Marijuana is one of the most discussed and controversial topics in the U.S today. Many say that it has medicinal benefits and should be made legal. While many say that it has a “high potential for abuse” (Medical) and should remain illegal. Among the arguments, proponents for medical marijuana have presented a stronger argument for legalization through their use of research and evidence.
Opponents of medical marijuana have given many reasons for why it should not be legalized. One of the main reasons they argue is that “Marijuana smoke contains known carcinogens and produces dependency in users” (Medical). In many studies it has shown that it does have some harm such as the harms associated with smoking, but the National Academy of Science affirmed that “marijuana’s short term medical benefits outweigh any smoking-related harms for some patients”(Medical). Though marijuana has been proven to be damaging to the lungs than tobacco, a study in 2006 “found no evidence that marijuana smokers had higher rates of lung cancer” (Medical Marijuana). The FDA has tested the effectiveness of marijuana and has found that the cannabinoids are helpful in “treating pain associated with chemotherapy, postoperative recovery, and spinal cord injury, as well as neuropathic pain, which is often experienced by patients with metastatic cancer, multiple sclerosis,[and] diabetes” (Medical Marijuana).
There is also no evidence shown that patients who use marijuana become addicted. Though the opposing side argues this, they show no evidence in supporting this claim, which therefore, the claim is invalid. There are many pharmaceutical drugs used for treatment and they are addictive, yet it’s legal. Also carcinogens can have a negative effect, but there are many things in society, such as tobacco, that contains harmful toxins, yet it’s still legal. To say that marijuana should remain illegal because it is addictive, is irrelevant because these items are still present in society today and are harmful to the human body, but still they remain legal.
In other arguments, opponents such as the DEA have argued continuously that medical marijuana has no medicinal value. Although NORML has shown that it helps with “pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders”. This research has also proven that marijuana helps with HIV/AIDS patients.
HIV is one of the leading causes of deaths, primarily in African Americans. In this disease, patients suffer from loss of appetite and pain as shown in Figure 1. Many patients have complained that pharmaceutical drugs that physicians provide them, does not help them through this disease. Studies have shown that medical marijuana has proven for some patients to have better results than prescription drugs, but opponents have held back millions of patients who are suffering. Some ill patients need medical marijuana, like mal-nourished plants need water to survive. The DEA are taking these rights away from the ill and they continue to live in a horrible state. The DEA are constantly breaking into people’s homes and arresting them for the use of medical marijuana. Innocent people are being charged heavy fines or even jail time just because they wanted to relieve their pain and suffering.
NORML has shown that “73 percent of Americans support making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe”. This shows that many of the American people want to give medical marijuana to the seriously ill patients. They understand that legalizing medical marijuana is only accessible for ill patients and not for recreational use. Also “since 1996, voters in 13 states- have adopted initiatives exempting patients who use marijuana under physician’s supervision from state criminal penalties” (NORML). Ill patients in America should be given their rights in every state so that each patient can receive equal care. As citizens of the United States seriously ill patients are born with rights and should not be deprived from them.
Many of the different reasons, that the opposing side has given, are irrelevant and can be easily proven by the evidence given by the proponents. The DEA have let millions of patients suffer miserably for many years because they refuse to give them the proper care. Research has already proven that it has medicinal value and it should not be withheld from these patients any longer.
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UN Photo/Martine Perret; Flicker Photos, Web; 12 Jan. 2008
As a kid growing up, you’re constantly told of the dangers of drugs, and since it is illegal, marijuana is a drug and therefore it is dangerous. Again, the “dangers” of marijuana can be traced back to the 1930’s and the negative propaganda that surrounded it to appease private interests and reinforce racial stereotypes; never on actual dangers to your health. In 1974, Dr. Robert Heath of Tulane University conducted a test in which lab monkeys were given thirty marijuana joints daily to test for harmful side effects. After 90 days, many of the monkeys started to die and the university reported that the monkeys had died from a mass dying of brain cells and they concluded that the consumption of marijuana destroyed the brain. The official test observations and results, however, were withheld from the public for six years until finally, in 1980, they were released to NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) due to a lawsuit NORML had brought to the university. Upon further investigation of the study, it was revealed that Dr. Heath actually pumped the equivalent of sixty-three joints via gasmasks into the monkeys everyday in just a five minute time frame; much more than the first reported thirty joints a day. The monkeys were reported to have died because of brain damage, but in reality they died of suffocation; when the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, one of the first things to start dying off are brain cells (http://www.jackherer.com/chapter15.html Accessed June 7, 2010). To this day, there has been no test like the Heath/Tulane study.