Medical Cannabis: not Just for The Dying

Background: It was never the intention of patients or the elected officials who have helped to pass medical cannabis laws that medical cannabis should only be for the dying. In fact, most of the patients who have pioneered such laws are not terminally ill, but suffer from such maladies as glaucoma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, HIV, and chronic pain. As such, all state medical cannabis laws that have been passed were adopted with the intention of protecting and providing safe access to a patient population that suffers from a wide array of medical conditions, not simply terminal illnesses.

Findings: The first medical cannabis law passed in the U.S. ensured that “seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use cannabis for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the persons health would benefit from the use of cannabis in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine or any other illness for which cannabis provides relief.” Subsequent state laws have also incorporated a wide array of medical conditions and have decided not to restrict medical cannabis use only to those patients who are terminally ill. These decisions have reflected reports and studies from countless patients who have treated serious but not necessarily life-threatening illnesses.

Position: Given that scientific studies have shown that cannabis counteracts or mitigates a number of illnesses and side effects from other treatments, patients deserve choices in their health care options and should not have to be terminally ill in order to take advantage of the proven benefits of medical cannabis.