it legal, a large number of people use marijuana (as a recreational drug) as their outlet. Unfortunately, these users are branded as hippies or stoners.

Here are some benefits of recreational marijuana use:

  • Smoking has become a means of bonding among friends that it makes them less inhibited in letting out their feelings. Therefore, they are able to speak their minds freely from which deep conversations among friends make them allow them to grow closer.
  • Using marijuana heightens the senses. Somehow the taste of food becomes more appetizing.
  • It unlocks one’s creativity. Marijuana somehow makes a user feel more energized to become more artistic and creative. This enables them to become highly-artistic rather than experiencing the erratic behavior that others may see from marijuana users.
  • Creates divergent thinking. The chemicals that interact with the brain helps in thinking outside of the box.
  • The ability to persuade others in perceiving the same thoughts.
  • Marijuana can act on your mind in countless positive ways. Moreover, it can bring out the child in you, as claimed by marijuana users. This can be helpful in trying to cope up with the everyday stress.
  • It can make you feel like a different person. Some people are naturally shy. But being shy sometimes can be a disadvantage. Using marijuana can somehow help one to become more confident about himself thereby allowing him/her to become more vocal and outgoing.
  • It masks out the negativity thereby making one see everything in a different (and more positive) perspective.
  • A feel-good emotion is likely to strike after using marijuana, thus one tends to appreciate the beauty of the world that surrounds him/her.
  • Marijuana can make you feel more energized.
  • It takes you to a different dimension wherein you can feel happy and stress-free; thus you have time to be in harmony with yourself.

medical and recreational marijuana

Disadvantages of Using Recreational Marijuana

The global dilemma on drug abuse is far from over. Knowing how much it can affect both the mind and the body, these are the reasons why using it should be prevented or stopped:

  • It has a direct effect on one’s memory. The active ingredient that affects the hippocampus alters the processing of information. The use of marijuana at a young age has a great impact on the developing brain. Nonetheless, this obstruction in the formation of memory can significantly cause cognitive impairment. It also accelerates age-related brain cell loss. Studies have found that there is a deterioration in the learning and cognitive thinking that can persist into adulthood, even if they have long stopped using marijuana.
  • It can heighten fear, anxiety, panic or distrust. This is the most common side effect of using marijuana. The chemicals in cannabis make an individual have hallucinations and so with this, it affects their relationships with others.
  • THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of the marijuana’s psychological effects. This disrupts with balance, coordination and reaction time of the user, thereby making it harder for the user to walk and talk correctly (normally). This also impairs the individual’s ability to drive.
  • Frequent marijuana use can increase the risk of succumbing to a depressive condition. This is more likely to happen to individuals who have a history of mental illness.
  • Psychosis is also likely to develop in individuals taking large doses of the drug which includes delusions and a loss of sense of identity.
  • Some of the short-term effects of marijuana use include dry mouth, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and increased heart rate.
  • Smoking marijuana can lead to breathing problems such as the development of excess mucous, cough and bronchitis. It can also cause asthma and cystic fibrosis.
  • Long-term use of marijuana can decrease the amount of seminal fluid and reduce sperm count. The abnormalities in the sperm are still undetermined, although it is thought to be caused by the THC.
  • Marijuana use in females can lead to menstrual flow disruption which can result in irreversible damage to the eggs in the ovaries, thus there is likely an increased risk of miscarriages, placenta previa, and premature births.

Clearly, each state has their own laws pertaining to the manufacture, use, and selling of marijuana. Although marijuana has been approved for both recreational and medical use, still, everyone should be able to assess the benefits and its harmful effects with long-term use. The level of potency of THC has increased over the years, which makes it even more dangerous for individuals to take marijuana, especially in large doses.

Medical marijuana may have been proven to be of significant help in treating various illnesses such as arthritis, epilepsy, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few. However, it is recommended that those who are undergoing treatments with the use of marijuana should take the precautionary measures as the unscrupulous use of marijuana can deter treatment and would lead to more serious conditions.

Moreover, recreational marijuana use stated in this article is simply to inform and not to encourage or discourage anyone to take the drug. It is highly advisable to consult with your physician before engaging in the use of any type of drugs.

recreational marijuana

Medical Marijuana Workplace Testing

How Marijuana Legalization Affects Employers and Employees

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The legalization of marijuana has caused confusion as to how it could work best in the workplace setup. Marijuana legalization may have brought a sense of relief to both medical and recreational marijuana users. However, despite its legalization, employers are now facing issues regarding the policies of drug testing in the workplace.

