Medical Marijuana in SC
February 22, 2007
Live 5 News, WCSC TV CharlestonLater today (2/22) the legislature in the State of Vermont will take up a proposed law to legalize marijuana for medical use. 10 states across the nation expect to take up a vote on allowing patients to use the drug. A similar bill is being pushed in South Carolina by State Senator Bill Mecher. Mecher says he wants to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes after watching his first wife suffer a painful death due to lung cancer. He believes the drug could have eased her suffering.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in this country, but at least 10 states have already made it legal for medical purposes. According to the national survey on drug use and health, 40% of Americans over the age of 12 have already tried the drug.
Minnesota, New Mexico, Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, New Hampshire, New jersey and Connecticut are all considering some form of legislation to make it legal despite fierce opposition.
Research and debate into the possible side effects of the drug has ramped up with so much legal attention. Those in favor of legalizing the drug point to its pain relieving qualities, especially for chronically ill patients who don’t respond to other pain medications.
A new study on HIV patents at the University of California found some benefits, but researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory found the drug alters the structure of the brain’s chemistry, and one researcher says user run the risk that alterations might manifest themselves decades down the line.
Impaired memory, feelings of anxiety, and frequent respiratory infections are just some of the symptoms.
Another problem with the drug is how it will be taken; the smokeable form is raising concerns of cancer risk.
The American Cancer Society does not endorse smoking marijuana, or its legalization, but they have been awarded a grant to work on a patch containing the drug in marijuana for chemotherapy patients. One study found it helps with their nausea and boosts their appetites. In Canada a spray form of the drug is already legal for patients.