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Meaningful Marijuana 

94 percent of U.S. research is aimed at finding negative effects of marijuana

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Greetings readers. This is my first article for the Tucson Weekly. My Mary Jane Doe cannabis column will be a mix of news, opinions and reviews. Sometimes all in the same article.

I have known and believed in the medicinal power of cannabis since the '90s, when my friend credited it with saving his life. His illness made it impossible for him to keep food down. He was malnourished and dying until he found marijuana.

If a pill had contributed to his recovery, it would have been rushed to mass production, but it was weed.

The medicinal power of cannabis is becoming more accepted, but there is still a lack of meaningful studies on the positive effects of marijuana.

Stigmas and ignorance still exist. There is a belief that all marijuana is the same and only gives you the munchies while you enjoy bad TV. That is not true.

With more knowledge comes understanding.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, reversed his opinion on medical marijuana. "We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that," Gupta wrote in a 2013 CNN article.

Misleading information helps explain why almost all research and tests done on marijuana were aimed at finding negative effects. That made it hard for doctors to support medical marijuana, as Gupta admits. Just four years before his CNN article, he wrote an article for Time magazine about why he was against MMJ.

Ignorance is dangerous. Kowledge is power. History has shown us this lesson over and over again. More meaningful tests will show the medical benefits of marijuana, and more people will lose their ignorance.

Parents with a sick child should not be criticized for using marijuana as an option for their child when there may not be any other viable options.

The story of Charlotte Figi was one case of many that showed Gupta the medicinal value of MMJ. A 2013 CNN article by Saundra Young details the case:

Figi started having seizures after birth and was having experiencing 300 a week by the time she was 3. MMJ calmed her brain and limited her seizures to two or three per month.

"I have seen more patients like Charlotte first hand, spent time with them and came to the realization that it is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community," Gupta wrote.

As more states pass favorable marijuana laws, more people will support MMJ. More support will hopefully lead to meaningful studies on the positive effects of MMJ.

Only 6 percent of U.S. marijuana studies investigate the benefits of medical marijuana, according to Gupta's 2013 CNN article.

Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general, has spoken and written about the positive effects of MMJ.

In a 2004 article for the Providence Journal, Elders wrote, "The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS—or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day."

Gupta's article shows the importance of medical marijuana and the importance of real studies.

"Most frightening to me is that someone dies in the United States every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose," Gupta wrote. "As much as I searched, I could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose."

I would love to hear your opinions, comments or suggestions for future stories. Email me at tucsonweekly@tucsonlocalmedia.com.

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