The conundrum of legalizing cannabis and maintaining workplace safety has put business owners in a bind, finding themselves between crossroads on how to implement the workplace drug policies without having to deal with right-to-privacy issues regarding medical conditions of their employees.

On the other side of the fence, job applicants are now confused whether to submit themselves to the company’s drug testing policy or to decline the job. Should they agree to undergo drug testing and potentially be singled out as a drug user in case of a positive result?

Concerns with Marijuana Legalization

In this scenario, two major questions may be raised in relation to marijuana legalization:

  • Should there be a need to totally eradicate drug policies within the workplace?
  • How can employees be protected from potential termination or lawsuits?

Despite the advantages of marijuana legalization, this issue has become a burden on most employers. They need to come up with a solution about who to test, when to do the test, and if they should even implement drug testing in the workplace.

Lawmakers may have only focused on making marijuana legal to avoid prosecution of the users. However, it’s possible that they missed out on the aspect where the protection of the employers and employees should be considered. For employers, their main goal is to be able to sustain their respective businesses where their employees are able to work comfortably and safely, with high productivity.

No employer would tolerate drug use while working even if an employee is taking marijuana for medical purposes. Drug policies in the workplace were created to ensure that every employee is able to do his job and not to report to work under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

More than 70 percent of illicit drug users belong to the workforce. This is quite an alarming number considering that drug use while on the job would affect more than just lost productivity, but also increased health insurance claims and even death.

States with Legal Medical Marijuana Use

Each state has its own provisions with regards to drug testing in the workplace. However, under the federal law, employees working in certain industries are required to undergo drug testing. Such industries include aviation, transportation, mining, construction and sports.

marijuana legalization in the U.S.

Marijuana legalization in the United States has taken so many years before it was finally implemented on several states. The latest vote in November 8, 2016 added more states that started to adapt the legalization of marijuana use. As of that date, more than half of U.S. states already allow medical marijuana use. These include:

State Year Passed
Alaska 1998
Arizona 2010
Arkansas 2016
California 1996
Colorado 2000
Connecticut 2012
Delaware 2011
Florida 2016
Hawaii 2000
Illinois 2013
Maine 1999
Maryland 2014
Massachusetts 2012
Michigan 2008
Minnesota 2014
Montana 2004
Nevada 2000
New Hampshire 2013
New Jersey 2010
New Mexico 2007
New York 2014
North Dakota 2016
Ohio 2016
Oregon 1998
Pennsylvania 2016
Rhode Island 2006
Vermont 2004
Washington 1998
Washington,DC 2010

Each state has its own provisions in implementing marijuana legalization.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada. These states allow adults aged 21 years and older to recreational use of marijuana but with provisions on the amount that they can use or buy, and can only purchase these through legitimate stores.

The state of California allows use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by individuals who have written recommendations by their physicians. Approved conditions to use medical marijuana include HIV/AIDS, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, muscular spasms, MS, and seizures. However, employers in California implement strict drug policies wherein they require employees to pass a drug test. Companies may decline employment to those who are found to be using marijuana even if it were for medical purposes.

Why Do Companies Implement Marijuana Drug Testing in the Workplace?

The reasons behind implementing drug testing procedures in line with marijuana legalization include the following:

  • To assure the safety for all employees
  • To save the company a lot of money from absenteeism and health insurance claims
  • To decrease crime within the workplace
  • To increase productivity
  • To improve health of employees
  • To enhance the morale within the workplace

However, some companies who need employees to work on heavy machinery now see marijuana drug testing as a hindrance in finding the right people to be employed. This is because applicants refuse to show up for drug tests. Pre-employment drug testing, although significant and beneficial, just seem to be an unwelcome thought for some applicants.

How Employers Should Handle Employee Marijuana Use

Employers are now experiencing a higher level of difficulty in looking for applicants to fill up their vacant job positions. This is due to the fact that some applicants would walk out in the middle of an interview once they are informed that drug testing will be a requirement in the hiring process. As a result, some employees would either disregard pre-employment drug testing or remove random drug testing policies among its current employees for fear of losing their best employees.

Fortunately, there are ways on how employers can best handle prospective employees with regards to marijuana use. These tips would be helpful to know how the company’s drug policies can still be implemented without having to step on anyone’s rights.

