Marijuana in Medicine

For over thirty years, it has been debated whether the use of medical marijuana should be allowed for medical purposes. Marijuana can be used as a treatment for nausea and vomiting, as well as a pain reliever from other medical treatments such as chemotherapy. Others argue that its use can lead to addiction and could lead to health risks such as lung and heart problems over time. Therefore, medical marijuana should be strictly limited for medical use and monitored to meet the needs of the patient. Medical marijuana should be allowed to relieve pain from illnesses and other treatments, and to assist with treating patients with other preexisting conditions.

The use of the cannabis plant has been studied and has been proven effective when used for medical purposes. Medical marijuana can be used because it contains molecules called cannabinoids. The human body has cannabinoid receptors that will activate and deactivate through certain biological events.( Medical Use of Cannabis) The most common type of cannabinoid used is Cannabis indica. This specific species of the plant has higher levels of THC, which can be used in medicine. While we have recently discovered the medical purposes, marijuana has been used from as early as 2737 B.C.E. An emperor of China, Shen Neng, used marijuana tea to treat memory loss, gout, and malaria. In India, medical marijuana was used as a remedy for anxiety. Throughout the 1900s, use of marijuana was seen as an offense, and was banned in twenty three states by 1937. By 1996, the laws had been withdrawn in several states, and California became the first state to legalize marijuana. (Stack and Suddath) Marijuana had been proven effective with the treatment of nausea, tuberculosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, and muscle spasticity. (Gale) It has also been tested with the treatment of cancer. Chemotherapy is currently a more effective form of treatment than marijuana, and tests are being conducted to see what other effects it holds. Although medical marijuana is not the most effective form for certain treatments, it can still be used as an effective treatment.

While several states have passed laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical treatment, many other states have restricted its use, or have completely outlawed the practice. As of May 2013, the Supreme Court has kept marijuana illegal.(Judd) Many other states have also legalized the use of marijuana. In 2001, the first case with medical defense was held in Florida. (U.S. vs. Steele Smith) In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana for medical purposes only. Since, then about twenty more states have joined this group. However, there are some states that have not legalized its use, but allow its practice when prescribed by a doctor. For example, the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, signed a law for young children to be administered marijuana in small amounts if needed. Although New Jersey has allowed marijuana to be legal, there are other states that have limiting laws. Lastly, a few states like Washington and Colorado have allowed marijuana to be used for non-medical purposes. Over the last decade, almost half of the states in the U.S. have passed laws allowing for the sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

Marijuana is currently viewed as a Schedule 1 drug. The Supreme Court placed marijuana in the Schedule 1 drug category. This is due to the fact that it has a very high potential for abuse. This caused the Supreme Court to not legalize the use of medical marijuana. This categorization has not had an effect on some states since they have allowed its practice to become legal. Other states are still in the process of legalization. However, in 2002, the Supreme Court stated that prescriptions from doctors for marijuana’s use are protected. States with similar views like Maryland state that it could lead to addiction. Therefore, these states have only allowed minor use of the drug. These states have also made minor exceptions to its use. While many states now allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, its use is strictly controlled through its categorization as a Schedule 1 drug.

Medical marijuana has been proven effective in treating many symptoms. Marijuana has been tested many times, and for many years. It has been proven effective in treating and relieving hunger, nerve pain, depression, and symptoms of glaucoma. It has also been proven successful in reliving symptoms after chemotherapy. Spastic contractions from the disease multiple-sclerosis have been controlled with the use of the drug. One of the main diseases that it helps is epilepsy. Epilepsy seizures have been found to be controlled by medical marijuana. In 2006, a young girl was born, and had an undiagnosed disease that caused frequent seizures. Over the course of a few years under the treatment of marijuana, the seizures became rare and the child has made steady improvement because of the drug. (Young) The use of medical marijuana is strictly monitored, and can be administered in different ways and amounts. It can be vaporized, eaten, or put into a liquid extract. The dosage depends on the age, size, and condition of the patient. Medical marijuana is an effective way to relieve symptoms, and can be administered in several different ways.

Medical marijuana is a more effective and safer in treating some symptoms over other medications. Some studies have shown that medical marijuana can be a safer treatment for some diseases. A few years ago, the American Medical Association conducted a study between marijuana and Aspirin. They found, in some cases, that marijuana was safer in some treatments. For example, Aspirin could lead to stomach bleeding, liver damage, and other harmful effects. Marijuana was shown to not have as serious effects, but was shown to cause health problems such as respiratory problems. Although it has potential health problems, some diseases are better fit with the drug as a form of treatment. Again, marijuana has been proven effective in many cases with epilepsy, as it decreases the frequency of seizures. It has also helped to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Although still being studied, the medical profession is still discovering the effects in treating some symptoms and pain.

