Medical cannabis-use elicits debate across the country. The stakeholders in support of medical marijuana include patients, clinicians, pharmaceutical industry, and nurses (Andreae et al., 2016). Patients with adverse diseases experience severe symptoms that can be alleviated by medical cannabis. Clinicians and nurses believe that cannabinoid drugs can resolve pain, vomiting, nausea, anxiety, and appetite stimulation. The pharmaceutical industry supports medical marijuana because the approval of the drug presents a business opportunity. However, the federal and some state governments classify the drug as Schedule 1 because it has the potential for dependency (Andreae et al., 2016). Furthermore, religious groups believe that marijuana legalization may lead to misuse of the drug, hence corroding the moral structure of the society.
The current research regarding medical marijuana indicates that the drug can be used safely and effectively used to improve the quality of life for patients. After evaluating the therapeutic impacts of cannabis, the Institute of Medicine indicated that the drug had significant therapeutic value due to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). However, their report cautioned against the use of smoked cannabis because it introduces harmful substances into the patient’s body. Studies have found positive impacts of medical marijuana on adverse effects of glaucoma, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). As such, there is a need to perform further research to support the effective and ethical use of the drug.
Over the years, individual states have legalized medical marijuana regardless of the federal statute that prohibits it. Currently, thirty-three states have a comprehensive medical cannabis program, while thirteen states allow limited use of the drug (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). The trend shows that policies and laws will continue to improve the availability of the drug across the country. Such acceptance across the board may influence the federal government to review its current opposition to marijuana legalization. Moreover, new policies and laws will guide nursing practice in advising and prescribing the drug effectively and safely; without skepticism associated with the current criminalization. Ultimately, future practice is likely to improve as patients access effective, safe, and ethical cannabis.
Andreae et al. (2016). Stakeholders’ views on barriers to research on controversial controlled substances. The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 27(4), 308-321.