Medical Marijuana and Insurance: Should It Be Covered?
Bud, ganja, grass, herb, Mary Jane, weed…the ever-controversial marijuana has many nicknames, and just as people can’t decide what to call it, the United States can’t make up its mind on the drug’s legality, uses and whether or not insurance companies should cover it. It is a slippery slope, with many pros and cons on both sides of the argument, but just where are people coming from? Medical marijuana is legal in many other countries around the world, so why not here in the United States? Will we ever reach a point where not only is cannabis legal for medicinal purposes, but it is covered under a health insurance plan like other drugs of its ilk?
Medical Marijuana Facts and Figures
Medical marijuana, henceforth to be referred to simply as “cannabis” to save my poor fingers the typing exertion, has a different story if you are comparing state versus federal level here in the United States. At the federal level, cannabis is illegal, period due to falling under the Controlled Substances Act. As far as cannabis as a medical treatment goes, states have the right to choose whether the drug is or isn’t legal. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington all have approved and regulate cannabis for medicinal use. One thing that it is important to be clear on: medical use does not mean that the drug is approved for a prescription as medicine.
Why would people even want to use cannabis as a form of medicine? Why not reply on one of the other drugs in existence, and leave smoking pot to the hippies and college kids? As far as my opinion is concerned, cannabis is a plant. It is obviously as close to natural as you can get, and I would much rather be treating my body with some natural substance than some ridiculous drug concoction created by scientists in a lab. I’m not saying that modern medicine and drugs don’t work miracles, because they absolutely do, but given the choice between treating side effects of cancer with a chemically produced drug and one that could have been grown in my backyard, I’ll pick the backyard plant. The Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report on medical marijuana stated, “The accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.” It seems to be a more natural way to create relief from symptoms caused by other drug treatments, so why the big hubub?
Health vs. The Drug War
It seems to me that the biggest reason for opposing legalizing cannabis for medical purposes across the board is the fear that doing so is going to perpetuate the drug problem that already exists in this country. Yes, trafficking cannabis from other countries into the United States surely is a cause for concern. It raises issues of security on our own borders, and the drug world is certainly one no mother ever wants her child to be a part of. When you think about literal drug wars, fighting and murdering happening over the production, growing and distribution of drugs, that tends to happen in countries of the drug’s origin. While this is still horrific and tragic, opponents of legalizing cannabis here in the U.S. should really look at what impact this would have on the war on drugs here at home.
photo credit: TheTruthAbout…