Saturday, November 17, 2007

4 must-read marijuana articles


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Recent marijuana-related news shows the variety of fronts on which the battle for legalization of medical marijuana is being fought. From a case testing the relationship between employment law and medical marijuana to the latest research on marijuana as a treatment for pain, medical marijuana is a popular topic.

The California Supreme Court recently held arguments in a case testing employment protection for California workers using medical marijuana in accordance with state law.

Computer tech Gary Ross was fired from his job after testing positive for marijuana. Ross submitted a doctor's letter to his employer stating that he had been prescribed medical marijuana for pain to no avail.

Although 12 states have medical marijuana laws, marijuana possession is still illegal under federal law. A battle between the state and federal governments is ongoing, but the feds have the upper hand. As of now, courts have supported the notion that federal law overrides state law on regulation of marijuana.

Calif. Court to Hear Marijuana Case

Ross, 45, contends that Ragingwire discriminated against him because of a back injury and violated the state's fair-employment law by punishing him for legally smoking marijuana at home.

He says he and others using medical marijuana should receive the same workplace protection from discipline that employees with valid painkiller prescriptions do. California voters legalized medicinal marijuana in 1996.

Two lower courts have sided with Ragingwire's decision to fire Ross because federal law holds that marijuana is illegal in all guises and a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision declared that state medicinal marijuana laws don't protect users from criminal prosecution.
You can read more about the legal considerations in this case at these links: The Clash Between Federal Drug Law & California's Medical Marijuana Law; Calif. Supreme Court May Need Tie Breaker for Pot Dispute.


Marijuana can be helpful in treating depression in small doses, but higher doses seem to make depression worse.

Pot and Depression: Mixed Findings


Research indicates that a delicate balance is also needed to find the right amount of marijuana to relieve pain.

Right Dose of Pot Can Ease Pain
A team at the University of California, San Diego, found that a low dose of pot produced no effect, a moderate dose provided moderate pain relief, and a high dose actually increased smokers' pain.

Researchers used capsaicin -- the "hot" component in chili peppers -- to induce skin pain in 15 healthy volunteers, who then smoked marijuana cigarettes with different levels of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.


Finally, marijuana use may not lead to all the negative behaviors typically associated with users.

Swiss Study Has Some Suprises on Marijuana Use
A study of more than 5,000 youngsters in Switzerland has found those who smoked marijuana do as well or better in some areas as those who don't, researchers said on Monday.

But the same was not true for those who used both tobacco and marijuana, who tended to be heavier users of the drug, said the report from Dr. J.C. Suris and colleagues at the University of Lausanne.

The study did not confirm the hypothesis that those who abstained from marijuana and tobacco functioned better overall, the authors said.

In fact, those who used only marijuana were "more socially driven ... significantly more likely to practice sports and they have a better relationship with their peers" than abstainers, it said.

"Moreover, even though they are more likely to skip class, they have the same level of good grades; and although they have a worse relationship with their parents, they are not more likely to be depressed" than abstainers, it added.


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