Taking the High Road to Legalize Marijuana

“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis, marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.” Francis Young, DEA Administrative Law Judge, stated. Marijuana was thought of as a drug that was enormously harmful to the user’s health and well-being, but the truth about it is that if used correctly, marijuana has the ability to alleviate a variety of medical conditions, some that were thought to be “untreatable.” An immense amount of research and evidence has proven repeatedly that marijuana is able to treat many problems that plague much of our nation. Medical marijuana needs to legalization across the United States because of its ability to aid those with respiratory issues, to assuage one’s struggle with mental disorders, and it has a profound ability to mitigate the side effects often seen with people who are burdened with cancer.

Marijuana can be used to immediately combat a long-term disease such as asthma and arthritis. As seen in a study published in the American Review of Respiratory Disease in 1975, it is shown how medical marijuana can treat asthma. In this study, eight people who suffered from asthma were “induced with bronchial spasms through chemical inhalation in some sessions and bicycle exercise on other sessions,” (Britannica, 5). Four people in the group, two men and two women, were given marijuana. Immediately after inhalation, “marijuana caused an immediate reversal of exercise-induced asthma and hyperinflation” (Britannica, 5). They recovered within seconds, while the other four took almost an hour to fully recover when given a placebo marijuana. Those who suffer from chronic asthma attacks, whether they be athletes or average people, can immediately benefit from the payoffs of smoking a small dosage of marijuana at the start of an asthma attack. A chemical compound within marijuana, called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which works by opening the airways through receptors in the body called cannabinoids. Because THC reacts immediately with the body, the airways of an asthmatic are immediately opened, which causes the attack to cease within seconds of smoking the plant. Marijuana is proven much less toxic and harmful than other drugs used to aid asthmatics with these conditions (Gale, 2). As far as arthritis goes, medical marijuana has many strong anti-inflammatory compounds like CB-2. Marijuana also has natural analgesics, or painkillers, that make an excellent way to treat arthritis (Arthritis, 7). Medical marijuana relieves joint pain and inflammation that are seen in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even juvenile arthritis.

28.6 million Americans deal with some form of arthritis on a daily basis, and they certainly be aided by the use of marijuana to ease the pain of their disease. THC does not only help with asthmatics and arthritics, but many other things too.

PTSD, depression, and mental disorders such as depression affect more than 30,000,000 people. Medical marijuana can be used a more than equally beneficial substitute to alleviate the above mental disorders. Many depression, anxiety, and PTSD medication have harmful side effects that include, but are not limited to more severe depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, and kidney and liver damage. Marijuana does not cause any of these adverse side effects, but is even more effective in combatting depression than many prescription medications. In a 2011 study, it was found that those who “consumed marijuana occasionally, or even daily, had lower levels of depressive symptoms than those who have never tried it” (Denson, 4). In the 20 states that have legalized medical marijuana, there has been an overall decrease in depression in all ages, ethnicities, and genders of 5%. Those who had used pot once a week had lessened depressive moods, a more positive attitude, and fewer overall somatic complaints. War Veterans that suffer from PTSD can also benefit from the use of marijuana. PTSD is the result of an overactive fear system. Cannabinoids, in both the brain and in marijuana, help modulate this overactive fear system by activating another chemical in a cannabinoid receptor called CB-2. Anxiety is another major mental disorder that many Americans suffer from, but those who smoke marijuana once a week or more have reported a massive decrease in anxiety attacks and thoughts (Hamilton, 2). Other long-term diseases can also be combated with the use of medical marijuana.

In an interview, Daniel Willey recalls a story of a girl in his college class

“She told us that her husband had cancer. She started to tear up, as she related how he could not take any of the painkillers to deal with the radiation and chemotherapy treatments. His body was allergic and would have violent reactions to them. She told us how he had finally given in and tried marijuana. Not only did it help him to feel better, but also it allowed him to have enough of an appetite to get the nutrients he so desperately needed.

She started to sob as she told us that for the past month she had to meet with drug dealers to buy her husband the only medicine that would take the pain away. She struggled every day because according to society, she was a criminal, but she was willing to do anything she could to help her sick husband. Sobbing uncontrollably now, she ran out of the classroom. The whole classroom sat there in silence for a few minutes. Eventually, my professor asked, ‘Is there anyone that thinks this girl is doing something wrong’ Not one person raised their hand.”

Cancer. It affects more than 13,028,000 nationwide, and chemotherapy, “the use of chemical agents to treat diseases, infections, or other disorders, especially cancer” (Webster), causes nausea, anorexia, muscle spasticity, and extreme pain in those who undergo that treatment process. Medical marijuana can be used as an appetite stimulant that helps cancer patient regain any lost weight. Marijuana is able to use CB-2 receptors in the gastrointestinal system helps make patients more willing to eat and speeds of their metabolism. Extreme pain is reduced from the sense of euphoria, and blocked pain signals to the brain created by the inhalation or ingestion of marijuana. Cannabinoids in the body are also able to relax muscles that have repeatedly caused spasms, leading to an overall more comfortable treatment process (Gale, 1). Medical marijuana is proven to prevent future cancerous tumors and reduce the chance of a pre-existing tumor becoming worse. Patients who smoked marijuana regularly that had “recurrent glioblastoma multiforme reported antitumor activity” (Cancer, 12). Those who suffer from colon cancer have seen de-swelling of their colon after use of marijuana along with more effectiveness in the effects of chemotherapy of those who had breast cancer (Cancer, 7). “Marijuana has protective effects against certain tumors such as hepatic adenoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, benign, polyp, and adenoma” (Cancer, 6). With cancer being heavily prevalent in society with very few treatment options, marijuana is a practical and affordable solution to be paired with other treatments that will help raise the survival rate of many different forms of cancer (Cancer, 22).

Medical marijuana is a powerful and safe alternative to traditional drugs. No deaths have resulted of the use of marijuana unlike many prescription medications, and have a substantial amount of evidence backing it up. Short-term issues such as nausea, vomiting, stress over work, and non-chronic pain can all be relieved by taking up a joint—with express permission from a doctor or pharmacist—and smoking the stress and pain away. Marijuana is not only affective in the short-run; it can help with long-term issues as well. Feelings of severe depression, anxiety, and other serious mental disorders are notably reduced from the intake of marijuana. More than 43,000,000 people nationwide suffer from a long-term illness like cancer and depression, and they can all benefit, and function smoother with the use of marijuana. Because of the myriad of diseases, and people with those diseases, it is necessary to fight for the legalization of medical marijuana across all 50 states, so that everyone can experience the benefits that marijuana brings forth. People argue that marijuana is a gateway drug to other, more serious ones, but is a plant that produces relief in the most serious of issues harmful No, anything that can better 23% of Americans cannot be seen as harmful. Why is marijuana against the law It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural (Hicks).

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