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Marijuana/Medical Marijuana: Home

This guide provides sources to learn more about the ethical, legal and moral aspects of marijuana use, medical marijuana and marijuana legalization.

Marijuana: Facts About Cannibas

Flickr image credit: Tomas de Aquino

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      Marijuana is the slang term for portions of the Cannabis plant. It is one of the oldest psychoactive substances used by man.

   Marijuana, also called pot, weed, ganja, mary jane, and a host of other nicknames, is made from the Cannabis plant, which has three species:Cannabis sativaCannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis

   The flowering plant, which can grow to 16 feet (5 meters) high, likely originates in the Central Asian steppe, near the Altai or Tian Shian Mountains, and was first cultivated in China and India, according to "Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Potential," (Routledge, 2002).

   Medical marijuana advocates tout the drugs' ability to soothe nausea and increase appetite, quiet pain, soothe anxiety and even reduce epileptic seizures. However, because research on the drug is so tightly restricted, few studies have tested these medical claims.

   Short-term use of the drug impairs thinking and coordination, and in long-term studies, teens who smoke marijuana have lower IQs later on, as well as structural differences in their brains, though scientists debate whether this is an effect of the drug or a result of habitual pot smokers seeking out less intellectually stimulating pursuits. Marijuana use has been linked to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, according to NIDA. Marijuana smokers are also likelier to suffer from bronchitis, according to a 2014 New England Journal of Medicine review of marijuana's health effects.





Quick Facts

  • More than 45% of American adults report that they have used marijuana.
  • Marijuana has been consumed for at least 5,000 years and has a long history of traditional uses throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
  • The marijuana plant contains more than 70 compounds called cannabinoids in its leaves and flowers. The most commonly known of these is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is psychoactive. However, there are numerous non-psychoactive, yet highly therapeutic cannabinoids in marijuana as well.
  • U.S. marijuana policy is unique among American criminal laws - no other law is enforced so widely and harshly, yet deemed unnecessary by such a substantial portion of the population.
  • The price tag of marijuana prohibition is currently estimated at $20 billion per year, including costs to law enforcement and lost potential tax revenue.
  • Recent polls suggest that between 46% and 58% of the American population believe marijuana should be legally regulated, while support for allowing the medical use of marijuana is about 80%.
  • Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. have approved the medical use of marijuana, 16 states and D.C. have decriminalized its use, and in 2012 Colorado and Washington voters made their states the first political jurisdictions anywhere in the world to legally regulate the production and distribution of marijuana.

From Drug Policy Alliance

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative (2016)

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative did not make the November 8, 2016 ballot in Nebraska as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would have legalized personal noncommercial cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana for any patient with a debilitating medical condition as determined by a licensed physician.

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