  1. Employers should be able to ask employees if they are taking any medication. With the employee’s right to privacy in mind, the employer must ensure that any medicine taken by the employee would not in any way interfere with the quality of work of the employee and that it should be used in a responsible manner.
  2. There may be certain employees who are using medical marijuana. Because of this, employers should think about reconsidering. The employee should, however, make sure that if there is a need to take medical cannabis during working hours, it should be done discreetly.
  3. Drug policies should be regularly reviewed, revised, and updated with regards to employee’s recreational use of marijuana. For instance, the policy should state that although recreational use of marijuana in the state may be allowed, but it should define whether the company will allow recreational marijuana use within the workplace.
  4. Completely banning employees who use marijuana in states where its use is legal may face some serious issues. Instead of focusing on cannabis use of an employee, the employer should instead monitor and put attention to the worker’s overall job performance. In industries where employees are operating heavy machinery, marijuana use should be strictly prohibited.
  5. Lunch and break times should not be a reason for employees to use marijuana for recreational purposes. While employers would want to respect the privacy of each employee during those times, employers need to be assured by the employees that they can work efficiently without having to take any psychoactive substance when working hours resume.

Rights and Responsibilities of Employers

When it comes to marijuana legalization and its impact in the workplace, employers need to accept the following rights and responsibilities:

  • Employers have the right to appoint and dismiss employees in accordance with company procedures. They should expect reasonable level of performance from their employees and provide a healthy and safe workplace.
  • Employers do not have the right to discriminate against existing or potential employees with regards to race, ethnicity and religion. They should also not allow sexual harassment or vilification to occur in the workplace.
  • Employers should assure that employees are not discriminated, harassed or violated in any way.
  • They should be responsible in educating all employees with regards to their responsibilities and behavioral standards that are acceptable in the workplace.

Rights and Responsibilities of Employees

Employees have their own rights that should be well recognized in terms of marijuana legalization, such as:

  • The right to a healthy and safe workplace
  • The right to any information about the hazards of the job
  • The right to file complaint should they find any workplace hazards
  • The right to not be discriminated, threatened, harassed or be treated differently

Meanwhile, every employee’s responsibility is to:

  • Read company policies and guidelines
  • Comply with applicable safety standards
  • Report any hazardous conditions to the employer
  • Work efficiently and give 100% compliance to assigned tasks
  • Report any job-related illnesses or injury and seek immediate treatment

Marijuana Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug testing for weed may not be easy to implement for any employer. However, if a well-written company policy is presented to employees and job applicants to emphasize the safety and protection of every individual in the workplace, then this can create a more positive impact to every employee.

Pre-employment drug testing may not be reliable as one of the requirements for hiring an applicant because the presence of marijuana in the body may last for days. This means that an individual who may have stopped using marijuana for a week may still get a positive drug result. However, testing positive does not mean that an employee may produce poor work performance.

Understanding Drug Policies in the Workplace

marijuana legalization drug testing construction industry

It should be clearly written on the company’s drug policies when and what grounds would the company initiate drug testing to employees. It should also indicate the measures to be taken, should an employee be found to be positive with marijuana.

An employer may be free from any liabilities should he find out that an employee’s performance has been compromised due to working under the influence of marijuana or other substances. To create an effective system within your workplace, there are three important things that employers should do:

  1. Be fully aware of the state’s law regarding marijuana
  2. Review company’s policies regularly
  3. Enforce your company’s drug policy and request employees for strict compliance

Ultimately, employers should be able to effectively communicate with the employees. Not all employees may be aware of the state’s legalization of marijuana, which could allow the employer to set workers aside due to marijuana use. In other words, a thorough discussion on the effect of marijuana use and how it can affect performance in the workplace should be done, so that employees will be able to understand.

A drug policy should be part of any organization to ensure that all employees are aware about the dangers of using marijuana. The company policy should have the provision to give assistance to those who are found to be positive, and to educate supervisors to help them determine whether an employee is fit to work.

All in all, the company drug policy should be able to determine which of the workers may be working under the influence of cannabis. This can protect the entirety of the workforce and maintain a healthy and safe workplace for everyone in the company, even in the face of the growing trend of marijuana legalization.

Helpful Links and Resources

https://www.yourdrugtesting.com/legalization-of-marijuana/

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/107985/where-is-weed-legal

https://www.headsup.org.au/rights-responsibilities/employer-rights-and-responsibilities

https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/09/30/how-marijuana-legislation-will-affect-drug-testing-in-the-workplace/#7be3c0323487

https://ohsonline.com/articles/2016/02/01/marijuana-use-and-its-impact-on-workplace-safety-and-productivity.aspx

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

West Virginia Starts Talking About Marijuana Legalization

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Marijuana legalization continues to be a hot-button topic this year. In 2016 alone, Four states approved the use of recreational marijuana while four states approved medical marijuana. Along with that, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia now have marijuana laws and eight states plus District of Columbia have legalized small amounts of marijuana for recreational use by adults.

