The following blog post is by Family Council staff member Deborah Beuerman.

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, other states are rushing to enact their own marijuana laws. Most of them are pushing for legalizing “medicinal” marijuana. Several groups in Arkansas are trying to place marijuana proposals on the 2014 ballot.

What is the difference between “medical marijuana” and “recreational marijuana”? If medical marijuana helps sick people, is it compassionate to let them use it?

Marijuana is marijuana. There is no difference in the plant that is smoked for a “high” and that used as medicine. The marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, is not medicine in our modern context, for several reasons.

Dosage. Dosage is not metered. Whether the flowers are smoked or crushed and added to food, there is no way to know how much “medicine” you are taking, and therefore, no real way to know what effect to expect.

The active components in the marijuana plant are chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Over 60 different cannabinoids have been identified, with THC and CBD being the primary active ones. The content of cannabinoids in each plant variety varies greatly, and there are hundreds of Cannabis varieties grown. How could you know what you are getting? Those who sell “medical” marijuana say you should try them until you find a variety or a mix of varieties you like.

Delivery. Another problem is the delivery system. Smoking is not healthy for anyone’s lungs. There is more tar and carcinogens in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke, and we’ve all heard the horror stories about the lungs of a tobacco smoker. There’s also a lot of unknown “junk” contained in a marijuana plant. Why would you want to fill your lungs with that? And again, you can’t know how much “medicine” you get.

Effects. The effects of marijuana on the body are numerous, particularly on the brain, and could pose several health risks to those using marijuana as medicine: impairment of thinking, problem-solving skills, judgment, and both short-term and long-term memory; reduced balance and coordination; increased risk of heart attack, and of chronic cough and respiratory infections; potential for hallucinations and withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, learning, doing complicated tasks, participating in athletics, and driving are affected.

Addiction. Using marijuana can also lead to addiction. Marijuana use can be particularly devastating in those who start young, with greatly increased probability of addiction and usage of other harmful drugs. Some studies indicate that there are irreversible changes in the brain of teens who smoke marijuana, leading to lifelong difficulties with memory, thinking, decision-making and everyday activities. Why would a reasoning person want to take all those risks?

Compassion? But what about compassion? Shouldn’t really sick people be able to take a drug that relieves their pain? The active components in marijuana, THC and CBD, have been shown in research to have potential for treating certain conditions. In fact, there are on the market now drugs containing synthetic THC used for relieving pain, combating nausea, and stimulating appetite. Anecdotal evidence has shown CBD oil to be effective in controlling some types of seizures in children. They ingest oil; there is no smoking. But the key is research—like all other medical drugs available in the U.S.—must be done before marketing any drug.

Researchers would determine specific dosages with a usable delivery system for treating specific illnesses or conditions, and there would be a specific, expected outcome. Use of the developed drug would be monitored by a doctor and would not be over-the-counter but available from a pharmacy by prescription.

With development, the active components of marijuana might be helpful drugs, but the marijuana plant itself is not medicine. The push to legalize “medical” marijuana is a front for making the marijuana plant readily available and legal to buy for any use.

After all, didn’t Colorado first make “medicinal” marijuana legal?


  1. Amber

    I once was in your shoes and against the use of medical marijuana and my opinion was from lack of knowledge. But I have seen a child that lost her everything to seizures, hundreds of them all day and night, infantile spasms so they are named. The kind that drop you to your knees to watch. I have seen the parents of this child that know they are in a race against the clock, they know the stakes and the high risk but are willing to take the gamble to save their childs life. It only took 3 drops of the oil from this plant to stop the seizures. No smoke, no vapors, just the extract from this plant and literally no more infantile spasms after that frist day of treatment!! However they had to move to a different state and cannot even come home to their home state because they are afraid of breaking the law here. Is there no middle ground? How can we work together on this? With this type of medical use how can one possible deny this child the plant? I feel like the legalization is coming and instead of being totally against it we should work together on trying to get it worded to where when it does pass we are not worrying about our neighbors growing it in gardens. I’m just one person with one story but I hope I’m heard! Thank you and God Bless!

  2. BJ

    Dylan, what is a flat out lie? If you are saying that Amber’s post is a lie, then you are absolutely wrong.

  3. Marty Super

    My wife of almost 40 years died of brain cancer, we listened to the doctors for the first few months and tried a different drug each week to control her nausea and vomiting, each drug was more expensive and each had worse side effects than the last, finally after 6 weeks, and 6 different drugs, a family member suggested marijuana, it was like a miracle, she was able to eat again, the only side effect was that it made her feel good, when you’re very sick and know that you’re only going to get sicker and then you’re going to die feeling good isn’t such a bad thing.
    People who would deny this to sick people because they’re afraid someone, somewhere is going to get high have no empathy and are certainly not Christians.

  4. Coop

    I am offended by the absolute litany of misinformation included in this article.
    Marijuana is marijuana and has killed exactly Zero people in all of recorded history. Aspirin is Aspirin and kills an average of 5,200 per year due to complications of anaphylactic shock.

    Dosage: irrelevant argument, never taken a human life.

    Delivery: lapse of full disclosure there. the plant is edible, nullifying any such argument.

    Addiction: Psychological. Cigarettes, Coffee and shopping are addictions. If you are prone to addiction then your choice of addictive substance is just that, your choice. Don’t blame a plant for human nature.

    Effects: do your research, read a scientific journal, talk to Willie Nelson.

    It was man that first made nature illegal for the purposes of great profit for the very few. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Dupont was behind the illegalization of marijuana from 1932-1937 in order to replace hemp rope on naval vessels with their newly developed nylon.

    Please desist in your attempt at corrupting intellectual minds with your shoddy misinformation

  5. Gary

    I can not believe Jerry has let the responses stand. the war is almost over. maybe soon we can all sit down and begin to help those who need this medicine.

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