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Marijuana For Medical Use
Marijuana for Medical Use
For many years the United States government has prohibited some drugs, such as
marijuana, from being sold in the marketplace. Yet, even with prohibition, marijuana use has only decreased minimally. Because of its illegality, only the bad aspects of marijuana use have been made known. However, there are many positive aspects of marijuana legalization, including its application concerning medical cures.
As of today, in most of the states, marijuana is classified as an illegal drug. However, due to its proven medicinal purposes, the drug should be made available for sick people to use. Marijuana has been used for multiple purposes prior to the birth of Christ. Marijuana originated in the Middle East. China played an important part in marijuana's history. “Hoatho, the first Chinese physician, used cannabis for medical purposes as a painkiller and as an anesthetic for surgery” stated Morgan (5). China was not the only country that used marijuana as a medicine. For example, in Thailand it was used to stimulate the appetite of people who were ill. “It would make them sleep, and counteract diarrhea,” states Thompson (10). Clearly, we can see that the use of marijuana began as a medicine, and with more research we can find better uses of marijuana as for medicinal purposes. Marijuana is very helpful in easing the suffering of the sick but it also creates side effects. The scientific evidence published to date indicates that marijuana has a broad range of psychological and biological effects, some of which are harmful to human health. Marijuana has different effects on the nervous system and on behavior. Marijuana impairs motor coordination and affects tracking ability and sensory and perceptual functions important for safe driving. “It also impairs short-term memory and slows learning,” said Webster (3). Marijuana smoke is a complex mixture that has many chemical components and biological effects similar to tobacco smoke. However, it also contains some different ingredients. This suggests the strong possibility that marijuana, like tobacco, could lead to lung cancer, or create respiratory distress. “Smoking marijuana also causes changes in the heart and circulation that are characteristic of stress” states Morgan (5). Current evidence has shown marijuana also causes some chemical changes in the brain. After exposure to this drug, there have been reports of effects on brain electrical activity in human beings and in animals. Marijuana also has been found to produce an acute brain syndrome. “This is a more severe mental problem consisting of confusion and loss of contact with reality” stated Berger (8). The main reason that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency doesn't want marijuana use to be legalized is because there is no evidence to date that proves that marijuana is an effective drug when used for medicinal purposes. Scientists have researched this drug for twenty years and have yet to produce reliable scientific proof that marijuana has medical value. New findings show that marijuana is acutely harmful to AIDS and cancer patients because the active ingredient in marijuana acutely reduces the white blood cells that fight off infection. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency agrees with police departments that if marijuana use is legalized, crime could increase due to a higher number of users. Statistics have proven that eventually these marijuana users could become addicted and crime could increase. These users would need to purchase the drug, and as the need increases, more money would be needed to fund this habit.
There are also many advantages of smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes. Persons suffering from the advanced stage of AIDS find that marijuana stimulates their appetites. They are able to digest foods to gain strength and prevent emaciation. Glaucoma patients have discovered that using marijuana has prevented them from going blind by diminishing their sight retardation. Surveys were given to glaucoma patients and they reported that they all preferred smoking marijuana instead of paying for the expensive medication that basically had the same result. Cancer patients use marijuana to alleviate the severe nausea that is a side effect of chemotherapy. Cancer chemotherapy is one of the most developed treatments utilized during the past few decades in an effort to combat this fatal disease. Chemotherapy attacks the cancer cells, but unfortunately, it also attacks and destroys the healthy body cells. Many cancer patients agree that the side effects of chemotherapy are actually worse than the cancer itself. In Marijuana, the forbidden medicine, it states that the use of marijuana was effective in reducing nausea and vomiting. “Based on surveys of randomly selected cancer patients, they would rather smoke marijuana then be subjected to chemotherapy,” stated Berger (7). Chemotherapy patients also suffer when taking oral medication that accompanies the chemotherapy treatment. . When marijuana is taken with these ordinarily painful medications, it has been known to suppress and even eliminate the side effects. This allows the patients to sustain the treatment. It also helps them physically to expedite the healing process. Cancer will consume the weakened patient. However, a strong patient can achieve remission.
AIDS is the second most deadly disease that affects the world population. One of the main problems with combating AIDS is that the treatment is very expensive. There is no known cure yet. It has only been in the last few years that patients have admitted having the disease instead of suffering in silence. Victims like Ryan White gave this disease dignity and people began donating money to find the cure. Previously, AIDS patients were treated with expensive therapy. Now, however, marijuana is used currently on some AIDS patients. “Studies of smoked marijuana on healthy volunteers showed that it increased their appetite and they gained weight” stated Morgan (7). The positive thing is that there aren’t any serious side effects for AIDS patients who smoke marijuana. Its usage isn’t a life-threatening treatment, and it can be quickly reversed when the drug is discontinued. There have been several arguments presented for the use of legalizing marijuana for compassionate usage.
The legalization of marijuana has become a major issue and the number of supporters and opponents seems to be equally divided. As stated previously, many physicians feel that marijuana is helpful in the treatment of AIDS, glaucoma, and cancer treatment. They also feel it is helpful for the treatment of arthritis, migraine headaches, and multiple sclerosis. Proponents want this law supported so that the drug can be legally regulated. People who really need it would be able to get it and use it without being criminally prosecuted. With the enactment of this law, physicians would also be protected if they should recommend marijuana to their patients. Physicians are given more scrutiny as to why they prescribe this drug to patients. The law would give physicians a right to consider marijuana as an option without being criminally prosecuted. Another strong supporting statement is that if doctors are allowed to prescribe morphine and codeine, why can’t they prescribe marijuana as well? Opponents of enacting legislation claim that prescribing marijuana does not require a written prescription. It also does not have an age limit for utilizing the drug. Another argument is that the Federal Drug Agency did not approve of this drug and that will provide no protection for consumers.
After researching all of the topics covered in this paper, I have come to the personal conclusion that marijuana has been shown to be a safe and effective medicine. Marijuana should be legalized in order to help people who suffer from terminal diseases such as AIDS and cancer. It should also be readily supplied for glaucoma patients. The prohibition of marijuana over the past few decades hasn't diminished the demand of the drug in the United States. I am very surprised that in a country as advanced as the United States, people who are deathly ill cannot legally obtain the medicine that will provide them with some relief from their suffering. Marijuana is the only drug that can actually be given to patients and not cause serious side effects. It is also a less expensive means of treatment. In my point of view, if the United States government regulated the use of marijuana, it would be a very successful step. If the doctors prescribed marijuana for certain patients, and if the rules for usage of the drug were very strict, there would not be any misuse of the drug. Marijuana is also very cheap to produce, and more people could afford this drug instead of being subjected to high-tech treatments that don’t always work. It is easier to administer and the results are often much faster. It would be a tremendous advantage if patients were allowed to smoke marijuana. Marijuana should not be an illicit drug; it should be legalized for medical purposes only.
Berger, Philip A. “Marijuana.” Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Microsoft Corporation. 1997.
Morgan, John P. and Zimmer, Lynn. Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts. Sarasota: Book World Services, Inc. 1997. The Science of Medical Marijuana. 21 May 1999. .
Thompson, Stephen P., ed. The War on Drugs: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998.
Webster, Maddy. “Legalizing Pot: What You Can Do.” High Times. Jan 1999: 30.
Weed Wars: Facts and Stats. CNNInteractive. 1997.
You Dealing with Chemotherapy. National Cancer Institute, Institute of Health. 28 Jan. 1999. .
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