It no longer seems like a matter of if, but a matter of when the federal U.S. government will recognize legitimate medical uses for marijuana. Cannabidiol (‘CBD’), a less psychoactive chemical found in the marijuana plant, has a wide range of demonstrated medical applications for conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, schizophrenia, nausea, and seizures, and has even been used to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Tetrahydrocannabinol (‘THC’), CBD’s psychoactive big brother, has also been used to address medical conditions such as neuropathic and chronic pain.
ProCon.org — an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization – estimates that there are at least 2.4 million medical marijuana patients in the United States. This estimate, extrapolated based off of the number of patients currently in the system, likely understates the true number of people who could use cannabis for a legitimate medical reason. Under federal law (the Controlled Substances Act), cannabis and cannabis resin are Schedule I drugs, putting them in league with LSD, MDMA (aka ecstasy), heroin, and psilocybin.
This fact has hamstringed the medical marijuana movement. Patients, doctors, and researchers have been dissuaded from pursuing cannabis as a viable prescription for the myriad maladies and sicknesses that it can help treat because of federal laws and social stigma inspired by misinformation.