Sunday, 19 June 2011

legalize marijuana

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Legalization of Medicinal Marijuana

Before antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, people made their own medicine. Often times, this was in the form of herbs or plants. This still holds true in many third world countries today. Unfortunately, one of the potentially most beneficial herbs is not only overlooked, but absolutely excluded. Marijuana shows potential for medical usage in many illnesses, but is illegal in the eyes of the United States government, and therefore will not be tested for any other medical purposes until certain legislative issues are amended.

Marijuana is a naturally growing plant that is found all over the world. The marijuana plant actually is not the illegal form of marijuana that is seen on television. The plant buds, like most flowers, and it is the bud that is considered the active part of the plant. The bud contains tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC, as well as other cannabinoids. Marijuana is activated when exposed to heat, and it is these ingredients that produce the “high” or euphoric feeling when consumed. There are various methods of consumption including smoking and eating. In smoking, a flame is directly placed on the bud, which releases smoke containing the cannabinoids. In eating, the bud is heated then mixed into food. The Marijuana Tax Act of 17 made consumption and distribution of marijuana illegal in the United States. The law was seen as a remedy to increased hysteria over marijuana, which directly stemmed from anti-marijuana campaigns initiated by several members of the federal government. There are also claims that cannabis is a gateway drug, which opens the door for usage of other

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illegal drugs. With the induction of this law, not only were the medical potentials of marijuana out of the question, but also the use of hemp.

The first written use of cannabis for medical purposes was in China over four thousand years ago. Since that time marijuana has been used to treat a variety of aliments. Although marijuana is illegal in the US there is proven evidence from the National Institute of Medicine that marijuana reduces pain of cancer patients as effectively as codeine, controlling nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and may stimulate appetite in AIDS and Alzheimer’s patients (Kowalczyk 1). There is also evidence that marijuana use can aid in treating the pressure in the eyes caused by glaucoma, pain associated with arthritis, muscular dystrophy, pain and spasms caused by reflex sympathetic dystrophy, pain and muscle spasms caused multiple sclerosis, and appetite suppression from anorexia. The list is long, however it might be longer if adequate testing were done on the subject by the federal government. Like any drug, there are side effects. Users get a euphoria type feeling, however patients seeking to use marijuana are not interested in the euphoric feeling. They seek to feel normal, no pain or spasms. The National of Science Institute of Medicine released a report stating that, “the psychological effects of cannabinoids may contribute to their [patients] potential therapeutic value” (Jacobs 1). In layman’s terms, the euphoric feeling actually helps the patient. The other side effect comes from the smoking of cannabis, but the harms are similar to smoking tobacco. The actual potential of medicinal marijuana will not be fully explored unless the legislation governing the use of marijuana is amended.

The movement to legalize medicinal marijuana has spread throughout the entire

US. Several states have or are in the process of passing state legislation matters legalizing cannabis for medicinal use. Unfortunately, this reform has not taken place on the federal level, thereby causing legal loopholes. The Controlled Substance Act of 170 listed marijuana as a schedule I drug. The schedule I listing means by law it is a drug that is potentially addictive with no medicinal value. It is because of this listing marijuana’s potential for medicinal value has been ignored. A reclassification to a schedule II for cannabis would still list cannabis as potentially addictive, but with some medical potential. This would open the door for clinical testing on the subjects. The second legal loophole pertains to the state and federal government. On the state level laws have been passed on medicinal marijuana, allowing certain ill patients to be prescribed cannabis. This directly conflicts with the federal law still considering distribution and consumption of cannabis a crime. To sum it up, the states have passed new laws, yet the federal government still has the same old ones. The problem doctors are afraid to prescribe cannabis in fear of legal action from the federal government. The problem does not stop there. Patients prescribed marijuana are breaking the law in purchasing it, and there is nowhere to purchase it. It is not like patients can go to the pharmacy to fill their prescription. Cannabis clubs have been established, only selling to those with prescriptions, but they are still in violation of the federal law. As of today there are cannabis clubs in operation, but the federal government turns a selectively blind eye towards them.

Overall, the issue of medicinal marijuana is a controversial one. There is proof


that marijuana does poses medicinal value, and this is proven through the passage of laws permitting certain people to medicinally use it. The federal government has ignored these findings and has no plans in ratifying the current legislation. Because of this, there are legal loopholes, which hold the ill in stasis. Unfortunately for some of the extremely

ill, they will not be here when the problem has been ratified .

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