This provided the stage for police authorities and cannabis advocates to hold a debate on marijuana legalization and talk about the steps to be taken in drafting a medical marijuana law in West Virginia. National coordinator of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s National Marijuana Initiative John Shemelya and Charleston Police Department investigative services bureau chief Lt. Eric Johnson expressed concern on how marijuana legalization could have an effect on children. Surveys revealed that youth who reside in medical or recreational marijuana-legalized states were likely to engage in marijuana use in the past month, as reported in a news release.

A 2014 study was also mentioned wherein medical cannabis laws were linked to a lowered rate of overdose mortality. It was reported that West Virginia experienced a rise in overdose rates in 2015.

Mike Pushkin, sponsor of the cannabis decriminalization bill, has received phone calls from individuals who have benefited from using medical marijuana after the legislation. According to Pushkin, the marijuana industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that the state sees no revenue from.

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Things You Need To Know About Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

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Drug trade and use continues to be one of the major problems in the U.S. The government’s initiative to scale down drug trade in the country has somehow lead to the legalization of cannabis, which is one of the most common illegal substances used. Despite initiatives to legalize the substance, lawmakers may have overlooked one point with marijuana use: the emergence of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a collection of symptoms that occur after prolonged and massive usage of cannabis. According to an Australian clinical study conducted by Dr. Hugh Allen in 2004, about 10 patients were exhibiting the same symptoms, with all of them found to be marijuana users.

Excessive use of marijuana is the result of such condition. This occurs when marijuana is used more than 3-5 times a day, which eventually leads to a chronic use of the substance for years on end.

Cannabis use creates a euphoric effect to the user. However, some individuals may experience this rare condition despite its usual antiemetic effect. What cannabis users would do is to take in more with the hope of being relieved with the unfavorable symptoms. However, increasing the dose will do more harm than good.

Signs and Symptoms of CHS

Individuals who suffer from CHS usually complain of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. They may frequent the emergency room for 3-5 times before doctors would conclude that the vomiting and nausea is related to marijuana use because there are other conditions that may exhibit the same symptoms.

CHS is a rare condition; it does not happen to all cannabis users. It usually takes years before the onset of symptoms occur. The shortest reported length of consumption of cannabis having the symptoms was 18 months.

Individuals who have CHS may experience the following:

  • Agitated state
  • Apprehension
  • Sweating
  • Postural hypotension
  • Tachycardia
  • Hypokalemia
  • Alkalosis
  • Hypochloremia
  • Elevated urea
  • Esophagitis
  • Gastric mucosal trauma

How is it different from Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome?

Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) may also present the same symptoms as that of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.  It usually lasts from a few hours to several days. Repeated attacks happen with no apparent reason. The only difference of CVS from CHS is that with CVS, cannabis use is not present.

Each episode of CVS happens as the previous one, which means episodes may occur at the same time of the day, the same duration, or with the same symptoms and intensity.

Treatment for CHS

Cannabis users usually find relief when they take a hot shower.  According to a study from Philadelphia, “taking hot showers may be a way of correcting the cannabis-induced imbalance that affects the regulation of temperature of the hypothalamus”.

The symptoms usually go away after a few days of completely stopping from consuming cannabis.

Other forms of treatment for this condition include providing medications to relieve from abdominal pain and electrolyte replacement to maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body lost due to vomiting.

This condition, if left untreated, may lead to severe dehydration and kidney failure.

CHS in the News

It must have come as a surprise to some pro-cannabis legalization that such condition happens. Although CHS has been reported just over a decade ago, it is only now after the legalization of marijuana on several states that there has been an increase in individuals who are reported to be suffering from such condition.

One popular involves a certain Lance Crowder, who has been going in and out of the emergency room for abdominal pain and vomiting. However, doctors were not able to find out what was wrong with him. It was Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency room physician at the University of Colorado Hospital who finally found out that Crowder was having CHS. When Dr. Heard asked Crowder if he feels relieved taking hot showers, he immediately knew what was wrong with Crowder.

Outside of Colorado, patients who were sent to the emergency room are often misdiagnosed partly because doctors are unaware of the symptoms presented by CHS and that these patients would not admit to using cannabis.

