CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The time has come for West Virginia's lawmakers to consider the benefits of legalizing marijuana.
Twenty states have now legalized the plant for medicinal purposes based on the fact that its efficacy has been proven with patients who suffer from cancer, radiation treatment for cancer, seizures and muscle spasms, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, muscle atrophy, and chronic weight loss syndrome.
Oftentimes these conditions are experienced in late-in-life care and are accompanied by severe pain for which marijuana is heralded as a godsend.
That infinitely more powerful and addictive prescription drugs are typically prescribed at later stages of many of these treatments renders the argument that marijuana may somehow harm patients through deleterious side effects moot.
And as has been proven time and again marijuana not only lessens these maladies but also allows patients to simply hold down food and make them more comfortable -- a not-insignificant fact for those who suffer, their loved ones and caregivers.
Further, new research in Spain and Israel also suggests that the active ingredient in marijuana actually possesses anticancer properties that destroy glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor cells.
Its use through the rapidly developing targeted delivery systems on specific cells holds great promise for this form of highly aggressive cancer and maybe others.
Given the aforementioned, marijuana still should be regarded as a drug with side effects that should be governed by medical professionals with full knowledge of contraindications -- something that doesn't happen formally in states where it is still illegal.
Accordingly, West Virginia's lawmakers should seriously consider the legitimate medical conditions for prescribing marijuana and enact legislation that allow its use by those who can benefit through its treatments.