Global Report: United States

In Feature Stories, Global by Chris Hogg

In the United States, medical marijuana is not legal federally but several states (California, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, and 14 other states) legalized medical marijuana use and production.

Although marijuana was long deemed a Schedule 1 controlled drug, respect for its medical benefits was cemented in March 1999. The U.S. National Institute of Medicine released a major 190-page medical marijuana report, concluding that marijuana may be modestly effective for pain relief (particularly nerve pain), appetite stimulation for people with AIDS wasting syndrome, and control of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting.

By 2013, 18 states approved legalized medical marijuana programs, each having different guidelines to marijuana access. Approximately 2.2 million Americans have accessed medical marijuana through state-approved programs.

Medical marijuana in the U.S. will be an $8.9-billion business in five years, some estimates report. In 2013, U.S. medical marijuana sales are projected to reach $1.5 billion.

Among the many facilities studying medical marijuana in the U.S., a research leader is University of California, home to Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR). In 2010, it most notably found marijuana is effective in relieving pain. It completed more than a dozen studies on medical marijuana effects on the human body.

The U.S. has been breeding accomplished medical marijuana experts for decades. Known across the world, Dr. Lester Grinspoon has received wide attention for his studies on medical marijuana as a professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. One of the first to study marijuana in the 1960s, Grinspoon published two landmark studies and wants to rehabilitate marijuana’s pharmaceutical reputation. He has testified before Congress, and was an expert witness in various legal proceedings, including the deportation hearings of John Lennon.

Recently, some NY lawmakers are pushing to make smoking marijuana legal for people with serious medical conditions. Also, a medical marijuana bill gained final approval in the Maryland House of Delegates following a 108-28 vote on the floor of the House on the third reading of the bill.

An American company MedBox plans to sell medical marijuana from its patented vending machines.
The MedBox is initiated by the users’ finger print identification in combination with a patient number in order to regulate the patient’s access to marijuana.

In Summary:

  • Medical marijuana is not legal federally, but 18 states legalized medical marijuana use and production.
  • Approximately 2.4 million Americans have accessed medical marijuana through state-approved programs.
  • A medical marijuana milestone: March 1999. The U.S. National Institute of Medicine released a major 190-page medical marijuana report concluding that marijuana may be modestly effective for pain relief (particularly nerve pain), appetite stimulation for people with AIDS wasting syndrome, and control of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting.
  • The institution best known for marijuana research is the University of California, home to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR). In 2010, it famously found marijuana to be effective in relieving pain.
  • Marijuana in the U.S is estimated to be a $8.9 billion business in five years.
  • America’s medical marijuana trailblazer is Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. One of the first to study marijuana in the 1960s, Grinspoon published two landmark studies and wants to rehabilitate marijuana’s pharmaceutical reputation. He has testified before Congress, and as an expert witness in various legal proceedings, including the deportation hearings of John Lennon.