OK: Medical Marijuana – An Idea Long And Widely In Use

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If Oklahomans pass State Question 788 on June 26 they will open the door to medical marijuana in the state.

But, passing SQ788 won’t put Oklahoma in new territory for the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people have used cannabis, also called marijuana, “for a variety of health conditions for at least 3,000 years,” with another NIH report citing as many as 5,000 years.

In a 2017 article, the NIH stated “cannabis was widely utilized as a patent medicine during the 19th and early 20th centuries” in the United States, and was first listed as a pharmaceutical drug in the U.S. in 1850.

Marijuana use wasn’t federally regulated in the U.S. until 1937, according to the NIH article.

The NIH pointed out that today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t certified marijuana “safe or effective for treating any health problems.”

Marijuana still is listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic by the federal government, which makes it illegal at the national level and in interstate commerce and limits research in this country into the plant’s medicinal properties.

But, despite the federal laws on marijuana, 30 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam all have passed laws allowing medical marijuana.

California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since then, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Vermont and Maine have legalized adult use, or recreational, marijuana in addition to medical cannabis.

In the southwest, Arizona, New Mexico and Arkansas all have passed measures authorizing medical marijuana.

Oklahoma currently is one of 17 states that permit the sale of cannabidiol (CBD) oil and products, derived from a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, but not products with a significant concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana also widely used for pain management and treatment of chronic illnesses.

More than 25 nations currently have legalized medical marijuana, including Canada, Mexico, Italy, Israel, Germany, Australia and the Scandinavian nations.

According to a March article in The Telegraph, the United Kingdom now is the world’s largest exporter of medical marijuana, despite its use still being banned there.

Israel, Canada and the Netherlands all have government-sponsored cannabis research programs. Israel leads the world in clinical trials of medical marijuana, according to an April 11, 2017 U.S. News & World Report article, which cited 110 clinical trials underway in Israel at that time.

According to the U.S.-based business consulting firm Grand View Research, medical marijuana is projected to grow to a $55.8 billion global industry by 2025.