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As Record Number of States Vote on Marijuana, Public Health Questions Remain

As support grows for legalized marijuana, a record number of states are voting on marijuana laws that would allow its use for medicinal purposes. While one of the first states to legalize recreational use, Colorado, hasn’t reported any dramatic negative impact to its loosened law, the state has seen a few problems, such as increases in ER visits by users and accidental ingestion by children, PBS News Hour reports.

On the flip side, it’s good news that the state also noted that another concern — that young people might increase their use of marijuana as a street drug — has not come to pass. According to estimates, between 85 and 95 percent of Americans are in favor of medical cannabis, and nearly 60 percent support complete legalization of marijuana. And, contrary to what you might think, a majority of physicians — 76 percent — approve of the use of medical marijuana.

Most likely this is because these physicians recognize the positive effects of medical cannabis, including reduction of neuropathic pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), reduction (and in some cases elimination) of epileptic seizures, and in treatment for cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s and many other conditions. It also has long been known to treat chronic pain.

Fortunately, awareness of the value of medical marijuana is starting to shift. Even the U.S. Surgeon General has spoken in favor of medical marijuana, echoing a growing sentiment in the medical and scientific communities that the health benefits of marijuana should no longer be ignored.
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