Nathaniel P. Morris is a resident doctor at Stanford Hospital specializing in mental health. He recently wrote a strongly worded op-ed for on the views between how some people in the medical community look at marijuana and how the federal government regulates it.

“The notion that marijuana is more dangerous or prone to abuse than alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, or prescription opioids doesn’t reflect what we see in clinical medicine.”

In medicine, using medical marijuana is often seen on the same level as using tobacco or caffeine – something we advise patients about stopping or limiting, however, nothing serious to treat or is immediately life-threatening. Morris highlights that unreasonable drinking causes 88,000 deaths per year, according to the CDC. The medical and research alliances have been aware for some time that cannabis is one of the more harmless things you can put in your body relative to other illegal drugs.

A recent longitudinal study discovered that using cannabis for long periods of time is about as bad for your physical health as not flossing. The experts ranked pot as less harmful to both users and to society than either tobacco or alcohol, or indeed than many other recreational drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine.

However, major medical associations, such as the American Medical Association, have not changed views on marijuana, other groups, such as the California Medical Association, are now openly calling for marijuana legalization. This year has also seen the development of the nation’s first medical physician group dedicated to legalizing marijuana, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.

The federal strategy to marijuana has stood at odds with the science on the drug for more than 10 years.

In the years since there have been hundreds of thousands of arrests for cannabis possession each year, people have lost their homes and their property over suspicion of marijuana use, and decades of racially-biased policing practices have decimated many minority communities.

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