There has been a lot of debate on whether or not marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes in all fifty states. Many people believe that marijuana is an unsuitable substitute for many of the medications we have today. On the other hand, many researchers have conducted extensive studies that have shown how beneficial medicinal marijuana can be. Many states have already picked up on this, and have laws set in place to allow the use of medicinal marijuana. Medicinal marijuana has a wide variety of uses, and should be allowed for medicinal purposes in all fifty states.
In the report, “Marijuana and Medicine,“ released by the Institute of Medicine, it is stated “the most encouraging clinical data on the effects of cannabinoids on chronic pain are from three studies of cancer pain.” The Institute of Medicine conducted three studies to show the benefits of medicinal marijuana in cancer patients. They noted that cancer pain may be caused by a number of problems, and that it may be severe and persistent. Often, it is not effectively treated with narcotics. However, in a well designed, controlled study, it was found that THC produced significant analgesia in this hard to treat group of patients. The Institute of Medicine stated, “In conclusion, the available evidence from animal and human studies indicates that cannabinoids can have a substantial analgesic effect.”(69). Medicinal marijuana is prescribed to patients who have a variety of conditions including nausea,
insomnia, lack of appetite, asthma, cancer, glaucoma, alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and many more. It has been shown to reduce pain, decrease nausea, increase appetite, relieve anxiety, etc. (MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org)
One argument is that marijuana could never be a suitable medicine because of the damage that can occur from smoking the plant. The Institute of Medicine addressed this argument in the report, “Marijuana and Medicine,” Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a variety of effects. However, except for the harm associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range tolerated for other medications. Thus, the safety issues associated with marijuana do not preclude some medical uses.(126). Although the Institute of Medicine have shown through studies that the benefits from marijuana out-weigh the negative aspect of smoking the plant as a delivery system, there are many other types of delivery systems available to eliminate the need to smoke the plant. Some of which include digesting the plant. Also extracting the THC and inhaling the vapors released when heated to boiling temperature. Marijuana has also been used to make many medications, including Marinal, Cannibinor, Naboline, and Sativex. These medications were made from extracted THC or synthetic THC.(MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org)
A specific example of how medicinal marijuana has helped someone is, Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance. Lewis was interviewed by Forbes magazine about his stance on medicinal marijuana. Lewis has spent many years and millions of dollars trying to reform marijuana laws because of his own personal experience with
medicinal marijuana. When Lewis was sixty-four years of age he had his leg amputated because he was inflicted with an infection that could not be treated. Lewis stated in the interview, “I spent a year after the amputation in excruciating pain and a year in a wheelchair. So during that period I was very glad I had marijuana. It didn’t exactly eliminate the pain, but it made the pain tolerable—and it let me avoid those heavy-duty narcotic pain relievers that leave you incapacitated.”(Forbes.com) Lewis is only one example of how marijuana has been used, and how marijuana has helped some one with chronic pain or other conditions. According to Procon.org, 577,712 people are using marijuana for medical purposes in the United States. (MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org)
There are currently sixteen states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Furthermore, six states have pending legislation to legalize medicinal marijuana. Medicinal marijuana was legalized in these states because of the research that has been conducted on marijuana. Between 1990 and 2011, There have been seventy-three major studies conducted to show the benefits of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Thirty-three of these studies have shown that marijuana is in fact very beneficial for patients with a wide range of ailments. Twenty-three of these studies were found inconclusive, and seventeen studies were shown to have no benefit to the patients. From the seventy-three studies conducted, 45.2% were shown to be very beneficial, while only 23.29% were shown to have no benefits as a medicine. The studies have also shown that
there were little or no side effects to the patients participating in the studies. (MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org)
Through extensive research, medicinal marijuana has shown to be a suitable form of medication. Through these studies, researchers have concluded that marijuana has more positive effects than negative effects, and is a far better option to the alternatives such as narcotics, which have many negative side effects. Many states have already legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, based on the information from all of the research that has been conducted. If every state were to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, it would be very beneficial to the patients who need a drug of this type.
Clare O’Connor, “Billionaire Peter Lewis My War on Drug Laws.” Forbes.com. Web. September 21, 2011
Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr., Editors. “Marijuana and Medicine Assessing the Science Base.” Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health Institute of Medicine. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C. Web. April 7, 2003
ProCon.org. Pharmaceutical Drugs Based on Cannabis. MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org. ProCon.org, 5 July 2011. Web. 6 Oct. 2011.
ProCon.org. 16 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC. MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org. ProCon.org, 19 Sep. 2011. Web. 6 Oct. 2011.
ProCon.org. 73 Peer-Reviewed Studies on Marijuana. MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org. ProCon.org, 31 Mar. 2011. Web. 6 Oct. 2011.