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U.S.'s First Medical Marijuana TV Commercial Airs in Sacramento, Calif.

September 2, 2010

The first-ever TV commercial in the U.S. advertising medical marijuana aired during the Aug. 30 morning newscast on Sacramento's FOX affiliate KTXL, reported FOX40 News. The 30-second ad, which was produced by the network, was paid for by Sacramento-based Canna Care, a company that specializes in and legally disseminates medical marijuana.

The article reports that the ad doesn't show anyone using the drug or referring to it as "marijuana." (It's only referred to as "cannabis.") However, the commercial spot shows real-life people talking about the benefits of using marijuana for a range of diseases. Studies have shown that smoked cannabis can alleviate some symptoms experienced by people with HIV (particularly nausea, lack of appetite and neuropathy pain), as well as diabetes, hepatitis C, hypertension and glaucoma, to name a few.

"It is a matter of record within the medical community that medical marijuana can have positive results in helping relieve nausea and vomiting among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and increasing appetites among [people living with] AIDS," KTXL's Acting General Manager Mike Armstrong said in a press release. He added, "Like so many other products advertised legally in media, it is a drug. When viewers watch the [advertisement] on air, they can see it's simply identifying this as an avenue to take if your doctor thinks it will help you feel better."

There has been a debate over whether this commercial might glorify drug use, but Canna Care's owner Lanette Davies told Sacramento's CBS affiliate that the advertisement was not aimed at doing so. "The people you see giving those testimonies are real live everyday patients. They're your neighbors. They're your children. They're your relatives," she said.

Watch KTXL's coverage of the advertisement below:

The Detroit News reported that currently 14 states plus the District of Columbia have laws making it legal for people to use marijuana for medical purposes:

The Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Justice said last year they would no longer pursue cases against medical marijuana patients and suppliers who are abiding by state laws. Use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, something the Bush administration vigorously enforced.

In some states, medical marijuana has become a sizable part of the economy -- even when the industry's expansion has largely fallen in the gray area of the law. In California, marijuana is considered among the state's leading cash crops. In Colorado, medical marijuana dispensaries outnumber Starbucks locations 3 to 1.

In other states, such as New Mexico and Oregon, heavier regulations have limited growth.

Medical marijuana is not a new concept for people living with HIV/AIDS. Many in the community have been using it to stimulate appetite lost due to AIDS-related wasting syndrome, side effects or fatigue; to reduce nausea from taking certain antiretrovirals; and to relieve the pain of peripheral neuropathy.

To learn more about medical marijuana, read this excellent fact sheet from our content partner AIDS InfoNet.

Kellee Terrell is's former news editor.

Copyright © 2010 Body Health Resources Corporation. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by TheBody.
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