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Marijuana/Medical Marijuana

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

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mix of dried, crumbled parts from the marijuana plant. The plant contains chemicals which act on your brain and can change your mood or consciousness.

What is Medical Marijuana?

The marijuana plant has chemicals that can help with some health problems. More states are making it legal to use the plant as medicine for certain medical conditions. But there isn't enough research to show that the whole plant works to treat or cure these conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the marijuana plant as a medicine. Marijuana is still illegal at the national level. However, there have been scientific studies of cannabinoids, the chemicals in marijuana. The two main cannabinoids that are of medical interest are THC and CBD. The FDA has approved two drugs that contain THC. These drugs treat nausea caused by chemotherapy and increase appetite in patients who have severe weight loss from AIDS. There is also a liquid drug that contains CBD. It treats two forms of severe childhood epilepsy. Scientists are doing more research with marijuana and its ingredients to treat many diseases and conditions.

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Additional Information

How do people use marijuana?

There are many different ways that people use marijuana, including

  • Rolling it up and smoking it like a cigarette or cigar
  • Smoking it in a pipe
  • Mixing it in food and eating it
  • Brewing it as a tea
  • Smoking oils from the plant ("dabbing")
  • Using electronic vaporizers ("vaping")

What are the effects of marijuana?

Marijuana can cause both short-term and long-term effects.

Short term:

While you are high, you may experience

  • Altered senses, such as seeing brighter colors
  • Altered sense of time, such as minutes seeming like hours
  • Changes in mood
  • Problems with body movement
  • Trouble with thinking, problem-solving, and memory
  • Increased appetite

Long term:

In the long term, marijuana can cause health problems, such as

  • Problems with brain development. People who started using marijuana as teenagers may have trouble with thinking, memory, and learning.
  • Coughing and breathing problems, if you smoke marijuana frequently
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy, if a woman smokes marijuana while pregnant

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Can you overdose on marijuana?

It is possible to overdose on marijuana, if you take a very high dose. Symptoms of an overdose include anxiety, panic, and a rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, an overdose can cause paranoia and hallucinations. There are no reports of people dying from using just marijuana.

Is marijuana addictive?

After using marijuana for a while, it is possible to get addicted to it. You are more likely to become addicted if you use marijuana every day or you started using it when you were a teenager. If you are addicted, you will have a strong need to take the drug. You may also need to smoke more and more of it to get the same high. When you try to quit, you may have mild withdrawal symptoms such as

  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings

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March 2, 2019

A petition to get medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot in Nebraska is officially available for voters to sign after the secretary of state approved the initiative’s language.

Because the state legislature has rejected multiple legislative attempts to establish a medical cannabis program, Sens. Adam Morfeld (D) and Anna Wishart (D) joined with activists to form a committee last year to put the issue before voters instead.

The initiative would “amend the Nebraska Constitution to provide the rights to use, possess, access, and safely produce cannabis, and cannabis products and materials, for serious medical conditions as recommended by a physician or nurse practitioner,” according to the ballot title.

The text of the measure was filed with the Secretary of State for approval earlier this month.

“Today, the Nebraska secretary of state approved our petitions, which allows the campaign to shift into the next phase of the ballot qualification process: signature collecting,” Wishart told Marijuana Moment in an email. “Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws will soon be launching a volunteer signature drive across the state, and we are encouraging supporters to join that effort by signing up through our website nebraskamarijuana.org."

In order to qualify the constitutional amendment for the Nebraska ballot, 10 percent of the state’s registered voters must now sign the petition. The law also requires signatures from five percent of registered voters in at least 38 out of 93 counties for it to be approved.

“In the meantime, we will continue to push for a legislative solution that would provide access to patients sooner than a 2020 ballot initiative,” Wishart said.

But there are serious obstacles for the medical cannabis bill Wishart filed this session. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), for one, has made clear his intent to veto the legislation were it to arrive on his desk.

So far, the bill has at least received a hearing, which involved lengthy testimony from advocates and opponens last month, in the unicameral legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

But given the resistance to reform in the chamber and the governor’s entrenched opposition, it seems like a ballot initiative is the state’s best chance of getting a medical marijuana system in the short-term.

Marijuana Moment

 

 

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