The use of cannabis for medical purposes is a matter of severe debate. The plant has been common in medicine for more than a millennium with aboriginal medicine at its roots. Regardless of the popularity of cannabis, it was banned in 1961 under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (Hall & Weier, 2015). The state was the major stakeholder in opposing the use of cannabis because it went beyond medical purposes only and resulted in significant mental and physical health issues, as well as addiction to it, especially among adolescents and young adults (Hall & Weier, 2015). The decision to ban cannabis was lobbied by hundreds of representatives of influential companies, federal agencies, industries, interest groups, and even powerful individuals due to the influence of the plant.
Still, regardless of the severe debate on the use of cannabis and its influence on health, it is permissible for medical purposes. Nowadays, the rate of prescribing cannabis products is the following: it is legal in Germany, Italy, Israel, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, and several other states, while in the US, it is still illegal. The issue of its permissibility is connected to the adverse health-related effects of the plant.
That being said, it is commonly investigated from the perspective of dental, pulmonary, cardiovascular, and psychological consequences of using it medically. Moreover, special attention is paid to the influence of cannabis on driving and sports achievements. However, according to the current research, health outcomes are adverse and ambiguous, so it is impossible to state whether the plant is harmful of helpful (D. E. Greydanus, Hawver, M. M. Greydanus, & Merrick, 2013).
Still, the policy implications are impressive, as the issue of legalizing cannabis is associated with the need to develop comprehensive policies for regulating the problem as well as dealing with the violations of legislation (Harper, Strumpf, & Kaufman, 2012). Moreover, there are significant differences in the perception of the plant among countries and states that contributes to controversies in regulations (Dills, Coffard, & Mirron, 2016; Hall & Weier, 2015).
Dills, A., Coffard, S., & Mirron, J. (2016). Dose of reality: The effect of state marijuana legalizations. Policy Analysis, 799, 1-35. Web.
Greydanus, D. E., Hawver, E. K., Greydanus, M. M., & Merrick, J. (2013). Marijuana: Current concepts. Frontiers in Public Health, 1(1), 1-17. Web.
Hall, W., & Weier, M. (2015). Assessing the public health impacts of legalizing recreational cannabis use in the USA. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 97(6), 607-615. Web.
Harper, S., Strumpf, E.C. & Kaufman, J.S. (2012). Do medical marijuana laws increase marijuana use? Replication study and extension. Annals of Epidemiology, 22(3), 207–212. Web.