On the other side of this argument, many disagree with the use of the cannabis plant since it could potentially lead to future health problems. Some studies show that marijuana use can lead to health problems over time. Damage to your body, delayed reaction time, and short-term memory loss are all included in the list of short and long term effects of marijuana use. The British Lung foundation also found that lung cancer is probable after constant and long-term use of marijuana. Other tests have been conducted and studied on different parts of the body. Specifically, effects on the brain have been inconclusive about the effects of marijuana use. Carcinogens in marijuana have been found to lead to lung and other cancers. Inhaling marijuana was described as ..[increasing] the lungs’ exposure to the harmful substances found in marijuana. (Medical Marijuana) Lastly, a study revealed that marijuana use damaged your immune system, causing the person to become prone to sickness, and trouble fighting sicknesses off. While many agree that the use of the cannabis plant is helpful, it could lead to many life-threatening health problems.

Some argue that marijuana use is addictive and can lead to overuse of the drug. In a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it was found that similar long-term effects were linked between marijuana users and regular smokers. Another study showed that it was associated with increased rates of depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.(Medical Marijuana) There are many harmful chemicals found in marijuana that have unknown effects that could possibly lead to other health problems. It has been proven that medical marijuana use leads to immune system damage and could lead to addiction. This could produce withdrawal symptoms and can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and short-term memory loss after the medicine was administered. The NIDA and other organizations suggest to find safer ways to administer the drug, and conduct more research to ensure the safety of the patient. The use of medical marijuana must be monitored to avoid addiction and other neurological problems.

While some argue that medical marijuana can be used with positive benefits, others dispute its benefits and believe in can further damage the body. Many studies have shown positive effects using medical marijuana. This has caused laws to be passed in several states and for limits to be constructed on the amount of the drug to be given to the patient. It has also been shown to have relieved the symptoms of nauseas, vomiting, and hunger from certain diseases. Conversely, the NIDA suggests that a better [solutions] is to develop purified or synthetic drugs from the cannbinoids in marijuana. Since some studies show body damage and health problems from the treatment form, medical marijuana can be said to carry negative effects. These included respiratory and immune system damage. Lastly, the effects of medical marijuana are debatable, and eventually more studies will become conclusive on the effects of medical marijuana.

In essence, medical marijuana should be used for medical purposes. Although some studies find that it could lead to health problems, it is a proven treatment for many symptoms and pain. While many states have strict laws and limitations on the amount on marijuana available for the patient, hopefully, other states will realize the positive effects that marijuana can hold. Lastly, marijuana should be allowed for the patient since it relieves pain and can treat pain from other sicknesses such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Therefore, medical marijuana should be allowed for patient to be pain and symptom free of their preexisting sickness.

Works Cited

Hirst, Ellen Jean. Benefits of Licensed Pot Are Up in the Air. Chicago Tribune. 28 Oct 2013 1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 18 Dec 2013.

Judd, Jackie. Supreme Court Keeps Medical Marijuana Illegal. ABC News. ABC News Network, 14 May 2013. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.

McCarberg, Bill. Marijuana Can Help in the Treatment of Pain. Marijuana. Ed. Noah Berlatsky. Detroit Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from Marijuana and Pain Management. National Pain Foundation, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.

Marijuana’s Dangers Make It a Poor Candidate for Medicine. Medical Marijuana. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit Greenhaven Press, 2011. Current Controversies. Rpt. from Marijuana. Topics in Brief. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2010. 1-2. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.

Marijuana Policy Project. Congress Should Lift Legal Restrictions on Medical Marijuana. Medical Marijuana. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit Greenhaven Press, 2011. Current Controversies. Rpt. from Medical Marijuana Briefing Paper The Need to Change State and Federal Law. 2010. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.

Stack, Patrick, and Claire Suddath. Health & Family. TIME.com. TIME, 21 Oct. 2009. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.

Young, Saundra. Marijuana Stops Child’s Severe Seizures. CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.

DEA Drug Scheduling. DEA Drug Scheduling. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.

Our Story. US v. Steele Smith. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.

Medical Use of Cannabis (marijuana). Home. Health Canada, n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.

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