Debates concerning the use of marijuana as a medicinal treatment have been ongoing for decades, and have sparked more than a few concerns that have to do with its applications. Those who argue for the use of the drug are typically of the mind that marijuana does far more good than harm, citing research that leans more towards the benefits stemming from its use a pain reliever. On the other side, those who argue vehemently against the drug do so for the same reason, bringing up studies and, at times, propaganda that incites viewers to realize just what cost marijuana use comes with. The compromise between both sides of the issue is a transition point, not the end to the argument.
For decades marijuana was considered to be a gateway drug, and by the standards of some people it remains that way in current times. Many regard marijuana as an illicit material that is not only harmful to the user but to others in regards to how the user is affected. Much like alcohol or any other drug marijuana exerts an influence upon the user, specifically reducing cognitive functions and reaction times. This in turn means that while under the influence of marijuana an individual is to be considered intoxicated, just as they might be when using any other mind-altering substance. In this manner the argument is simple that marijuana is dangerous by the effects it causes within the brain.
the beginning for harder, more illicit substances such as cocaine, heroin, and other such harmful
drugs that are known to damage the user and even lead to death (Kandel 482). Many would believe that this is a conclusive and truthful claim, though it is not as substantiated as many would like to believe. In reality the idea that marijuana is a gateway drug has come largely from the more negative aspects concerning the lives of those who are observed smoking or otherwise using the drug, meaning those who live in inner-city slums, individuals that are known criminals or are of a lower socioeconomic class (DeSimone 149).
Without bias marijuana is a depressant that can affect cognitive functions, and as a result must be taken in moderation and not utilized before certain functions that require focus and concentration, such as driving or operating anything hazardous (Pope Jr. & Todd 521). This would in essence make it no more dangerous than alcohol, which is a legal substance and yet is capable of causing untold numbers of deaths per year. In fact it is commonly seen that deaths relating to direct or indirect use of alcohol far surpass any incidents or even accidental deaths that result from the use of marijuana. Regardless of the fact that it is in fact a controlled substance, the use of marijuana is oftentimes more subtle and far less apt to provoke confrontations or incidents that would force the user or others to incur bodily harm.
When compared to other medicines such as morphine and Oxycontin for example, marijuana is by far one of the more benevolent substances that can be used for pain relief. While its inhibitors allow for pain reduction it is also capable of creating a mellow state of mind in which the user feels a greatly reduced sense of stress, anxiety, and concern. Though it is by no means a cure-all for ailments it is a very effective method by which to alleviate needless suffering without the much stronger and sometimes even fatal addiction that can form when using other substances. Like anything that is taken in moderate to great quantities marijuana can in fact become an addiction, but it is much more benign than most other substances.
The most common symptoms of withdrawal from marijuana are insomnia, headaches, and a general feeling of depression. Such symptoms are often the most minor effects of quitting most other, more addictive drugs, while for marijuana they are the absolute worst that can happen. It is natural for the human body to suffer at least minor to moderate withdrawals that come from quitting the use of a substance, and marijuana is no different in that regard. But unlike other drugs it is not likely to cause much more damage than that listed above. In fact it is reasonable to state that the only true ailments that would grow any worse would be those that were near unbearable before the use of marijuana.
Among the most noted users of marijuana in this day and age are those that suffer from one or more truly debilitating conditions that affect them in ways that are either irreversible or so horrible that they have a real need for some type of relief. Some of those individuals might turn to other, stronger methods of pain relief. Those who want a mellower, laid back experience to go with the alleviation of their pain tend to choose marijuana as an easy, readily available solution that can at the very least offer them some type of relaxation. Cancer, leukemia, lupus, and several other conditions that are painful to endure are common reasons why marijuana has become such a preferred method of pain relief.
For recreational use marijuana is in truth no more dangerous than alcohol, and should be treated as such. Those who drink and drive are subjected to heavy fines and possible jail time when caught, and those who smoke marijuana are made to suffer the same penalty. The legality of the drug and its use as a medicinal drug have in the past several years become less of an issue and more of a drawn out argument between those who are against it and those who are for the sale and use of the drug. While both sides present valid and well-researched arguments the middle ground is sometimes hard to find.
As a medicine marijuana still requires control and regulation, but overall it is a boon rather than a burden, a useful tool that can and has helped a great many people through its application. While not at all necessary for pain relief it does offer a much less addicting option. The drug also offers its own unique benefits when being used, for example the help with loss of appetite that can come with illnesses and exposure to other medicinal substances. It is not meant to be a cure, but more of a balm to aid those who are tired of living with their continual pain, and can find no other viable alternative.
Having become legal in so many states marijuana is now quite easy to come by and still carries stiff regulations. For medicinal uses immature plants, only four, can be obtained by those with the proper medical card in a two-month period. In terms of recreation the regulations differ from state to state, but the amount that one can buy at a time typically ranges from a quarter ounce to an ounce per visit to any store (Hoffman & Weber 1453). This requires that the buyer be twenty-one years of age and that the transaction be recorded to avoid selling more than the allotment to a particular individual. Legally a person can carry up to seven grams on their person and no more.
Among the many drugs and controlled substances that exist marijuana is among the most harmless, though it does still carry the propensity for causing problems from its use. The legalization of this drug in is still a very hotly debated issue, but to date the facts and reports that come from various studies conducted have come to favor the belief that, it is far more useful than harmful in relation to other drugs. There is still much to be said, researched, and discovered in regards to the long-term and short-term effects of marijuana and how it will fit into the legally allowed substances that are on the market in this day and age, but for now the transition of marijuana into a consumer product is one that is more or less accepted.
DeSimone, Jeffrey. “Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?” Eastern Economic Journal. 24 (2): pages
Hoffman, Diane E. J.D. & Weber, Ellen, J.D. “Medical Marijuana and the Law.” The New
England Journal of Medicine. 362: pages 1453-1457. Print.
Kandel, Denise B. PhD. “Does Marijuana Use Cause the Use of Other Drugs?” The Journal of
the American Medicine Association. 289 (4): pages 482-483. Print.
Pope Jr., Harrison G. M.D. & Todd, Deborah Yurgulen PhD. “The Residual Cognitive Effects of
Heavy Marijuana Use in College Students.” The Journal of the American Medicine Association. 275 (7): pages 521-527. Print.