Impact of Marijuana Legalization on CHS Incidence

The main effect of taking marijuana is having that euphoric feeling, which has encouraged many people to try it and eventually get hooked on it. Incidentally, medical experts have found out that using cannabis may give benefits to people who are suffering from severe pain which is common to cancer patients. In other words, patients may have found an alternative source of relief in marijuana. This is the primary reason why marijuana legalization was pushed.

More and more states have legalized the use of marijuana, and several more states are expected to join the bandwagon. While it remains like an endless debate among others who do not agree to its legalization, still there are people who see it as their last recourse in helping them cope with the severe pain they are going through.

The New York Times stated the following reasons for legalizing marijuana, namely:

  • It will relieve the government from using additional funds. Individuals have been arrested and put behind bars because of possession of cannabis. Police authorities are spending so much time and money running after individuals when they can focus and use their time going after individuals involved in much severe crimes.
  • Despite the government’s initiatives of criminalizing marijuana offenders, it has failed in reducing the number of people involved in using marijuana.
  • Cannabis has known medical benefits. For many years, marijuana has been referred to something that has a negative effect on one’s health. However, further studies showed that it can also help certain medical conditions such as epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and muscle spasm, just to name a few.
  • Legalization of cannabis may decrease usage. The government sees a possible decrease in usage once tax is implemented over cannabis trade.
  • It is believed that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco because “its effect is mostly euphoric and mild” compared to alcohol drinkers who turn themselves into maniacs and domestic abusers.

Conclusion

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome may probably affect the decision of other states in joining the rest of the country to legalize marijuana. While we see the benefits of this substance, lawmakers may be thinking of adding provisions to this law to protect medical cannabis users and to prevent them from further encouraging recreational marijuana use, for the sole purpose of avoiding the increase in risk of CHS.

Medical Marijuana

National Academy of Sciences Says Marijuana Has Medical Benefits

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A comprehensive review of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that marijuana does possess medical benefits.

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.

With medical cannabis gaining ground in the United States, the Institute of Medicine conducted a comprehensive review in 1999. This was not, however, the first attempt in trying to determine the potential benefits of marijuana. In 1982, it was concluded that cannabis and its variations have shown value in treating various disorders. Among the conditions where cannabis offers medicinal benefits include asthma, seizures, and other nervous system disorders.

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.

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Teens Perceive Less Danger in Cannabis After Recreational Marijuana Legalization

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While the rate of marijuana use continues to increase, its perceived danger has decreased among 8th and 10th graders in the state of Washington. This was according to a study conducted by UC Davis and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and published online in JAMA Pediatrics. The findings of the study come in the heels of the legalization of recreational marijuana.

In the state of Colorado, there was also no change in use or perceived harm among teens in similar grades. Washington and Colorado were the first two states to legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. Two years later, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC also legalized recreational cannabis use. Just this November, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada voted for its legalization.

The study was the first to make an assessment of the perception of teens regarding marijuana use before and after the legalization of recreational use. The findings were compared to the attitudes of teens were marijuana use is still considered illegal, according to a news article.

According to Deborah Hasin, an epidemiology professor at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University and psychiatry at the Columbia University, the perceived danger of marijuana has seen a sharp drop in the last few years in the United States, even though there were adverse effects associated with marijuana use in some adults and adolescents. Hasin served as the principal investigator of the study.

In states where marijuana use is still not legal, the perceived harm saw a 5 to 7 percent decrease among students in the same grade levels. However, marijuana use dropped by 1.3 percent and 0.9 percent. Among older adolescents in Washington and Colorado, there were no changes in perceived harmfulness after the legalization.

Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

DEA Puts Marijuana Extract Cannabidiol on Schedule I List

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified cannabidiol under the Schedule 1 list of drugs. Cannabidiol, or more commonly known as CBD, is one of the compounds that make up marijuana extract and covers the highest concentration besides tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The final rule of the DEA establishes that the drug is illegal, and is strictly prohibited by the federal government, as reported in a news article.

Drugs under the Schedule 1 List of Controlled Substances are those that have very high potential and probability for abuse, those that have no known medical treatment use, and those that are said to be very dangerous to human health. Aside from marijuana, the list also includes ecstasy, heroin, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), among others.

Also under the same rule, CBD is now identified separately from marijuana to strictly track possible violations. The DEA has declared that all cannabis extracts, even those considered as non-psychoactive oils, are now illegal.

The current clamor of a number of states in the U.S. to push for the legalization of marijuana may be hampered by the recently approved rule of the DEA, despite the medicinal qualities of the drug. The rule is set to be effective on January 2017.

