Several medical and health organizations have recognized marijuana’s medical value. In fact, some of these medical organizations and other prominent associations have
favorable medical marijuana positions such as the AIDS Action Council, American Academy of HIV Medicine, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, AIDS Project Rhode Island, just to name a few (Logos). Medical experts say that there is substantial evidence that have proven that marijuana is safe and effective for some patients (Ethos). My point is that marijuana is not to be considered as a purely illegal substance because of its medicinal value (Metacommentary). Essentially, I am arguing that medical marijuana does not send the wrong message to children. In short, legalizing the use of medical marijuana will not increase the recreational use of adolescents if they are properly informed that it can only be used by sick people for their cure (Metacommentary). My conclusion then is that it is absurd to punish patients for using medical marijuana so it is about time that all states enact laws to legalize its use.
Thesis Statement: Legalizing the use of medical marijuana or its decriminalization is beneficial for the State as part of an income-generating measure and the patients who suffer from neuropathic pain.
- Marijuana has been proven to possess valid therapeutic purposes.
- Medical marijuana does not send wrong message to children and adolescents.
- Marijuana has not demonstrated significant harm to the immune system.
Reason One/Post One: Marijuana has been proven to possess valid therapeutic purposes.
For example, the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005), it was held that marijuana holds valid therapeutic purposes (Ethos) My point is that the SC ruling did not overturn the validity of state medical marijuana laws nor did the decision prevent the states from enacting new medical marijuana laws. In fact, the Supreme Court ruling preserved the status quo of Proposition 215 which was passed in California in 1996 (Logos). To put it in another way, it was maintained that the states may stop the arrest of medical marijuana patients on the basis of the state law. What legalization of medical marijuana really means is that there will be no prosecution of medical marijuana activities which had been permitted by state laws as expressed by the present Obama Administration in 2009 (Metacommentary).
In other words, the new research confirmed that marijuana has indeed medical benefits. In sum then, the report of the three University of California studies that were published since from February 2007 reported that marijuana relieved neuropathic pain. This is known as the “pain that have been caused by the damage to nerves” (Logos) (Abrams, Jay, Shade, Vizoso, et al. 516). My conclusion then is that marijuana was able to provide “relief for neuropathic pain, which is the kind of pain which generally afflicts patients that have been diagnosed of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other related conditions” (Abrams et al., 517).
Essentially, I am arguing that “marijuana is one of the safest and most effective medicines for some patients” (Mirken, “New evidence shows marijuana is safe, effective – and maybe legal drugs aren’t”). For example, the recent studies that involved 215 patients who were allowed to use cannabis to manage chronic pain for a period of one year showed relief from muscle stiffness, spasms, sleep problems and body pains (Metacommentary). Medical experts say that the “215 patients showed promising results, as compared to the other patients who did not use marijuana” (Ethos) (Mirken, “New evidence shows marijuana is safe, effective – and maybe legal drugs aren’t”). My conclusion is that the substance marijuana has the tendency to augment the analgesic effects of opioids, that will allow longer treatment with only lower doses of substance needed by the patients, and has fewer side effects (Logos).
Reason Two/Post Two: Medical marijuana does not send wrong message to children and adolescents.
For example, the state-sponsored California Student Survey (CSS) that was conducted showed that medical marijuana laws did not increase teen marijuana use (Logos). To put it in another way, after the enactment of “California’s medical marijuana law or otherwise known as “Proposition 215” had shown that one year after the law became effective, the number of adolescents who use marijuana significantly dropped nearly half in some age groups” (Logos). (Skager, Austin, and Wong, “Marijuana Use and the Response to Proposition 215 among California Youth”).
My point is that the use of medical marijuana should be legalized. To put it in another way, the surveys conducted by states have shown that students in the other medical marijuana states have reported decrease in teen marijuana use after state laws passed their own medical marijuana laws (Metacommentary). In fact, the state of “California has conducted an independent study to examine the effects of Proposition 215, as part of the 1997-98 CSS” (Ethos) (Skager, et al., “Marijuana Use and the Response to Proposition 215 among California Youth”). My conclusion then is that there was no convincing evidence that will support the claim that the passage of Proposition 215 increased marijuana use during the given period. In other words, the passage of laws that criminalize patients for using their medical marijuana is that which send the wrong message to children which advocate dishonesty (Pathos). Essentially, my point is that the claim that sick people who need medical marijuana must continue to suffer for the purpose of protecting the youth is what sends the wrong message to the children (Metacommentary). The legalization of marijuana requires that the youth should be taught on the difference between prescribed medicine and drug abuse. For example, the “children must be educated on what substances are to be prescribed under the Physicians’ Desk Reference, and these substances should not be used for recreational purposes” (Ethos) (Institute of Medicine 159).
