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Florida ballot to feature medical marijuana in November

Medical marijuana

(NaturalNews) A constitutional amendment that will allow the medical use of marijuana will be proposed in Florida's November ballot later this year. Organizers say that there is growing public support for the proposal, and that the predicted larger number of voters in this year's presidential election should help pass the measure – which only narrowly failed back in 2014.(1)

A petition drive to put the issue on the ballot has already achieved 692,981 certified voter signatures – which is almost 10,000 more than the required number.

Benefits of medical marijuana

To date, over 20 states have already legalized medical marijuana, with several high profile medical professionals also changing their minds about the controversial topic over recent months.(2)

Opinions are, as always, split over the idea of smoking recreational pot – however many people are starting to agree that marijuana should be legal for medical use. The benefits of smoking pot have been arguably overstated and misrepresented by advocates of legalization, however the hope is that new laws will allow researchers to study the drug's medicinal uses, getting a better picture of how it impacts the body.

So far only 6% of marijuana studies are focused around the medicinal properties of the drug. These studies have found that there are at least two active chemicals that have medical applications: cannabidiol (CBD) which impacts the brain without giving the user a high, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which relieves pain, among other things.

Some of the health benefits reported include:

  • Treatment of Glaucoma, by decreasing the pressure inside the eye, according to the National Eye Institute.

  • Reversing the carcinogenic effects of tobacco, by increasing lung capacity.

  • Controlling epileptic seizures, by binding to the brain cells that control excitability, regulating relaxation.

  • Decreasing symptoms of Dravet's Syndrome, by interacting with brain cells to quiet the excessive activity that causes seizures.

  • Stopping the spread of cancer by turning off the Id-1 gene, which cancerous cells copy and which normally helps them to spread through the body.

  • Decreasing anxiety levels when used in low doses.

  • Relieving pain and suppressing nausea, which helps with the side effects of chemotherapy.

  • Slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease, by blocking the enzymes in the brain that produce amyloid plaques, which kill brain cells.

  • Easing the pain of muscle contractions in patients with multiple sclerosis, by binding to the nerve receptors.

  • Reducing the symptoms of Crohn's disease, by regulating gut bacteria and intestinal function.

  • Relieving the discomfort of arthritis, by reducing inflammation and promoting sleep.

  • Will it be passed in Florida?

    It is likely that over 60% of Florida voters will finally approve a medical marijuana law, which is the required approval percentage for constitutional amendments. However, the Legislature is a little timid when it comes to the issue. In 2014, lawmakers did actually approve the use of non-euphoric pot to treat seizures, but have since failed to provide the product, due to problems establishing the necessary regulations to oversee its production and distribution.(3)

    So the group is hoping that with more votes, better laws can be established – legalizing medical marijuana, and meaning that Florida finally joins 20 other states who have embraced the medical benefits of pot.

    It is however important to note that there are also negative effects of smoking too much marijuana, or using it for non-medicinal reasons – including dependency, decreased memory function and confused emotions.

    The health benefits provided by medical marijuana can also be gained from THC pills, which may even be more effective than smoking pot.

    Sources include:

    1. Fox13News.com

    2. BusinessInsider.com

    3. www.tampabay.com

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