IN THE wake of debates to legalize marijuana in the United States, its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled out any sound scientific study supporting the medical benefits of the “weed”.

Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana, an opponent of medical marijuana initiatives, claimed that efforts to legalize the therapeutic use of the depressant herb are just a front for the drug’s lucrative trade. Marijuana is legal in Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, and ten US states.

Biochemistry professor Dr. Mafel Ysrael said marijuana intake causes physical dependence, even if taken in regulated amounts.

“Because of its effect on psychosis, a mental state in which thought and perception are severely impaired, marijuana gives a feeling of well-being that can cause dependence,” she explained.

But if marijuana has any benefit, Ysrael suggested that its components should come in a form of a tablet or a capsule, not necessarily legalizing marijuana sale.

The FDA statement contradicted a 1999 study of the US-based Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. The study found marijuana to be “moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and AIDS wasting or the involuntary loss of body weight, accompanied with either diarrhea, or weakness and fever, for at least a month.”

Ysrael said marijuana shares medicinal uses with other legal medicines, aside from cases reviewed by the Institute.

Marijuana is believed to relax muscles, improve mood, stimulate appetite, induce anti-cancer body reactions, and other supplementary effects, Ysrael said.

Opposing camps, however, agree that marijuana should never be considered part of one’s health options. Laurence John R. Morales

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