In sum, then, the youth must be fully informed that these drugs are not to be used for fun, but are given to patients as medicines with the prescription coming from a physician (Metacommentary). My conclusion, then, is that, it is the duty of the state to regulate marijuana use by advocating an advertisement campaign addressed to the public that marijuana should only be used by people who are seriously ill and suffering from dreaded diseases (Metacommentary).
Reason Three/Post Three: Marijuana has not demonstrated significant harm to the immune system.
For example, the recent scientific studies did not show any meaningful harm to the immune system from marijuana. This has been affirmed by the Institute of Medicine which stated that in spite of several allegations that marijuana suppresses the human immune system, the “health effects of marijuana-induced immunomodulation remain to be unsubstantiated” (Ethos) (Institute of Medicine 109). In other words, the short-term immune suppressive effects of marijuana have not been clearly established if they do exist. As a result, “patients who need marijuana should not deprive of the right to avail of the medical use of such drug (Logos) (Institute of Medicine 109).
Essentially, my argument is that extensive research involving HIV/AIDS patients, having vulnerable immune systems did not demonstrate signs that will indicate any marijuana-related harm (Metacommentary). Based on the study of researcher/physician Donald Abrams from the University of California at San Francisco had revealed that there was no finding of any immune system damage after studying the effects of marijuana and Marinol. The participants of the study were “HIV/AIDS patients who took the anti-HIV combination therapy” (Ethos) (Institute of Medicine 125). In other words, the results revealed there is no indication of any immune system damage.
In sum, the claim of the famous AIDS specialist in the person of Doctor Mary Romeyn who cited that even during the early studies on marijuana in the 1970s, the negative effect of the substance in the human immune system has not been shown to be triggered by excessive use of drugs by recreational users (Ethos). My conclusion, then, is that it is “better to consider marijuana and its medicinal value, rather than the socio-political effects it holds since it is considered as an effective medicine for HIV/AIDS patients” (Logos) (Institute of Medicine 126).
Post Four/Opposing Perspective: The adverse effects of marijuana outweigh its medicinal value.
Essentially, my argument is that marijuana does not differ significantly the other kinds of opiate drugs since it does not produce addiction obtained from morphine. In other words, the abstinence of marijuana will not cause the physiological withdrawal syndrome of its users (Metacommentary). For example, the continued use of marijuana is known to result in psychological dependence and deprivation that may lead to “anxiety, fear, fretfulness, irritability, restlessness, and even a state of depression” (Pathos) (Goode 159). In other words, this is the type of depression that may cause suicidal fantasies, episodes of mutilating actions or actual suicidal attempts (Pathos).
In sum, another detrimental effect of marijuana includes the splitting of consciousness, where the user shall experience depersonalization or de-realization after it has entered the human system (Metacommentary). Medical experts reported that in one case, a “child who was accidentally exposed to marijuana resulted to amnesia” (Ethos) (Doweiko 152). They say that marijuana use resulted to impaired reflexes that can last up to 24 hours after the person’s last use of this particular substance. For example, a more serious and rare “adverse reaction of marijuana use can develop to a psychotic reaction leading to a drug-induced “psychosis” that will only clear-up after seven days” (Logos) (Doweiko 153).
I therefore conclude that marijuana use can bring negative outcomes on the perception and memory of an individual based on 25 years of research (Metacommentary). In other words, the substance will accelerate the heart rate leading to cardiac diseases. Essentially, my point is that evidence had shown that chronic use of marijuana may cause physical changes in the brain. Medical experts revealed that the “smoke that comes from marijuana cigarettes is more harmful compared to the smoke that comes from the tobacco substance” (Ethos) (Doweiko 157).
