Wednesday, May 20, 2009 — Results from the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research show that a strong majority of Ohioans polled support prescribing medical marijuana.

The figures, published May 8 from the Ohio Poll, reported, “73 percent of Ohioans say they favor (either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’) allowing Ohio doctors to prescribe medical marijuana.”

The poll was conducted from April 16 to April 27, using a random sample of 818 Ohio adults via telephone.

The demographic reported to be most in favor of prescription marijuana were respondents between the ages of 18 and 29.

Additionally, the poll found that 37 percent of Ohioans favor legalizing all marijuana use.

The same voter profiles that supported medical marijuana were also the ones most likely to support full marijuana legalization.

These results may explain why “marijuana continues to be the most widely abused and readily available illicit drug throughout Ohio,” according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

“It is true that THC, the primary active chemical in marijuana, can be useful for treating some medical problems,” according to the ONDCP.

“Synthetic THC is the main ingredient in marinol, a Food and Drug Administration-approved medication used to control nausea in cancer chemotherapy patients and to stimulate appetite in people with AIDS,”

“All drugs have consequences. If the benefits outweigh the harm then I’m for it,” said Laura Gray, a second-year nursing student.

Some students may not be aware that smoked marijuana, which is supported in the Ohio Poll for medical use, is different from marinol.

“Unlike smoked marijuana — which contains more than 400 different chemicals– marinol has been studied and approved by the medical community and the FDA,” said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

There are currently no smoked medications approved by the FDA because the byproducts of smoking, such as carcinogens and harmful chemicals, form new health problems.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, “There is no consensus of medical evidence that smoking marijuana helps patients.”

Still, marijuana supporters argue that marinol does not contain many of the therapeutic compounds held in natural cannabis and that certain chemical compounds found in cannabis are non-psychoactive.

Certain compounds have been clinically demonstrated to have more anti-psychotic, anti-nausea, and anti-rheumatoid arthritic properties, among others, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Additionally, NORML argues cannabis is less psychoactive than marinol. Marinol can have adverse effects including: drowsiness, confusion, anxiety, changes in mood, coordination impairment, depression and irritability.

Marijuana is labeled by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it has no accepted medical value. Cocaine, Opium and OxyContin are examples of Schedule II controlled substances, which mean they have at least a limited accepted medical value according to the United States government.

The Ohio Medical Compassion Act, bill that is currently proposing legal smoking of marijuana for medical purposes in the state, has not yet been enacted, but the notion that smoked marijuana can supply relief from certain medical conditions appears to be a major debate for Ohioans. Original article here.

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