It also educates those who don’t understand the disease.
American views on marijuana legalization have changed drastically over the past two decades. In 2000, 31% of Americans favored legalization, and in 2018, that number has nearly doubled to 61%. But there is still a stark contrast between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.
Throw around the word “opioid”—a morphine-derived painkiller like heroin, Vicodin, or Oxycontin—and “epidemic” is likely to follow. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that U.S. deaths from opioid abuse are at a record high, with 78 fatalities occurring every day, a number that has quadrupled since 1999. A 2016 Kaiser Health survey found that nearly half of respondents reported knowing someone with an addiction to heroin, which in certain parts of the country is becoming a cheap, easily accessible alternative once the prescription runs out.
A bright spot in the 2016 election was that four states, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine all voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Now 26 states and the District of Columbia have legalized pot in some form whether for medical or recreational use. Given recent sales figures out of Colorado, states that have chosen to legalize it should be in for a major economic boom.
Scientific momentum is so strong in the cannabis industry that even our straight-arrow federal government wants in. While the Drug Enforcement Administration still clings to the claim that the plant has no medical value, the National Institutes of Health funded 49 projects examining the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids last year. The NIH is also ramping up production at the University of Mississippi’s only federally funded marijuana farm, the exclusive supplier for Federal Drug Administration-approved studies. Here are some of the trailblazers to watch:
The California-based nonprofit made history when it announced plans to study cannabis as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in U.S. veterans. Its clinical trial investigating “smoked botanical marijuana” was the first to receive both FDA and DEA approval.