The Surprising Group That’s Saying “Legalize It”

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A close-up of marijuana leaves

According to a new survey called Marijuana On Main Street,  the legalization of medical marijuana has the support of a surprising group of people.

The survey, which was conducted by WebMD/Medscape, has concluded that 69 percent of doctors feel that medical marijuana can help with certain conditions and treatments.

Interestingly, only 52 percent of consumers agreed.

The Breakdown

Doctors who took part in the survey say that:

  • 69% say it can help with certain treatments and conditions.
  • 67% say it should be a medical option for patients.
  • 56% support making it legal nationwide.
  • 50% of doctors in states where it is not legal say it should be legal in their states.
  • 52% of doctors in states considering new laws say it should be legal in their states.

Why?

Medical marijuana can be used to treat many different disorders and conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, glaucoma and severe seizure disorders. Recently, the Epilepsy Foundation called on the Drug Enforcement Administration to relax its restrictions on marijuana so that it can be properly studied, as did two prominent epilepsy researchers.

In the survey, support for medical marijuana was highest among cancer specialists (oncologists) and blood disorder specialists (hematologists). For those two groups, 82 percent said marijuana can provide real benefits to patients.

One of the common denominators? Pain management.

“One of the most documented uses of medical marijuana is in the treatment of pain. Medical marijuana may be a better painkiller than narcotic painkillers, like oxycodone, with less potential for addiction,” says WebMD Chief Medical Editor Michael W. Smith, MD. “More research will help us better understand how best to use medical marijuana in the treatment of many conditions that cause chronic pain.”

And…Recreational Use?

Colorado opened its first stores for the recreational use of marijuana on the first day of 2014, and similar stores are set to open in Washington state later on this year. But, perhaps not as surprisingly, the support for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use was lower among both doctors (53 percent) and consumers (51 percent).

Currently, more than 10 states are considering bills to legalize medical marijuana.

 

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