In 1996, California was the first state to legalize the use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes. Since then, the past decade has been ripe with research into the potential medicinal benefits of Cannabis. During this time we have learned that Cannabis can potentially treat such an enormous list of illnesses that the justification for its status as a schedule 1 illegal drug is being called into question.
Proponents of medical marijuana claim that cannabis can be used to treat over 150 different ailments such as sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, back pain, shingles, epilepsy, seizures, Chrohn’s disease, restless leg syndrome, PTSD, MS, autoimmune disease, autism, alcoholism and much more. Because of this, cannabis is being dubbed the ‘miracle drug’ by many, including the parents of children who have suffered from seizures and other debilitating diseases, only to be saved or seriously aided by the use of cannabis compounds.
But cannabis is not only a treatment for seizures and back pain. Another exciting area of research is the potential for cannabis in treating cancer. There have been over a hundred scientific studies which conclude that cannabis compounds can play a vital role in the treatment cancer, with multiple documented cases proving this to be true. The National Cancer Institute even admits that “Cannabinoids may have benefits in the treatment of cancer-related side effects.”
One study titled, ‘Inhibition of skin tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo by activation of cannabinoid receptors’ states in part that “activation of cannabinoid receptors induced the apoptotic death of tumorigenic epidermal cells”. It goes on:
“Local administration of the mixed CB(1)/CB(2) agonist WIN-55,212-2 or the selective CB(2) agonist JWH-133 [cannabinoids] induced a considerable growth inhibition of malignant tumors generated by inoculation of epidermal tumor cells into nude mice. Cannabinoid-treated tumors showed an increased number of apoptotic cells. This was accompanied by impairment of tumor vascularization, as determined by altered blood vessel morphology and decreased expression of proangiogenic factors” and concludes “These results support a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of skin tumors.”
Another study concludes that “CB(2) receptors could be used for developing innovative therapeutic strategies against breast cancer.”
If cannabis is such a great tool for combating cancer, then why is it illegal? The Center for Responsive Politics, an organization dedicated to “tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy” believes that “Money, Not Morals, Drives Marijuana Prohibition”. They believe that a set of five industries with powerful lobbying abilities are the real reason that cannabis is still illegal.
The first is alcohol and beer companies. If cannabis were legal they say, they would have to compete with the cannabis industry for “money Americans devote to leisure pursuits.” This doesn’t necessarily include medical cannabis, but many cannabis proponents believe they fear medical cannabis would only be a stepping stone to full legalization. “In the 2012 campaign cycle, the industry gave nearly $17.8 million to federal candidates, parties and committees,” the Center for Responsive Politics reports.
Next is the private prison industry. Private prisons make money for each person they incarcerate, and they make “millions by incarcerating nonviolent drug users,” largely, from people convicted of marijuana possession or use. This means if laws were to change in regard to the legality of cannabis, their bottom line would flop. “One of the largest for-profit prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America, even stated in a regulatory filing that keeping the drug war alive is essential to its success as a business:
‘[A]ny changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.’”.
Pharmaceutical corporations are perhaps the most obvious. According to Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer/anti-drug war lobbyist claims cannabis can, “tak[e] the place of everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.” This is one of the biggest reasons that medical cannabis is not fully legal. The Center for Responsive Politics concludes:
“In 2013 alone PhRMA spent nearly $18 million on lobbying, ranking it ninth in spending among all lobbying clients. Drug manufacturers gave big in the 2012 elections — nearly $21.8 million to various federal candidates and committees as well as the parties.”
Additionally, Police Unions and Prison Guard Unions, both have similar motives to the private prison industry, and have had significant impact in keeping prohibition going.
The body of evidence supporting the fact that cannabis is one of the most potent and effective natural medicines available continues to grow. So why is it still illegal?
Written by Phillip Schneider and published by Waking Times, November 11, 2015.
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