Amid the growing clamor for legalizing medical marijuana in the United States, the federal government has once again made it clear that it will not support any such demands. Recently, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar denied the very existence of medical cannabis. “There really is no such thing as medical marijuana. There is no FDA-approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that,” Azar said, while addressing a press conference on the opioid epidemic in Ohio on March 2, 2018.
The statement given by Azar is in sharp contrast to recent studies, which claimed that medical cannabis could actually help people wean off opioid addiction. It also has the potential to keep people away from drugs like Percocet and other opioid painkillers. However, rather than acknowledging the stark differences between the state and federal laws, Azar seemed to reinforce the Trump administration’s position during the discussion on opioid addiction that killed thousands in 2016 alone.
Advocates of medical marijuana would definitely take Azar’s view with a pinch of salt. It has not gone down well with them who claim that people would be deprived of the benefits of using medical marijuana. For them, Azar’s definition of the medical use of cannabis is sheer outdated. Notably, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and more are in queue to join the legalization wave. Legalizing medical marijuana has been a long-standing battle between the federal and the state governments.
Marijuana is addictive
Though marijuana may have some medicinal properties, there is no denying the fact that it is a highly addictive substance. Studies show that cannabis is a gateway drug to other hard drugs. People may start with smoking marijuana, but end up using more harmful substances after developing a drug-seeking habit. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the neurotoxin present in marijuana, is the main reason why people get addicted to the drug. Some researches suggest that early exposure to cannabinoids, just like nicotine and alcohol, may alter the brain’s reward system by generating a dopamine rush that can lead to addiction.
Marijuana is among the most abused illicit substances in the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, an estimated 24 million Americans aged 12 or older were current users of marijuana. The NSDUH data also shows that nearly 4 million people in the same age group had a marijuana use disorder in the past year. However, weed addiction is a treatable disease. If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction, seek immediate help from a top-notch rehab center in your vicinity. With an early intervention, anyone can become sober and lead an addiction-free life.
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