Medical Marijuana

Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded. Of all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.

Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective.While much of the renewed interest in cannabinoid therapeutics is a result of the discovery of the endocannabinoid regulatory system, some of this increased attention is also due to the growing body of testimonials from medical cannabis patients and their physicians.

Currently, more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s supervision.

Legal Issues

Driven by the Drug War, the U.S. prison population is six to ten times as high as most Western European nations. Last year, more than 600,000 people were arrested in this country for marijuana-related offenses alone. Marijuana prohibition causes more problems than it solves, and ruins thousands more lives than it supposedly tries to save.

Industrial Hemp

Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It is a tall, slender, fibrous plant similar to flax or kenaf. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed and other products.

Hemp produces a much higher yield per acre than do common substitutes such as cotton and requires few pesticides. In addition, hemp has an average growing cycle of only 100 days and leaves the soil virtually weed-free for the next planting.

The hemp plant is currently harvested for commercial purposes in over 30 nations, including Canada, Japan and the European Union. Although it grows wild across much of America and presents no public health or safety threat, hemp is nevertheless routinely uprooted and destroyed by law enforcement. Each year, millions of marijuana plants eliminated by the DEA’s “Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program” is actually hemp.

Marijuana Research Library

For over 40 years, NORML has served as a clearinghouse for marijuana-related information that includes health reports, the latest national and state polls, written testimony, and arrest data. To date, there are approximately 22,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature referencing the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, nearly half of which were published within ten years.