In the UK, despite the legalization of medical cannabis on November 1, 2018, largely due to patient pressure and high-profile media campaigns for children with intractable epilepsy, such as Alfie Dingley, access to the medicine remains out of reach for many as of March 2020. The HSCC 2019 reports a lag in the UK’s prescription of medical cannabis compared to other countries where it is also legal.
Health implications of medical marijuana legalization have been observed in the U.S., with significant shifts in cardiac mortality rates, opioid prescribing, and even tobacco sales. It’s notable that the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis refer to different processes. Legalization pertains to the removal of all legal prohibitions, while decriminalization involves removing criminal sanctions without making the substance completely legal.
Kentucky’s recent measures allow individuals with severe medical conditions to use cannabis, provided they keep a purchase receipt and do not exceed the possession limit of 8 ounces. The medical use of cannabis, however, brings forth ethical considerations and the need for sufficient knowledge among clinicians, as highlighted by the ethical issues in medical cannabis use.
The therapeutic potential of cannabis and its components, such as THC, has led to FDA-approved medications like dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet) for treating nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy. However, the safety and efficacy of cannabis as a medicine are still subjects of ongoing research and debate, as per the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
For more comprehensive insights, refer to the detailed discussions on the costs and benefits of cannabis control policies, the Kentucky government’s stance, and other international perspectives on cannabis legalization and its implications.