The use of marijuana drugs has always been a very controversial subject. And this is because its supporters claim physical benefits while its critics support the social and economic disadvantages of using them.
Recently, there has been lots of pressure on state legislatures across the United States to decriminalize weed. According to advocacy groups, smoking cannabis is an effective and safe treatment for numerous medical and psychological conditions.
Decriminalize Cannabis: What Does It Mean?
To decriminalize cannabis implies that it would remain illegal; however, the legal system will not prosecute any individual found in possession of a specified amount of cannabis. Instead, penalties may range from no penalties or sanctions at all to drug education, civil fines, or drug treatment.
Up to 27 different states, including Washington DC, have decriminalized cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. The most recent states that moved in this direction are Virginia and Illinois.
In 2015, Colorado State earned an astonishing $996 million from the sale of marijuana alone. This has given a significant boost to those supporters that it could be a remarkable financial success if further research is done. This is despite the fact that the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to recognize or approve the marijuana plant as medicine.
Approved and Investigational Marijuana Products
The CSA (Controlled Substance Act) of 1990 – in the United States – classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance. It states that it has an incredibly high potential for abuse and therefore not approved for medical use.
However, the in-depth scientific study of the chemicals in cannabis – known as cannabinoids – has led to the production of prescription medications in pill form.
The FDA may not have approved any marketing application for cannabis for treating any health condition or disease. Nevertheless, the agency has approved one cannabis-laden drug product known as Epidiolex (cannabidiol). Another three marijuana drug products have been approved as well:
- Marinol (Dronabinol)
- Cesamet (Nabilone)
- Syndros (Dronabinol)
These FDA-approved marijuana drugs are only available with prescriptions from licensed health care providers.
Epidiolex: The FDA-approved Marijuana Drug
Epidiolex is a prescription drug that contains a highly purified form of CBD (cannabidiol). The FDA has officially approved the marijuana drug for the treatment of seizures generally associated with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in patients two years old or more. The agency approved this marijuana drug by concluding that it is effective and safe for its intended use.
Although marijuana contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), Epidiolex contains only the non-intoxicating CBD. This means that users will never feel ‘high,’ a phenomenon that is commonly associated with marijuana, or more specifically, THC.
What Has Happened In States That Have Already Decriminalized Marijuana Drugs?
There is substantial evidence in states that have decriminalized cannabis that usage of the sot drug among teenagers has stayed the same or decreased. Additional research also indicates that among adults aged 26 and older, legislation has resulted in more – instead of less – use of cannabis.
And evidence has also emerged which links regular usage of potent strains of cannabis to an increased risk of mental health conditions, especially among young individuals.
To decriminalize weed will be highly beneficial, especially when compared to the age-old policy of strict criminal prohibition.
However, designated dispensers and strict measures should be put in place to control marijuana in the health care sector. In that case, the government will have little to no challenge when they decriminalize cannabis.