Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use. – Richard M. Nixon
The myth that prescription drugs are safer than marijuana is completely false. Both marijuana and prescription painkillers have potential psychoactive side effects, but the long-term effects of marijuana use appear to be far safer and not at all life-threatening. One study indicates that patients addicted to opiates could experience decreased brain function. Some forms of marijuana, such as cannabidiol (CBD), appear to have no effect on cognitive function at all. For patients suffering from chronic pain, cannabis could offer relief without the negative symptoms of long-term opiate use.
Prescription opiates are derived from the same source as other drugs, such as heroin and morphine. They are highly addictive and frequently abused by teens- 54.2% of pain pills in the US are obtained free from a friend or relative. Some experts link the rise in heroin use to opioid abuse- teens and young adults become more likely to use heroin when pills are unavailable. Many politicians who claim that marijuana is a gateway drug need to consider the reality that opioid painkillers are worse. US citizens make up 5% of the world’s population and consume 75% of the world’s prescription drugs.
A Canadian study tested marijuana on 215 patients with chronic pain. The participants used marijuana medically for one year under careful supervision. The study found that cannabis patients “had no greater risk than non-users (control group) to experience serious adverse events.” The number of people addicted to painkillers is increasing every year and doctors are running out of treatment options. Marijuana could provide a valuable tool for doctors to treat both addiction and pain.