With changing social and legal perceptions regarding the use of medical marijuana, it can be difficult for patients to navigate the proper way to retain their rights for use and to ensure that this pharmaceutical remains available for accepted conditions. As a result, becoming involved in current events surrounding the support of medical marijuana can not only lead to further resources for education and advocacy, but can also provide a network of organizations and individuals who can further give advice.
As the state of California has one of the most comprehensive medical marijuana regulation and distribution systems in the nation, many other states are looking towards this outline as guidance. This opens up a collaborative forum to better streamline efforts for legal backing and general medical acceptance. This also gives patients a valid place to turn for accurate information regarding current events and changes.
The National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is one of the better known organizations for medical marijuana advocacy and for providing resources to patients and caregiver. The Organization was initially founded in 1970, and has remained a positive force in the efforts to decriminalize this pharmaceutical. The national website for NORML can provide individuals with everything from:
- State laws
- State NORML chapters and support groups
- Current events in legislature
- Educational resources
- Advocacy actions
Although state chapters of NORML are all affiliated with the main organization, most state chapters are also run somewhat independently. This is mostly due to the differences in marijuana legislature from state to state, so further resources for patients will vary across the chapters. The CA chapter of NORML can provide residents with a comprehensive amount of
- Educational materials
- Local meetings and groups
- Legal referrals
- Doctor referrals and dosage advice
- Dispensary lists
- Ongoing research information
This can make it highly worthwhile for patients to explore both the resources that NORML and its individual state chapters have to offer.
NORML and Working to Reform Marijuana Laws
Since the inception of NORML, the mission of the organization has been to decriminalize this drug federally. Through the use of other country models, medical research support, and even economic analysis, the organization has been responsible for a number of legal changes regarding the plant. The process takes place on both the state and federal level, and also sets a precedent for extensive social change.
- Personal use
- Medical use
- Alternate use of plants
- Economic benefits
All of these points are aspects of the overall goals of NORML, and while a plethora of practical resources are also available through the organization, legislative support and legal help are some of the greater assets that are provided. Over the past more than forty years, NORML has helped decriminalize the drug in eleven states, and continues to lobby for greater changes in protocols.
Medical Marijuana Pros and Cons
As with any medication, there can always be positive benefits from the treatment as well as side effects and long term concerns. These issues are often used in arguments regarding the legalization of the drug, but they are also important for patients to be aware of in considering this type of therapy.
Some of the positives include:
- A majority of physicians support the physical benefits of the drug
- It is a viable treatment in terminal cases for palliative relief
- Marijuana has shown ameliorative qualities for illnesses that have not responded to other treatment
- It has received endorsements for a number of difficult to treat ailments
Although the legal issues surrounding the use of medical marijuana are certainly a con, there can be other aspects to consider as possible negative points for this type of therapy.
- Medical support for the use of marijuana is still highly divided
- Conflicting research and the difficulty in standardizing objective study protocols
- Long term risks to respiratory health when the drug is smoked
- Possible addiction concerns
- Conflicting thoughts on the use of the drug with minors
It should be noted that many of the negatives for medical marijuana are based on insufficient validated information, and the hope is that as research continues, these cons will also be considerably lessened.
The Drug Policy Alliance And Medical Marijuana
The Drug Policy Alliance is another national organization that can provide patients with educational, legal, and support resources regarding medical marijuana. Along with efforts to enact reform on a federal level, the Drug Policy Alliance also has an extensive network of professionals who work within the administration to raise awareness for new policies. Current events information, specific state drug policies, and publications and newsletters can also keep members connected and establish an open forum for discussion and experiential learning. The organization also encourages individuals to take action on a local level, and provides resources for this type of advocacy.
Marijuana Friendly Hotels in Colorado
One issue that can be a concern for patients is when travel between states is required. This can led to difficult situations in terms of following treatment protocols, especially if the travel involves staying in a public establishment. As Colorado is one of the states that legally accepts the use of medical marijuana, local non-profit support groups provide travelers with an essential resource for hotels.
Along with accommodations that are open to the use of medical marijuana, this guide also includes information such as:
- Established dispensaries
- Events and local support groups
- Important questions to consider when checking in to the hotel
Medical Marijuana Strains
Another necessary resource for patients who require medical marijuana is a guide to strains and corresponding conditions. Although physicians who will prescribe the use of this drug for treatment may recommend specific strains for an ailment, this is not always the case. While the active principles in the plant can have a general beneficial effect for all illnesses where marijuana is approved, different strains contain specific chemical ratios that can have a better positive effect. Published guides and online compendiums can further ensure that the most beneficial outcome is achieved through medical marijuana therapy.