Marijuana use and its distribution raise several complex health social and legal issues in the United States. and restrictiveness of policies Rabbit Polyclonal to OR5B3. was discovered. Further research is needed to determine if this variability impacts recreational meta-iodoHoechst 33258 use in those states. Keywords: medical marijuana laws Introduction While not strictly an illegal drug like many other illicit or Schedule I drugs meta-iodoHoechst 33258 such as methamphetamine or cocaine marijuana is the most commonly used among them in the United States. Approximately 12% of individuals 12 years of age or older reported using this drug in 2103 and rates are the highest at the younger ages (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality 2013 Moreover more Americans now perceive that marijuana is harmless than view it as harmful (Pew Research Center 2013 and it is becoming a popular notion that it should not be regulated or considered illegal. The legal trajectory of marijuana has been a dynamic one from being first classified as a Schedule I substance in the Controlled Substances meta-iodoHoechst 33258 Act of 1970 and further criminalized by the Reagan administration’s War On Drugs in the 1980’s to California being the first state to allow medical marijuana in 1996. Despite the continuation of the federal prohibition of any use of marijuana products (a synthetic version Marinol is permissible for limited medical conditions) the use of both recreational and medicinal marijuana has been entirely legalized in the states of Colorado Washington Alaska and Oregon and the District of Columbia. Twenty-three other states have medical use or decriminalization laws or both (see www.learnaboutsam.org) and it is anticipated that the next few years will bring additional changes to the legal marijuana landscape. As policy shifts toward medicalization and legalization of marijuana it is reasonable to expect that prevalence rates and resulting health consequences will increase. Use of marijuana has been linked to negative health effects but the evidence varies as a function of age of user whether use is occasional or heavy and health domain and is largely correlational in nature (Volkow Baler Compton & Weiss 2014 Nonetheless the summary by Volkow and colleagues (2014) of the literature identified four areas of health with strong links between marijuana use and adverse effects: addiction to marijuana and other substances diminished life achievement motor meta-iodoHoechst 33258 vehicle accidents and symptoms of chronic bronchitis. These effects are greater for individuals who initiate use during adolescence and have heavy and long-term patterns of use. In contrast to these reports of possible negative health consequences there are credible reports by individuals suffering from chronic pain and a variety of chronic illnesses (seizure disorders cancer glaucoma multiple sclerosis AIDS wasting syndrome) that smoking marijuana improved their conditions when standard treatments did not (e.g. Meinck Schonle & Conrad 1989 Also among patients recovering from opiate addiction those who smoked marijuana experienced less severe withdrawal symptoms (Scavone Sterling Weinstein & Von Bockstaele 2013 The 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine concluded that among the more than 400 known elements and compounds within a typical marijuana plant some of them are associated with genuine medicinal effects for the treatment of pain and additional medical symptoms (Watson Benson & Joy 2000 As laws and attitudes concerning the permissiveness of cannabis use continue to shift it is germane to reflect and summarize the current state of the regulations surrounding this drug. Individual claims are exercising freedom with respect to establishing the context under which possession and use are legal and there is a great deal of variability as to which medical conditions are eligible for medical cannabis as well as the particular controls and boundaries founded by these laws. For example some medical cannabis claims permit an individual to grow their personal vegetation whereas others do not; some claims possess a limited list of medical conditions and some are quite liberal in this area. It is important to characterize this variability among claims in order to facilitate evaluations as to which regulations protect the patient.