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Basic Facts About the War on Drugs

12. Do the illegal drugs have any legitimate uses?

Heroin is a powerful pain-killer and could be used to control extreme chronic pain or the pain of severe diseases, such as cancer. The medical literature shows that heroin is significantly less hazardous than most of the drugs which are given in its place.

Cocaine is used as a topical anesthetic in medicine.

There are about 50,000 products which can be made from the marijuana (hemp) plant. It has been used since the dawn of history for the widest variety of uses. These uses include fibers, fuels, materials, and medicine. The first American laws regarding marijuana were passed in the 1700's and required farmers to grow hemp (marijuana) because of its tremendous commercial value for dozens of uses. It was grown throughout the United States as a commercial product well into the 1940's. It was made illegal in 1937 largely as a result of pressure from oil and chemical companies who feared the competition from marijuana. Despite the laws, during World War II marijuana was considered so vital to the national interest that the US Government exempted farmers from military duty if they grew marijuana. Local 4-H clubs were encouraged to have their members grow marijuana and the US Government produced a film called "Hemp for Victory"'

Marijuana produces fibers which are ideal for ropes, cloth, paper, and dozens of other products. The fiber is unusually strong, soft, absorbent and cheap to produce. If we grew marijuana solely for paper production, we could completely eliminate cutting forests for paper. Marijuana produces eighty times as much usable fiber per acre as a comparable stand of forest.

Marijuana can produce several different kinds of fuel. In the 1800's and 1900's hempseed oil was the primary source of fuel in the United States and was commonly used for lamps and other oil energy needs. The diesel engine was originally designed to run on marijuana oil because Rudolf Diesel assumed that it would be the most common fuel. Mairjuana is also the most efficient plant for the production of methanol. It is estimated that, in one form or another, marijuana grown in the United States could provide up to ninety percent of the nation's entire energy needs.

Marijuana is useful for a wide variety of medical problems and, according the the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chief Administrative Law Judge, "marijuana is probably the safest therapeutically active substance known to man," and "it is safer than many of the foods we commonly eat." Marijuana is often the most effective treatment for chronic pain, glaucoma, nausea from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other medical conditions.

See also the Hemp Menu - Industrial Info

See also the Medical Marijuana Master Reference for a list of documents relating to the medical effects of marijuana.

See also Medical Uses of Illicit Drugs

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