Battle Against Medical Marijuana

Battle Against Medical Marijuana

In the past, medical marijuana has been legal in the state of California. Those carrying a medical marijuana card have been able to purchase marijuana at dispensaries across the state. However, last month the dispensaries were out lawed by the state. In retaliation an army of signature-gatherers has hit Los Angeles streets in recent weeks in order to drive repeal against the recent ban on marijuana dispensaries. If activists can collect about 27,400 names required within the next three weeks, a referendum to overturn the ban will go beforeCalifornia voters in March.

Officials celebrated the ordinance when it was passed, saying it gave the city a long awaited legal instrument to shut down marijuana dispensaries. Many dispensaries reel in repeated complaints from local neighbors.” But some defiant dispensary owners have vowed to keep their doors open, even as the city has begun notifying them that they must shut down by September 6th 2012. In a letter mailed this week, the city of Los Angele warned dispensary operators that they risk jail time and fines of up to $2,500 a day if they fail to comply with the ban. The new law prohibits storefront sales of marijuana but allows groups of three or fewer to cultivate and share the drug.

Though medical marijuana can be a great tool for those experiencing excruciating pain (i.e. chemotherapy), many believe the use of it leads to more problems, such as addictions. In the book,The Science of Marijuana by Leslie Iverson, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Cambridge in England, both laboratory research and survey research show marijuana can be addicting. Based on scientific literature and studies, between 10 to 30% of regular users will develop an addiction. Only about 9% will have a serious addiction. Is it the states job to protect that 9% from the accessibility to marijuana? Is the life of 9% worth saving? What do you think? The verdict is still out.

Marijuana addiction and Complications

Managing Medical Complications of 5 Commonly Abused Substances:

If we’ve learned anything in this recent era of progressive marijuana legalization we’ve learned that marijuana is here to stay. Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug worldwide, and the recent prevalence of marijuana dispensaries in California is making the use of marijuana somewhat of an epidemic.  New ways to ingest marijuana are now available, including edible marijuana and even drinkable marijuana mixtures (like tincture).

Here are some of the side effects of chronic marijuana use:

Pulmonary Complications

The vast majority of marijuana users use it by smoking it.  Of course, smoking leads to pulmonary issues. Even infrequent marijuana use can possibly lead to burning and stinging of the mouth and throat, possibly accompanied by a heavy cough. Regular users may develop complications similar to chronic tobacco use: daily cough, chronic phlegm production, susceptibility to lung infections (such as acute bronchitis), and potential for airway obstruction.

Smoking marijuana can triple the likelihood that the user will develop cancer of the respiratory tract or lungs.

Cardiac Complications

Frequent marijuana use decreases blood pressure.  The resulting symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Syncope
  • Falls
  • Injuries

Increased cardiac output and cardiac work—coupled with a decreased capacity to carry oxygen—can lead to angina or acute coronary syndrome.  These developments are much more common in mature adults than younger users.  Angina and acute coronary syndrome are even more likely in older adults with preexisting cardiovascular disease.  Marijuana use has also been linked to cardiac arrhythmias.

Long-term heavy users of marijuana seem to develop tolerance to some cardiovascular effects, but blood volume overall increases, heart rate slows, and circulatory responses to exercise are diminished.

Cognitive Impairment

Marijuana has been proven to reduce short term memory, but beyond that, there is a lot of debate about the severity of marijuana’s effects on the mind. Chronic marijuana users have demonstrated cognitive impairment—particularly on memory of word lists and attention tasks – but there is debate as to whether these effects are permanent or reversible.  Some studies show persistent cognitive impairments in longer-term cannabis users, even after 2 years of abstinence. However, most studies suggest that marijuana-associated cognitive deficits are reversible and related to recent exposure.

Marijuana Addiction and Treatment

Most of the men who come to treatment at our facility are being treated for addiction to other substances (like cocaine, opiates, or alcohol).  Still, many of them are marijuana users as well to the point of being psychologically addicted to marijuana.  If you are concerned about your own marijuana use or the marijuana use of someone you love, please contact our team of intake specialists who will be able to answer questions about the use of the drug.

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