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Marijuana Essay, Research Paper

The question of marijuana being legalized for medical purposes has been a very controversial issue for a long time. It’s been controversial for the reason of the bad track record that it has sustained over the years. Marijuana is considered to be a schedule one drug. This means that it has a high potential for abuse, lacks an acceptance for legal medical use, and is unsafe for use under medical supervision, as is clearly stated under the controlled substance act. Many individuals who are highly respected in our society are trying to change marijuana to a schedule two drug. By doing this, it would alter the law so that it may be prescribed legally. A schedule two drug is medication that has a high abuse potential but has also a legal acceptance for medical use. The most important question is “ Is marijuana just a gateway drug and just an excuse to get high, or does it actually ease suffering in the ill”?

From as far back as the 1930’s, marijuana was legal. Beginning in 1619, the Virginia Assembly passed legislation making it a requirement for every farmer to grow cannabis, or otherwise known as hemp. It was used as currency in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. During the civil war, it started to become a main ingredient in many medications (marijuana timeline 1). In 1906, the drug act and pure food required that labeling be on all containers that include any type of marijuana. Continuing on into the early years of the 1900’s, Mexicans began to arrive in the United States to introduce the recreational aspect of smoking marijuana. In 1932, federal government created the uniform state narcotic act. They provided the act because marijuana was becoming overly popular in the crime scene by selling and abusing the illegal drugs. The Uniform State Narcotic Act encouraged state governments to control the drug problems (marijuana

Timeline 3). This started a long extensive research with marijuana and the contents that marijuana contained which took place in 1944. The New York Academy of Medicine was conducting the research and found that marijuana did not induce violence, insanity, sex crimes, or lead to addiction or other drug use (marijuana timeline 3). During World War two, hemp seeds were given to farmers to grow so they could make parachutes, marine cordage, and various military equipment. Some of these policies that were passed by legislation are the Boggs Act, Narcotics Control Act, which gave mandatory sentences with a hefty fine (marijuana timeline 4). The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs created a merger in 1973 with the office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement into the well-known Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA. In 1996, A proposition was passed by California called Proposition 215, which allows the use of marijuana to be used for medical purposes under a doctor’s supervision. Besides California, other states have passed laws, which permit the use of marijuana as a medical product. These laws legalize…”possession use, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana if recommended by a physician for a serious illness” (HSU COL). The states included in passing this law include Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Many people know marijuana as many different names like pot, weed, hemp, or bud. The fancy name or official name of marijuana is cannabis sativa. This is what marijuana is composed of and then contained within the cannabis sativa or marijuana is an adverse drug that effects the central nervous system of the body. This adverse drug is known as delta 9-tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC. The THC is very sticky resin oil that can be excreted from the leaves of the marijuana plant. “ Whether marijuana is smoked, eaten, brewed in tea, or swallowed in pill form, THC is the major ingredient affecting the central nervous system” ( Talarico 41 ).

From a study done by the Institute of Medicine, cannabis sativa is effective for the symptoms of nausea and vomiting; however, it greatly increases the amount food consumption taken into the body ( Kalb ). “…. Cannabis (cannabis sativa) is thought to be effective in a wide range of conditions, including appetite enhancement for the wasting syndrome of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), control of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, relief of spasticity and pain associated with MS (multiple sclerosis), a decrease in intraocular pressure in glaucoma, and control of migraine headaches and epileptic seizures” ( Talarico 44 ). This positive side to the medical aspect has kept many people and doctors questioning especially when the cannabis is said to also help in people with spastic disorders where it helps relax the muscles, it relieves phantom limb pain, and menstrual cramps. Looking at these great advantages, it’s hard not to give this a try. It’s found to have no major physiological dysfunction. There are also no known cases of overdose (Grinspoon, Bakalar 1875). Compared to the average cigarette, marijuana is smoked less as a stimulant. The medical marijuana would only be handled in cases of extreme seriousness. When other medical efforts seem to decline.

Discussing the concerns of marijuana use as medical treatment, the down falls consist of toxicity which it produces over the body when smoking it. The scientists from the Institute of Medicine suggest it is harmful. The Journal of American Medical Association writes “The chief legitimate concerns is the effect of smoking on the lungs. Cannabis smoke carries even more tars and other particulate matter than tobacco smoke” (Grinspoon, Bakalar 1876). This situation may be the cause of people crating a “homemade” job of rolling up their joints and the joints are in no way filtered, like cigarettes. Following this procedure, people are inhaling an undoubtful amount of the tar and particular matter into their lungs. This brings up the situation of how AIDS patients can use this as a medical treatment when it may harm their lungs and immune responses. In the patient care Journal, it states “marijuana used by patients with AIDS is discouraged since it is not known to what extent marijuana may further compromise the lungs immune defenses and predispose the patient to opportunistic pulmonary infections” (Talicarico 49). Another problem can arise with cancer patients in that they cannot take THC in pill form due to the nausea and vomiting. With the bad comes the good and they are trying to create devices such as inhalers, filters, vaporizing devices, and pipes to remove some of the harmful elements of the marijuana smoke.

There is one drug, THC, on the market that is a schedule two drug that is used medically called Drohabinol. A write up in the Patient Care Journal States “as long as Dronabinol is on the market the Drug Enforcement Agency does not need to reschedule crude marijuana as a medical drug” (Talarico 42). The THC drug is used on AIDS patients to enhance eating patterns and chemotherapy patients to reduce nausea and vomiting, patients with epilepsy, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis. It claims to be very beneficial in its use than any other drug used to help these various types of sick patients. Disadvantages of this drug include severe side effects, delayed onset of 30 to 60 minutes. The THC drug peaks at two to four hours into treatment, and lastly it is in a pill form making it hard to keep down when there is a patient with nausea and vomiting, and the treatment is over before it’s even started.

I believe that marijuana would benefit the health care field. Looking at the extensive work it has done so far like increasing the appetite in an AIDS patient, reducing nausea and vomiting in the cancer patient who is receiving chemotherapy, also the THC drug has been used in spastic disorders. These are just a few of what advantages have taken place. The question is why there is not use of this drug on a medical basis? The main reason is the fact that people cannot detach themselves from the stigma of marijuana. It is not like these chronic ill patients are given medical supervision of rolling up a blunt, or smoking through a bong to relieve their distress. The medical treatment is in a pill form like any other medication. Just like the THC drug, it has adverse affects, which one is going to experience with any drug they take. If this relieves symptoms then it should be respected and handled with extreme caution like any drug. The fact that people keep that stigma to the THC drug that it is bad or harmful for the body then they may as well eliminate all other drugs because of the harm they cause as well. This stigma is what keeps the controversy escalating. In reality every drug can be bad in its own way but has great advantages in helping people with chronic illnesses.

Does marijuana help out in the health care world? Many opinions don’t count in the controversy but in time, the results will shine through as to whether accept or discontinue this form of treatment. The law has now been passed in six states to treat with the THC drug. The advantages may be recognized or the disadvantages may be too severe. Who will make the decision? I’m thinking the government.

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