Cannabis expert Chris Conrad spoke in favor of medical marijuana usage. "For some people, it is nothing short of a miracle drug," offering symptomatic relief for those with health problems that cannot be adequately treated by medications or surgery, he noted. It's also been shown to increase appetite for people suffering from diseases like AIDS or cancer, who otherwise might be malnourished, he said.
Conrad lined up several medical users to present their stories on the show. They included Valerie Corral, a long-term medical user for epilepsy, who works with a group of patients in Santa Cruz, CA through an organization called WAMM. She described how the DEA, armed with weapons, raided their garden in 2002. Steph Scherer, a patient who uses marijuana for chronic pain, spoke about a national campaign she's involved in called Americans for Safe Access, which seeks to resist federal efforts to clamp down on medical marijuana in states where it is currently legal.
Medical marijuana is legal with a physician's recommendation in a number of places in the US, but to find out information on specific state laws, Conrad suggested consulting the MPP Project. A number of countries such as England, Germany, Portugal and Spain have made moves towards liberalizing the drug he said, while Holland, where it is legal, has actually cut back on the number of "coffee houses" where it is sold.
Using cannabis as a medical treatment dates back thousands of years. But the plant has also been employed for many other purposes. For instance, one of the earliest known woven fabrics was said to be made of hemp. More recently, the original Levi jeans were made out of a tough hemp sailcloth for miners during the California Gold Rush, so that their pockets wouldn't tear when filled with gold.
Nowadays, marijuana is often referred to as a "cash crop," but it was actually legal tender in most of America from 1631 until the early 1800's, and you could supposedly even pay your taxes with cannabis hemp. And years before the "drug war," the US Army and Department of Agriculture promoted a "Hemp for Victory" film in 1942, which encouraged farmers to grow hemp for the war effort, as it could be used to make rope and fibers.
Source: Hemp Facts
Bumper music from Tuesday March 15, 2005