My argument is that decriminalization of marijuana in several states allowing marijuana use for medicinal purposes only increased the number of recreational users. Although marijuana has been proven to hold medicinal benefits, the unregulated use of the substance can cause harmful effects to the human system. The “primary ingredient of marijuana is the compound “tetrahydrocannabinol” or THC” (Logos) (Doweiko 157). In other words, the compound produces a significant effect on the human brain by creating a sense of euphoria among the users. Further, it gives the “high sensation that marijuana users experience while they see bright colors, go through rapid hallucinations and uncontrollable laughter” (Logos) (Grady, “5 Reasons Why Legalizing Marijuana Stinks). They say that after the euphoria lapses, the users experience a fear, anxiety, and depression which can also permanently affected the memory. For example, smoking marijuana also induces the heart beat by 20 to 100 percent (Logos). Medical experts claim that the frequent use of marijuana of at least five times or more may lead to a fatal heart attack (Ethos). Aside from these, the “smoke of marijuana can also affect the lungs which may eventually lead to cancer after having been exposed to toxic chemicals of at least five cigarettes per day” (Logos) (Grady, “5 Reasons Why Legalizing Marijuana Stinks”).
Finally, my position is that decriminalization and legalization of medical marijuana shall only be allowed by every state for the purpose of curing the sick people who suffer from neuropathic pain, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. To put it in another way, marijuana use should only be allowed for medicinal purposes and not for recreational use (Metacommentary).
Essentially, I am arguing that legalizing the use of medical marijuana is beneficial for the State since it can serve as income-generating measure (Metacommentary). At the same time, it will also decriminalize the acts of patients who use marijuana to relieve neuropathic pain. Thus, legalizing the use of medical marijuana will prevent the arrest and imprisonment of seriously ill patients who use marijuana with their doctors’ approval (Logos). In the future, the best way to decriminalize the use of marijuana by sick people is the enactment of medical marijuana laws of all states. In short, the regulation of the substance will not only be for the benefit of the sick people, but the tax funds collected can be used to defray the expenses of the government (Metacommentary). Another argument that will support the legalization of marijuana is that it has been proven to possess valid therapeutic purposes to cure HIV/AIDS patients (Logos). In sum, the legalization of medical marijuana does not send wrong message to children since they should be informed that marijuana can only be used by seriously sick patients (Pathos). My conclusion is that medical marijuana has should be legalized since there is no proof that it can cause considerable harm to the immune system. Therefore, there is no valid reason why medical marijuana should remain illegal.
Abrams, D., Jay, C., Shade, S., Vizoso, H., Reda, H., Press S., Kelly M., Rowbotham M.,
and Petersen, K., “Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: A
randomized placebo-controlled trial,” Neurology. 68: 515-521.
Boles Ponto, Laura L. “Challenges of Marijuana Research”. Brain 129.5 (2006):1081-
Drug Guide. Marijuana. The Partnership at Drug Free.org. (2014.) Web. Retrieved on 04
April 2014, from http://www.drugfree.org/drug-guide/marijuana.
Doweiko, Harold E. Concepts of Chemical Dependency. USA: Cengage Learning, 2009.
Dupont, Robert L, MD. “Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana.” Marijuana and
Money. CNBC Special Report. (April 20, 2010). Web. Retrieved on 06 April
2014, from http://www.cnbc.com/id/36267223/Why_We_Should_Not_Legalize_Marijuana.
Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005)
Goode, Erich. Marijuana. New Jersey, USA: Transaction Publishers, 2010. Print.
Lynne-Landsman, Sarah D., Melvin D. Livingston, and Alexander C. Wagenaar. “Effects
of State Medical Marijuana Laws On Adolescent Marijuana Use.” American
D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999. Print.
Mehling, Randi and David J. Triggle. Marijuana. USA:Chelsea House Publishers, 2003.
Mirken, Bruce. “New evidence shows marijuana is safe, effective – and maybe legal
drugs aren’t”. Marijuana Policy Project (2010). Web. Retrieved on 04 April
2014, from http://www.westcoastleaf.net/?p=161.
Skager, R, Austin, G., and Wong, M. (1998). “Marijuana Use and the Response to
Proposition 215 Among California Youth, a Special Study From the California