Medical Marijuana Argumentative Essay
Prior to the enactment of the Marijuana Tax Act, there were at least twenty-seven legal medicines that contained marijuana available in the U. S. In 1970, The Controlled Substances Act placed marijuana into a Schedule I status defining it as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U. S. and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Currently it remains illegal under federal law in the United States other than the four Americans that were grandfathered under the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program.
Contradictory to federal law, at present, medical marijuana is legalized in sixteen states and Washington, DC. There have been multiple studies and research done by advocates for and against medical marijuana legalization. Although there are strong arguments by both sides, federally legalizing the use of medical marijuana is the better choice because it has beneficial effects to patients suffering from various ailments; it will cause a decrease in recreational use nationwide; and it is less harmful to the user than many other prescription medications.
Medical Marijuana Argumentative Essay Essay Example
At present, the pros outweigh the cons when considering the positive benefits to medical marijuana. On September 6, 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, ruled: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man…” [Docket #86-22]. The principal constituent of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is effective in treating nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, and acute or chronic pain. Specifically, marijuana has been proven to give relief from nausea and appetite loss caused by AIDS.
It reduces intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma. Additionally; it has positive effects on persons suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other conditions with chronic pain. Beside the medical evidence that marijuana is helpful in treating certain ailments, there are numerous organizations that support some type of physician supervised access to medical marijuana including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Health Association and the New England Journal of Medicine. Millions of patients in the U. S. ould be helped by medical marijuana. On April 20, 2006, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted the following “Inter-Agency Advisory” on its website, www. fda. gov, “… A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services agencies… concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety of efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. ” Medical marijuana is not the only source of pain relief that contains THC available to patients.
Marinol, a pill with synthetic THC, is often prescribed to patients suffering from AIDS, or cancer patients that have gone through chemotherapy. Unlike medical marijuana, Marinol is FDA approved. It seems as though Marinol could substitute marijuana for treating symptoms related to AIDS and cancer chemotherapy; until you consider some other facts that prove otherwise. First, Marinol only provides limited relief to a select group of patients. It also does not have the same effect for the number of different ailments as marijuana. Marijuana or cannibas is made of multiple compounds, not solely THC. John M.
McPartland from the Faculty of Health and Environmental Science and Ethan B. Russo from the Montana Neurobehavioral Specialists write: “Good evidence shows that secondary compounds in cannabis may enhance beneficial effects of THC… In essence, clinical cannabis demonstrates herbal synergy and is more than simply a vehicle for THC administration”. Simply stated, marijuana has many other benefits other than those given from THC alone. Secondly, Marinol is much more costly than marijuana. THC is a difficult compound to manufacture. The heightened cost for manufacturing is passed down to the patient consumer.
In 2008, the estimated cost for one gram of marijuana was $17. 14 as compared to $1,810. 00 for one gram of Marinol. Lastly, patients ultimately prefer natural cannibas to Marinol. Several states conducted patient trials in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In TN, NM, CA, and NY each study showed that patients claimed a higher success rate coping with their symptoms using medical marijuana over orally ingested synthetic THC. The legalization of medical marijuana would cause a decrease in recreational use nationwide. The patients that use medical marijuana are not using it for recreational purposes.
Instead, they are using it to alleviate their suffering, and to counteract the effects of their treatments. AK, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, HI, ME, MI, MT, NV, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VT, and WA all have legalized medical marijuana possession limits and requirements for registry ID cards. There are strict processes and protocol that must be followed in order to become a medical marijuana recipient in these states and DC. Public opinion also dictates the desire for the legalization of medical marijuana (not the legalization of recreational marijuana) nationally to come into effect.
In March 2008, then Governor Barack Obama stated in an interview with Gary Nelson of the Oregon Mail Tribune, “When it comes to medical marijuana, I have more of a practical view than anything else. My attitude is that if it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else. ” In a Harris Poll taken in February of 2011, 74 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for medical treatment.
