Did you know that Marijuana is the world’s most commonly used, trafficked, and cultivated illicit drug? Yes. And while the push for medical marijuana legalization continues to grow at home and abroad, marijuana has already gained significant attention from researchers, manufacturers, and investors.
Presently, 33 states in the US have legalized the medical use of marijuana, with 14 of those (as of March 2020) allowing the recreational use of the drug for adults. This number is set to rise as more people accept the idea of legalizing marijuana. Which makes it imperative to consider what the future holds for medical marijuana.
But to contextualize the future of CBD, it’s necessary to briefly review its history. As someone once said, “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards.” So here goes:
A Concise Medical History of CBD
Healers have been using marijuana or cannabis for its medicinal traits for over 5 millennia. If anything, the world’s oldest existing text, the Chinese Sheng-Nung-Pentshao Ching, recommends using cannabis to address digestive disorders and to reduce rheumatism pain. Not only that.
Marijuana, the herb, had an established presence in Western medicine back in the day. In the period 1840 to 1900, over 100 articles extolling marijuana’s therapeutic virtues featured heavily in European and American medical journals. Also, in 1851, the United States Pharmacopoeia added ‘hemp extract’ in its medicinal amalgams catalog.
That same year, the Dispensatory of the United States of America recommended marijuana for the following complaints:
- Epidemic cholera
- Mental depression,
- Uterine hemorrhage
Even the 1864 edition of Pharmacopoeia offered precise instructions on how to prepare marijuana as medicine. Meanwhile, American physicians routinely prescribed cannabis to their patients – something they did unabated up to the late 1930s. And it wasn’t until 1970 that the law would prohibit all uses of this herb.
A Concise Legal History of Medical Marijuana
The United States started expanding its regulation of mind-altering drugs in the early 20th Century. In fact, the 20th Century saw different acts designed to restrict the unregulated use of specific classes of drugs enacted into law. Here’s the chronology of events leading to the legalization of medical marijuana as you know it today:
- 1909- Law passes to outlaw opium smoking. It was the first law to specifically ban a substance in the US. This law had heavy racial undertones because it targeted Chinese immigrants, who were the majority of people smoking opium.
- 1914- Congress passes the Harrison Narcotics Act. This law stopped people from distributing or growing opiates. It also banned the purchase of morphine, an opiate product, over-the-counter. Only certified physicians had the license to prescribe opiates then.
- 1919- The Volstead Act, also known as the 18th Amendment to the Constitution or Prohibition, passed through congress. It banned the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol all over the US.
- 1924- Another law passed to regulate Heroin, which was a substance already classified as an opiate in the Harrison Narcotics Act.
- 1933- The 21st Amendment to the constitution passes to repeal the prohibition of alcohol.
- 1937- The Marijuana tax Act becomes law. This law banned the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. And although it allowed those with a federal stamp to grow the plant, these stamps were unavailable to all. As such, marijuana became effectively outlawed.
- 1970- The Controlled Substances Act becomes law. This act classified mind-altering agents like marijuana, Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) as Schedule 1 drugs, and mephedrone as ‘bath salts.’
- 1996- The Compassionate Use Act, also known as Proposition 215, becomes law in California. This law made it illegal to prosecute or sanction a patient’s physician or caregiver for using marijuana to treat AIDs, cancer, chronic pain. Glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, spasticity, and any other problem for which cannabis may offer relief.
Following California’s lead, many other states including Alaska, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Washington, New Mexico, Hawaii, etc. enacted laws permitting their residents to cultivate, use, and possess marijuana for medical purposes. Albeit with restrictions.
That’s why today, federal law still deems marijuana a controlled substance under the Control Substances Act of 1970 while many state laws have lifted these restrictions.
The Future of Medical Marijuana
People’s attitudes toward marijuana have drastically changed over the years. And this trend isn’t about to stop as researchers figure out new things about marijuana and its benefits. In fact, a Pew Research survey showed that 67% of Americans (two thirds) support marijuana legalization.
With this in mind, expect the following medical marijuana developments in the future:
With Democrats now controlling the lower house, significant CBD legislation seems likely this year. Even Politico notes that (as of 2019), 296 members of Congress (68%) come from the 33 states that have already legalized marijuana. Meaning that there are sufficient numbers to pass the long-awaited cannabis bills.
Also, a majority of the 2020 presidential candidates have already expressed their support for marijuana legalization including democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.
Increased Use Of Medical Marijuana
As the United States slowly changes its perceptions towards Cannabis, more and more people are giving medical marijuana products a try. CBD retails as an ingredient in oral sprays, oil, pills, creams, and edibles like lollipops and gummies. Talking about gummies, CBD gummies was United States’ third-most searched food-related term (on Google) in 2018.
What’s more, New Frontier Data estimates that the CBD market is likely to grow three-fold by 2022. That is from a $390 million-dollar market (in 2018) to a $1.3 billion market.
The FDA to Continue Softening its Stance on CBD
Under the current FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) laws, all drugs with CBD require the agency’s approval. And they are currently approving all CBD drugs deemed fit for the market. For instance, the FDA approved its first marijuana-derived drug in 2018.
Even more importantly, the FDA has indicated that it’s likely to do away with the federal rule that prohibits the marketing of dietary supplements and food products that contain CBD.
Growth of Cannabis-based Pharmaceuticals
As the demand for medical marijuana grows, so shall the supply. Energias Market Research predicts that the cannabis market will grow by at least 19% every year globally. So expect to see more cannabis pharmaceuticals in your area.
And now comes the best part. Unlike in other industries, it will be difficult for large corporations to dominate the market by flooding it with cheap, generic products. Why? weed comes with a variety of strains. Also, many states are enacting legislation that will ensure as many people as possible benefit from the legalization of medical marijuana.
Getting Prescribed Medical Marijuana
All indications are that going forward, medical marijuana will be readily available for anyone who needs it. Better yet, people won’t be engaging in illegal conduct by purchasing, using, or advertising any cannabis-related product. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy for you to get medical marijuana products.
Which is why you need to get in touch with MmjDoctor. Our licensed and experienced CBD professionals will provide you with ample information and guide you through the process of making informed decisions about medical marijuana. What’s more, they can help you process your first medical marijuana card!