OAK HILL – The legalization of marijuana is becoming a trendy topic of conversation across America, but medical professionals are taking it seriously.
"Medical marijuana is basically giving people the use of marijuana for medical purposes,” says Oak Hill doctor Hassan Amjad with the Jafary Medical Clinic.
“Now it is very controversial; what are the good reasons and conditions we can use it?"
Controversial is putting it mildly.
Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Daryl Cowles says he’s against the current landscape and use of medical marijuana.
"There are just too many unanswered questions, like what the negative impacts would be and what the proper use that we might authorize might be."
The concern for potential negative impacts is legit. Dr. Amjad says most of the research in the United States is unclear about the side-effects, specifically relating to long-term effects and the lack of testing.
“If there's chronic use without any (intent) there could be some problems. But it's really done for a purpose for medicine and a condition where there's no other treatment available, medical marijuana is useful."
But just how versatile is the cannabis plant? Amjad says it can be used to treat plenty of conditions
"It is useful in bipolar disorders, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, anorexia nervosa, glaucoma, and cancer patients for nausea, vomiting.”
With all of those good things, how can you not get behind the legalization of medical marijuana? Democrat Clif Moore says he’s heard plenty of feedback from locals.
"If this is done in West Virginia, it will help my child, it will help my mother, help my daughter, help my sister,”
He believes from first-hand experience seeing his grandfather and sister suffer from incurable disease, that marijuana may help ease their pain.
“So if it has that kind of positive effect, without creating any other kind of criminal activity, I think it's something we should look into."
Criminal activity, now there's a scary word. Can it be done without adding to the already out-of-control drug problems in West Virginia?
"Certainly marijuana is a gateway drug today,” says Cowles. “And there would be concerns.”
Moore adds that he recognizes the worry that legalizing medical marijuana may provide easier access to this drug.
"A gateway drug to other things. I don't know if that's true or false, but if that's the perception than obviously we're going to have to clear that up before we move forward.”
Clear it up, that’s something sure to be a messy venture in a state riddled with drug issues.
But with two sides to every battle, the benefits remain crystal, says Dr. Amjad, in bipolar disorders, multiple sclerosis, cancer patients, and more.
While the opposition stands firm.
“The DEA or the FDA, they have marijuana scheduled as a narcotic with the stipulation that there are no medical properties,” says Cowles.
Part II of our series “Can Cannabis Cure?” will air Tuesday focusing on industrial hemp.