Government organizations send the message that legalization of medical marijuana will result in increased recreational use, especially among adolescents. This claim is unfounded and sends the wrong message to the general public. Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the U. S. By legalizing marijuana, even for medical reasons, the wrong message is being sent out to our nation’s youth. Currently there are more young people being treated for marijuana dependency than for all other illegal drugs, and alcohol combined. Marijuana is also a gateway drug.
A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that out of 300 sets of twins, the marijuana-using twins were four times more likely than their siblings to use cocaine and crack cocaine. Marijuana also increases the likelihood of depression, social withdrawal, panic attacks, and other mental health problems within teenagers. Cannibas also can lead to dependency and abuse. These are all valid concerns; although, they do not accurately depict the statistics on recreational marijuana usage among America’s youth post-legalization of medical marijuana.
In the report, Marijuana Use by Young People: The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Laws by Karen O’Keefe and Mitch Earleywine, the decline in recreational use statewide and nationally after legalizing medical marijuana within the states is proven. California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana (California Proposition 215), and the state with the most detailed data available reported the number of ninth graders reporting marijuana usage in the last 30 days declined by 47 percent from 1996 (when the state’s medical marijuana law was enacted) to 2004.
Likewise, a decline was reported in WA, HI, ME, NV, AK, and OR from the time their respective state’s medical marijuana laws were passed. Teenage marijuana use declined nationwide from 1996 to 2004. At the time of the study, there was no evidence that the passage of 10 state medical marijuana laws produced an increase in adolescent marijuana use within those states, or nationwide. In fact, just the opposite was shown. Across-the-board, a decrease in youth marijuana use in medical marijuana states marginally exceeded the national decline.
Medical marijuana is less harmful than many other prescription drugs. Many drugs that are prescribed for the same ailments as medical marijuana are administered simultaneously. This increases the risk of multiple side effects. Nearly all drugs, including legal drugs, act as a bigger threat to individual health than marijuana does. Marijuana is non-toxic and cannot be used to overdose. To date, the annual death count of those dying from marijuana is zero.
The Academy of Science’ Institute of Medicine in 1999 determined the following: “… the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range tolerated for other medications… There is no conclusive evidence that marijuana causes cancer in humans including cancers usually related to tobacco use. ” Smoking marijuana is more harmful than smoking tobacco. The damage done to lungs from smoking marijuana is three to five times greater than smoking tobacco. Respiratory problems which include daily coughing and phlegm, and symptoms of chronic bronchitis are displayed by regular marijuana smokers.
They are also subject to having chest colds and damaging lung tissue. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University affirms that marijuana is a dangerous drug. It is true that smoking marijuana can be harmful to your lungs; however, there are different forms of benefitting from medical marijuana that do not include smoking it. Marijuana can be inhaled through a vaporizer. It can also be eaten in cakes, cookies, and other treats. The onset of the relief from medical marijuana is released sooner through smoking than by any other means.
There are no definitive studies to date that substantiate the claim that marijuana smoking is worse than cigarette smoking. Concerning the danger of smoking marijuana as opposed to other medication, “Numerous studies and federally commissioned reports have endorsed marijuana’s relative safety compared to other drugs, and recommended its decriminalization or legalization. ” (Van Tuyl 23). The ability to effectively research medical marijuana’s benefits is limited by the Federal Government.
Currently there is only one legal source of marijuana for clinical research in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is that source, which makes it difficult (almost impossible) for researchers to acquire marijuana for their studies. In order to gain FDA approval, medical marijuana studies would have to be done a large-scale which would be exceedingly costly. With the added limitations of supply from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it would be unachievable to complete that level of research. In June 2005, the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v.
Raich kept state medical marijuana laws in tact but allowed for continued federal attacks on patients, even in states with medical marijuana laws. In order for seriously ill people to use medical marijuana to relieve their chronic symptoms, the legalization of medical marijuana must occur through Congress. This would also result in a decrease in overall adolescent marijuana usage, and it would provide another viable, less detrimental source of pain relief for patients. Works Cited 16 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC. 13 May 2011. MedicalMarijuana. ProCon. org.
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