In our current political climate, it’s often hard to know what’s what and what’s not. One thing that’s been prominent in the media and social outlets recently is medical marijuana. In the commotion and the noise, it’s hard to tell what medical marijuana is and why it’s such a big deal. Let’s break it down and learn some stuff.
History of Marijuana
It dates back very far in the history books as being useful in many different ways. Hemp, which is the plant we get marijuana from, has been used since the 17th century to make ropes and sails. Now, we have hemp oil, hemp seeds, and hemp crafts in grocery stores and craft stores all over the world. The first records of medicinal marijuana come from China in about 2737 BC. Ancient Greeks used cannabis as a wound dressing & anti-inflammatory for their animals and themselves. Ancient Egyptians used cannabis to treat tumors, and the drug has been listed in the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) since 1851. It was listed as an acceptable medical product from 1851-1941. It was gradually replaced by modern, synthetic medicines beginning in the 20th century, and was removed from the USP in 1942.
As some of our ancient counterparts probably knew, some types of marijuana can be very medically useful. In modern times, it’s used to treat things like Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s Disease, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, appetite loss & eating disorders, mental health issues, pain & nausea, muscle spasms, and Glaucoma.
It was recently legalized in 30 states across America for medical use, and nine states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and the popularity of the drug has been on the rise and in the public eye ever since. Now, let’s debunk a myth. Contrary to popular belief, medical marijuana doesn’t get you high. The marijuana plant consists of more than one hundred chemicals, known as cannabinoids.
Each of these has a different effect on your body. The two main chemicals used in the medicinal application of marijuana are Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and Cannabidiol, or CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana, aka the element that produces the high. Cannabidiol or CBD does not provide any psychoactive effects. Medical marijuana has a higher CBD content than recreational marijuana, so when you’re using it, you don’t feel the euphoria or high that you would with recreational strains. Recreational marijuana has much higher THC levels, hence the high associated with those strains. The confusion with this subject comes in when people use recreational strains of marijuana to self-medicate, therefore getting high and sometimes becoming impaired.
As a patient, medical marijuana can have benefits. However, as an employee, it still has some hefty cons. For one thing, it’s still illegal according to federal law. If you test positive for marijuana at work, your job & your freedoms can be in jeopardy. Due to the federal law, employers have the right to fire & hire based off of drug test results and can prohibit marijuana use for their employees. Federal law also supersedes the Americans with Disabilities Act, so employers can require employees to be drug-free regardless of whether or not they have a prescription for the drug, although some recent court cases have favored the employee. Employers have to be careful, though. Drug tests only show that marijuana is present, not that the person is currently impaired. So, firing someone based upon drug test results can be unlawful in some circumstances.
The future is bright from medical marijuana’s perspective. Dispensaries are quietly popping up around the country, and more patients are being prescribed all different forms of the drug for all different types of conditions. In a few years, we may find ourselves in a very different place, but for now, marijuana is still federally illegal. Meaning employers still need to drug test their workers and maintain a drug-free environment to protect themselves since the employer is often liable for drug-related accidents in non-tested workplaces. Safety is still the name of the game, and ProHealth is here to help you win! We offer a variety of top-of-the-line drug tests and would love to help you set up a testing program for your business. Give us a call or stop by one of our locations and we’ll get the process started!