On a campaign stop at the end of September, Chelsea Clinton made claim that Colorado coroners are seeing deaths caused by cannabis interacting with other drugs in peoples’ systems. This statement came as part of Clinton’s response to a question asked about her mother’s opinions on rescheduling marijuana at a forum at Youngstown State University in Ohio.
The daughter of the first female major party presidential nominee has now claimed that she misspoke during the forum. Campaign spokespeople for the Clinton campaign have also said that Chelsea misspoke and clarified that Clinton is in favor of state by state marijuana legalization and rescheduling marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule II substance.
Chelsea Clinton’s assertion that marijuana has led to deaths in Colorado isn’t far off from the Reefer Madness stigma that cannabis has just begun to be able to shake. Clinton’s comments, no matter how regretted they are, harken back to the lies that are often told about marijuana. Marijuana has caused zero deaths in its recorded history, which stretches back thousands of years. There is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that marijuana causes any fatal interactions when mixed with other drugs.
Researchers estimate that it takes 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in an average joint to kill someone, levels that are virtually impossible to reach. Despite the bad reputation that once plagued marijuana, medical or otherwise, the tides have turned in the United States.
61% of adults in the country think that medical marijuana should be legal according to a survey by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago. A majority of the adult population, 52%, even supports recreational marijuana.
Marijuana is now being seen as a natural and safe alternative to the increasing numbers of pharmaceuticals that are being prescribed across the country. From opioids to anti-anxiety medications, our country is becoming increasingly dependent on harsh pharmaceutical drugs, and consequently we are seeing growing numbers of side effects and addictions.
Marijuana has shown efficacy at treating a variety of medical conditions, from chronic pain to anxiety. A systematic review published in the Journal of Neurology in 2014 looked at the ability of medical marijuana to aid with a variety of medical conditions that are often found in association with MS, epilepsy, and other movement disorders.
Medical marijuana, which was administered in the form of cannabis extract and Nabiximols, a botanical cannabis extract that is an approved drug in the UK, was found to aid with spasticity, central pain, painful spasms, and even had a high probability of aiding people with tremors. This study is just one example of the wide range of medical conditions that marijuana can help with.
Studies have also shown marijuana’s ability to help people with asthma, migraines, inflammation, and anxiety, among many other conditions. More importantly, however, is marijuana’s incredible pain relieving properties. Chronic pain is one of the largest medical problems plaguing the United States and it has lead to the increased use of opioids, which have now become an epidemic across the country.
Medical marijuana has shown to have promise at reducing the number of drug related deaths because of its efficacy as a pain reliever. A 2015 study concluded that marijuana is an effective alternative to opioids as a pain reliever and that access to medical marijuana greatly reduces the use of highly addictive opioid pain relievers.
States that have passed medical marijuana laws have seen an average of a 25% decrease in opioid overdose related deaths. This number shows that access to medical marijuana greatly reduces the use of opioids, which in turn leads to less addictions and less overdoses.
Chelsea Clinton’s unfortunate remarks have once again served to perpetuate false propaganda about marijuana. Often a lack of education on the benefits of marijuana and lack of knowledge on the numerous medical studies that have been conducted are to blame for comments like Clinton’s. Medical cannabis access has served to better the lives of large numbers of people, and it could benefit even more as more states move into the realm of legalization.
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