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Medical Marijuana Pregnancy & Fertility

Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Exposure Evident In Infant Urine, Says Study

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Marijuana has emerged as one of the most popular psychoactive drugs because of its multiple effects that include mood changes, altered state and perception of mind, euphoria and hallucinations. Amidst the ongoing debate regarding the safety and legality of cannabis use, a new study discovered a possible danger of secondhand marijuana smoke.

In a study published in the Pediatric Research Journal last December 2, researchers concluded that children exposed to marijuana smoke are at a higher risk of health problems in later years. Children can be exposed to marijuana by breathing in marijuana smoke or eating foods that might contain cannabis, as reported in a news release.

According to the study, secondhand smoke is taken from end of the joint and by breathing in the exhaled smoke. When children ingest cannabis, they might experience lethargy and sleepiness. Some other symptoms might also include blood-shot eyes, dry mouth and anxiety.

Meanwhile, children who inhale marijuana smoke might show symptoms of asthma attacks and lung irritation. The symptoms can last up to 24 hours. As of this time, there are no reported fetal and child deaths from marijuana poisoning.

Nevertheless, if your child shows this symptom, make sure to contact the local poison center.

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Medical Marijuana

Incoming U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and His Stand on Marijuana and Drugs

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Several states in the U.S. have voted to legalize medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) to increase the options for current medical treatments which communities have access to. At present, marijuana still falls under the Schedule I classification — an identification among drugs that have no medical use, and should never be considered as treatment for medical conditions even for serious cases.

It should be remembered that during his campaign, Donald Trump was consistent in his stand that marijuana legalization will depend on the decision of the states. However, on November 18, Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to hold the position as U.S. Attorney General, which may turn the tides as the senator from Alabama is known for his antagonistic view on marijuana. With his new designation, Sessions has also come to forward his challenge for the states and people who are for the use of recreational and medical marijuana.

The general public is now wondering what will happen to the ongoing clamor for the legalization of medical marijuana, given that a number of debates claim that its use contributes a lot to the medical sector. Will the incoming Trump administration give full support to the cause of Sessions? Is this administration going to launch a war against marijuana? Is Trump’s pick to take on the job as U.S. Attorney General already the answer to the questions above?

Given that 100 percent of Americans live in a country where weed is still prohibited by federal law, U.S. states – especially those that have recently approved recreational and medical marijuana – are waiting for what is about to happen to their decision.

Who is Jeff Sessions?

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has been nominated for the position of U.S. Attorney General by incoming President Donald Trump, following former AGs Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, who are both African Americans.

Sessions graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree from Alabama School of Law in the year 1973. Before entering politics, Sessions practiced law in Alabama, and also served in the United States Army Reserve until the year 1986. He has sponsored bills that are related to health, immigration, international affairs, economics, and public finance. Sessions is a Republican senator from Alabama, who has served the country for two decades.

Before he expressed his support to Trump, he is known as a senator who has conservative perspectives on major issues like the U.S. pro-life movement, reforms on immigration, and same-sex marriage.

As his personal response to fight crimes in the country, he authored the Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Improvement Law of 2000 wherein additional funds were authorized to be used for blood and DNA tests that are critical in the investigation of pending crimes. Serving in the senate for two decades has earned him several awards, which include the American Conservative Union Award for Conservative Excellence, the Watchdogs of the Treasury Golden Bulldog Award, the Coalition of Republican Environment Advocates Teddy Roosevelt Environmental Award, and the Alabama Farmers Federation Service to Agriculture Award.

Because of his exemplary passion and commitment to his duty, Session was elected in the Senate for his fourth term, getting roughly 97 percent of the total votes at that time.

His Stand on Marijuana and Other Drugs

Sessions is known for his strong opposing view on marijuana, earning the dub as one of the “steadfast drug warriors” in the U.S. He has made a mark for his stand against the use of the drug, but his statement that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” has created a significant outburst in the U.S., given that twenty-nine states have already voted for its legalization, specifically its medical benefits.

Being a conservative politician that he is, it is no surprise that his antagonistic view will continue, and probably this time, will be stronger and will be more aggressive, more so because of his designation as chief of the country’s Justice Department. His stand is to protect his country from the dangerous drug which, for him, does more harm than good. His call to the government consistently leans toward his view that such concern should be taken seriously, so that they can easily convince the youth not to do drugs.

In 2014, Sessions was in the news due to his criticism against FBI Director James Comey, who suggested to loosen the government’s restrictions on applicants who have tried using marijuana. In his statement, Sessions said that giving such consideration could be interpreted as an American leadership that does not put the much-needed attention to strictly prohibit marijuana.

