One of the most important and growing issues in the United States today is that of medical marijuana. Since at least the 1990s, there has been a movement among segments of the population to recognize that cannabis has specific uses as a medicine, especially in the area of pain management, and legalize its use as medicine.
It has long been recognized that marijuana reduces nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy. It is has been shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic pain from such conditions as diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Research is often scant, as marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the federal government, classified alongside cocaine and heroin as having no value.
Medical marijuana can be administered in several different ways, although smoking remains the most common. Vaporization is becoming a popular alternative due to the perceived notion that fewer harmful effects will result. Edible forms of marijuana and skin creams are also available.
In 1996, California became the first state in America to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. By 2015, some twenty-six states plus the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws. Many of these laws come into conflict with the continuing federal ban on all marijuana, but the Obama Administration has signaled that the government will not interfere with state laws.