While 29 states as well as The District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana programs in some form, there are great disparages concerning exactly what it means to be a “cannabis patient.” To illustrate, all that you need to get a “doctor’s recommendation” for medical marijuana in California is a state issued ID and some sort of subjectively formulated “ailment.”
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For many medical cannabis doctors in California, patients do not need to substantiate these medical claims with any paper work whatsoever. Point being, attaining legal, medically sanctioned cannabis in California is simple—almost to the point of blatant exploitation on the part of doctors. To turn to the other side of the nation, in New Jersey the medical marijuana program is currently in the threshold of debate concerning subjective views and objective fact pertaining to the herb’s true medicinal value. Quite the opposite of California, the medical marijuana program in New Jersey has been recognized as one of the most regulated in the nation—with only 13,200 registered patients with mostly terminal diagnoses.
Cannabis advocates in New Jersey are pressing to have the number of the state’s qualified list of medical marijuana ailments raised from 12 to 55. For those that are suffering from, or have family members diagnosed with, medical issues such as autism, chronic pain, arthritis, and migraine headaches this push for an expanded list of state sanctioned ailments is long overdue. To add to the overall complexity of the debate, cannabis advocates are also pressing for more subjectively qualified conditions to be added to the list—including treatment for opioid addiction and anxiety. Perhaps these less medically recognized (and sometimes personally manifested) disorders are causing the most resistance on the conservative side of the debate. Because, both addictive behaviors and anxiety are extremely difficult to diagnose in an objective fashion. Point being, by endorsing these subjective disorders New Jersey could open itself up to the sort of “free-wheeling” medical marijuana market currently taking place in California—with potential influxes in “grey market” cannabis activity.
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Legal speculation aside, for those suffering from debilitating disorders such as chronic pain and autism the option of medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription medications is a welcome concept. Quite notably, and not without irony, the use of cannabis to sooth chronic pain problems can greatly help circumvent the prescriptions of powerful opioids. These life-debilitating drugs often lead to intense physical addictions that, as aforementioned, can also be treated with medical marijuana. For autistic patients, a number of reputable studies have taken place in Israel which show that the use of medical cannabis can greatly improve the quality of one’s life. Most notably, and in one of the most extreme cases of the Israeli studies, a mother reported that her 12 year old autistic son is now “speaking relentlessly” due to cannabis use, after never uttering a word in his entire life.