Conclusion

As of this writing, Sessions has not yet discussed any of his plans to combat the use of recreational and medical marijuana. However, if he decides to push through with them, expect that he will pull all the stops to implement his plans. Most likely to become the country’s top prosecutor against drug use, Sessions is expected to have strong influence on future decisions to be made by the administration that will result to significant effects on the growing cannabis industry and the use of it.

However, given that U.S. states are focusing on resolving more pressing issues such as child pornography, financial fraud, terrorism, and firearms trafficking, states are less likely to consider cannabis as a threat to their communities.

The lack of a clear stand by Trump against drugs might still be a venue for Sessions to continue his aggressive fight against it. While Trump has applauded Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his current initiatives to curb the issue on drugs, he still has not emphasized his full commitment to what he plans to do on U.S. soil. For some of his fellow politicians who maintain their voice in the issue, Trump is less likely to create a stand that would disappoint his supporters.

If the existing plans are going to push through, Sessions will be sworn in as the new U.S. Attorney General as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, 2017.

[Imge by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Creative Commons]

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

What You Need To Know About California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act

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The passage of Proposition 215 in 1996 legalized medical marijuana. Prior to the passage of Proposition 64, possession or use of marijuana for recreational purposes was illegal.

Last November 9, 2016, the results have finally been announced: the legalization of recreational marijuana use in California. About 56 percent of almost 9 million people voted for the legalization of marijuana.

Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), also known as Proposition 64, is a law that allows adults at least 21 years of age to purchase and use marijuana for personal or recreational purposes. Smoking would only be permitted inside private homes and within businesses that have sought licenses for on-site consumption. This created new two taxes, which will be levied on cultivation and on retail price.

Highlights of the Proposition

Proposition 64 is a 62-page detailed and complicated document that clearly states how California will regulate transportation and sale of marijuana for recreational use as well as imposing higher taxes on it. However, recreational use of marijuana will not be available until stores have been provided with licenses to sell.

California has until January 1, 2018 to issue retail licenses. It will take some time to be able to develop and finalize regulations that will be applied with regards to growth, transport, tests and selling of cannabis.

Proposition 64 contains the following information:

  • This allows adults aged 21 and older to possess, transport and buy up to 28.5 grams of cannabis for recreational use.
  • Proposition 64 may have been the ‘go” signal for cannabis users to have the freedom to smoke, however, smoking in public places is not allowed. Anyone caught to be smoking pot at least 1000 feet away from school, day care centers or any other institutions where there are children will be fined. The same goes when an individual has been caught using weed while driving a motor vehicle, boat or aircraft.
  • A fine of $100 is imposed on anyone caught to be smoking pot in public and $250 fine for those smoking pot near a school and where tobacco smoking is prohibited. Minors who are caught smoking marijuana will be required to complete a drug education program or counseling and up to 10 hours of community service.
  • Proposition 64 does not encourage children in any way to purchase and smoke marijuana. They are prohibited from purchasing from retail stores. Medical marijuana can still be used, however, by people under 21. It has been strictly advised that all marijuana products should be packed in child-resistant containers and should not allow anyone under 21 years old to enter their premises.
  • Despite the legalization of marijuana use, there will never be any television or any form of advertisements. This would prevent from attracting interest among minors. Billboards that are advertising about marijuana will not be allowed along an interstate highway or state highway that crosses the border of another state. In addition, no ads will be allowed anywhere within 1000 feet from schools, day care centers and youth centers.
  • Marijuana is still considered illegal under the federal law. It will never be possible for marijuana to be advertised in any way. If there would be any change in federal law that would include a provision that may allow advertising in print and all other media, it will only be displayed where at least 71.6% of the audience is expected to be 21 years old and older.
  • The legalization of marijuana is not having the total freedom to possess it. There is a need to secure for a license if you ever want to put up a shop and sell pot. Anyone who would want to grow, process, transport or sell marijuana is required to secure a state license and pay a fee (although, that has not been set yet as of now).
  • Businesses or weed retail shops will not be permitted to sell within 600 feet from a school, day care center or youth center.
  • Not anyone who wishes to open up a pot business may be allowed to pursue with the business. Each one must undergo a background check to ensure that they are free from any felony charges that involved with violence, drug trafficking, fraud or selling drugs to minors.
  • Those who will be selling pot are required to abide by the state’s rules and regulations. The following government agencies should be taken note of:
    • Bureau of Marijuana Control (inside the state Department of Consumer Affairs): This agency is in charge of creating, issuing, renewing, and revoking state licenses for the transportation, storage, distribution and sale of marijuana.
    • Department of Food and Agriculture: This is where the license for marijuana growing must be secured from.
    • Department of Public Health: This is the government agency responsible for issuing license for manufacturing marijuana and testing marijuana products.
  • Selling marijuana without a license can result in a misdemeanor charge with penalties serving up to 6 months in jail and $500 fine. Marijuana from illegal selling could be ordered by the court to be destroyed.
  • Taxes imposed on Marijuana will be higher than tobacco and alcohol. It will be taxed by the state, cities and counties. State tax would be around 15% to levy cultivation on the retail sale of marijuana. Cultivation tax on growers will be at $9.25 per ounce for flowers and $2.75 per ounce for leaves. Medical marijuana patients would be exempted from paying state sale taxes.
  • Legalization of adult use of marijuana may mean huge amount of money coming in. State analysts estimate that state taxes on marijuana could generate up to $1 Billion annually to be used for expenses. This should cover the following:
    • Develop programs to reduce driving under the influence of marijuana.
    • Sponsor youth programs that will include drug education, prevention and treatment.
    • Further research and evaluation on the impact of Proposition 64 on issues including health and safety.
    • The state’s cost for running the program and enforcing its regulations.
    • Provide a training program for Highway Patrols to enable them to determine when a motorist is impaired with marijuana use.

