Marijuana is pure evil, according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart. Speaking during an official congressional testimony to Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Leonhart told Congress that "all illegal drugs in Schedule I are addictive" and constantly repeated that "all illegal drugs are bad."
There's just one problem: legalizing medicual marijuana will have the exact opposite consequence on America. Need proof? There are 22 diseases that can be effectively treated using cannabis. That's right, 22.
1. HIV: Regular doses of THC can modify T cell count and decrease the damage to immune tissue in infected primates.
2. Obesity: The prevalence of obesity is lower among cannabis users.
3. Head and neck cancers: Moderate cannabis users have lower risk of head and neck cancers.
4. Seizures: Through the anticonvulsant properties of two chemical agents in the plant, cannabis is a highly effective treatment to prevent chronic seizures.
5. Brain degeneration: Cannabinoids reduce the effects of brain aging.
6. Brain inflammation: THC and CBD are neuroprotective antioxidants, and are equally or more effective than other pharmaceutical treatments, but without the damaging side effects.
7. Autoimmune disease: THC may modify DNA to reduce autoimmune reactions like chronic inflammation.
8. Cancer: Six different cannabinoids combat the growth of cancer cells.
9. Heart disease: Low doses of THC can help to prevent pulmonary heart disease.
10. PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder causes an imbalance of cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which can be brought to balance using cannabis.
11. Osteoarthritis: Cannabis reduces the pain caused by osteoarthritis by correcting an imbalance of cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
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12. Crohn's disease: High-THC cannabis has the ability to put Crohn's disease into remission, and is an effective treatment without the negative side effects of traditional steroid treatments.
13. Diabetes: Diabetics who regularly use cannabis have lower levels of fasting insulin.
14. Meth-related brain damage: Delta-9-THC reduces the effects of neurotoxicity caused by prolonged methamphetamine use.
15. Alzheimer's: While existing Alzheimer's treatments target the disease's symptoms, cannabis is a promising therapy to undo its degenerative effects.
16. Depression: "Across four methodologically diverse samples, marijuana use consistently buffered people from the negative consequences associated with loneliness and social exclusion."
17. Chemotherapy side effects: Cannabis treats the side effects of chemotherapy, like nausea and appetite loss, without inhibiting the effectiveness of chemotherapy in battling cancer.
18. Glaucoma: Cannabis reduces intraocular pressure, the effect of the disease that causes blindness.
19. ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease): Cannabis may correct imbalances in the endocannabinoid system that coincide with neurological degeneration.
20. Sleep apnea: Cannabis stabilizes the involuntary autonomic nervous system during sleep, reducing sleep-disordered breathing.
21. Multiple sclerosis: Cannabis extract may lower the frequency of spasms and diminish immobility caused by MS.
22. Bipolar disorder: This study found that bipolar subjects with a history of cannabis use had better neurocognitive function than those with no history of cannabis use.
Sorry, Leonhart, you're just wrong: Medical marijauna is on an unstoppable upswing in the U.S. Support is coming from both sides of the aisle, the FDA is close to making major moves towards making it a legal pharmaceutical and more and more states are considering, or already making, the push towards legalizing medical marijuana. Twenty-three states now allow medical marijuana use, and 11 others have limited allowances for CBD (one of the therapeutic compounds in the plant).
If there's any doubt as to whether legalizing will have a positive impact, let the list above be the judge.