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Public Opinion on Recreational Marijuana Legalization

People have varying opinions with regards to the legalization of Marijuana. For the medical marijuana users, this may put a stop on the strain that they feel from others who see them as mere users and not seeing them as their need to be able to be treated with whatever medical condition that they may have. Now that is has been legalized, their choice of using marijuana for their treatment may mean a progress towards health.

Supporters reiterated that the proposition has standards that would protect the children’s safety while allowing responsible adult use of marijuana. In addition to their argument is the decrease in low enforcement cost and be able to support programs which will be funded from the tax imposed on marijuana cultivation and sale. They see this as a good way for legislators from preventing the use of revenues from their pet projects. Also, they expect that this would decrease black market and drug cartel activity.

We may have been presented with the fact that marijuana can provide patients the needed treatment for their conditions, but there are still a lot of people that are fearful because of the legalization of recreational use of marijuana may influence innocent people and eventually might get them hooked on the drug.

While Proposition 64 may have clearly stated its limitations, still some people worry that there would be a widespread use among younger adults because their “small freedom” they will be able to purchase and use marijuana without worries. Apart from this is the possibility that there may be a corporate take-over as they see it as being a great way to drive in money, thus encouraging more people to use marijuana.

The Impact of Adult Use of Marijuana Act in California

With the legalization of marijuana in California, it would mean raking in millions of dollars annually which will be a great help to cover all the programs that are related to drug research, drug education, prevention and treatment.

Among the workplace environment, employers will be keener in checking the behavior and performance of each employee to ensure that they are giving the quality of job that is expected from each of them, as well as ensuring that the workplace is safe from “stoned” employees which may cause accidents during working hours.

Other States Where Recreational Pot Use is Legal

For many years, marijuana was regarded as a stigmatized drug. Despite the number of appeals from its medical benefits, it took some time before it was legalized. It was only last November 9 when California finally had the “yes” vote.

Below are the states where recreational use of marijuana have been legalized:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon
  • Washington

The following states have already allowed usage for medical reasons:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

The District of Columbia has legalized recreational use of marijuana. It allows residents to carry up to 2 ounces of cannabis and own 6 plants. However, it is still illegal to purchase weed in this state.

marijuana use

Conclusion

Prior to voting on whether to legalize marijuana use or not, anti-cannabis advocates may have seen the law as an effective way to keep people from taking the drug out of control since it was not allowed before. Users tend to want to get intoxicated more.

However, with the legalization, this would mean that they will be allowed to use marijuana when they need it. However, there are still rules that need to be followed.

The impact of the legalization of marijuana with regards to the revenue that it can generate will be a huge help for the state as it can start to create programs that will alleviate the government from its costs and will ultimately benefit so many people with regards to drug awareness, prevention and treatment.

Non-supporters are hopeful that by passing Proposition 64, it may be able to create responsible adult marijuana users and not walking cannabis ambassadors for children to imitate. There may be regulations with regards to marketing and advertising which ultimately should focus on protecting children rather than encouraging to take drugs and seeing marijuana as a type of candy available in stores.

Strict implementation of all the regulations with regards to the legalization of recreational marijuana use should be done in order to help protect the community and promote better health.

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