Marijuana Legalization: The Medical Benefits of Marijuana

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Growing up, children are taught all over the United States that “drugs are bad for you” because they cause harmful effects on one’s body. School systems bring D.A.R.E. officers to classrooms starting in elementary school so that people are taught this simple principle that drugs are harmful for our bodies and if we ingest/inhale them, we are at a higher risk of disease. These “lessons” our society is teaching each other has created the majority of the population to view this drug in a derogatory manner. As children grow and progress through school, drugs become more socially acceptable and are potentially used more often. The most common drug used throughout the world is marijuana. When teenagers are growing up, some seem to go through a “rebellious phase” that normally includes the use of marijuana. What is the most confusing when approaching this topic is that although it is scientifically proven there are numerous health benefits of this cannabis plant commonly referred to as “the devil’s lettuce” or “weed,' it is still shamed by society. These popular street names give off the notion that this natural plant is negative as it is referred to the “devil*, and a common plant that most people dislike weeds. Society has given marijuana the label of a harmful, addictive, abused drug when really is it actually? Scientific research has become very prevalent in the recent years as the use of marijuana has become legalized in few states. The research is not limited to the negative effects of weeds but also the positive effects on the body that show how the drug can be utilized for beneficial purposes. Medical and recreational use of marijuana should be legalized countrywide, because it is a natural substance, can replace hundreds of pill medications, and is cost beneficial for the economy.

Many people in the United States believe that cannabis should become legalized for medical and recreational usage. Marijuana is dried leaves and flowers of a cannabis plant which has been around since the time of 2727 B.C. it spread throughout the Greek and Roman cultures from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, who is the first on record to have used it (Rich). It also travelled to the Islamic state, North Africa and then arrived in North America. This natural plant has been recorded as assisting to many medical conditions and relieves many side effects. It is also used for pleasure as this drug sends endorphins to the brain creating the sensation of being “high” that marijuana is known for. Although this drug has been legalized in some states in the United States, there are also people across the world who believe that marijuana should be illegal and banned in all locations whether it is for medical or recreational use.

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Marijuana is a non harmful, natural substance that grows worldwide as it is a very adaptable plant as long as there is sunlight and high temperatures. Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three species or subspecies; sativa, Indica and ruderalis (Thrognorton). The most common strands of marijuana are sativa and Indica. Sativa is a tall skinny plant which is well known for relieving pain/symptoms as well as providing energy. Contradicting sativa, Indica is a wider plant that creates a more sedated effect on one’s body. The most significant ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, it is commonly referred to it abbreviated form THC (Thrognotron). There are little to no known long-term effects of marijuana use, however, one concern of this drug is addiction. According to Mary E. Williams, “Marijuana is a relatively innocuous drug no more harmful than alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine (Thrognorton)”. Any of these substances can be addictive as well as narcotics and pain killers, but that doesn’t make those substances illegal. This is a problematic concept to the population that is pro marijuana legalization because it is confusing as to how these similar things have the same danger level, yet the others are legal. Booze presents the higher risk of death suggesting the risks of alcohol consumption and addiction. Alcoholism is very prevalent throughout the world but there has yet to be found an “addicted” marijuana smoker. As marijuana does not give someone withdrawals instead it just leaves someone wanting to smoke it again (Liu). With this in mind, alcohol in excess can cause more health problems than consuming marijuana according to the CDC. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths each year in the United States (Center of Disease Control and Prevention). Marijuana can cause short term effects such as problems with memory, distorted perception, etc. but hardly to never is the cause of death (National Academies). This natural substance promotes no harmful long-term effect on the body in scientific research so far, but research will be ongoing as long this controversy exists.

Organically grown unlike most potentially harmful pill medications, cannabis obtains many potential medical benefits to society. While providing a medication that can assist one’s pain/glaucoma/insomnia, it prevents a portion of natural disasters involving pollution from medications & medical plants. This drug can replace a multitude of pill medications. In states where it is legal, medical marijuana has been prescribed to patients as a sleep aid and migraine/pain reliever as well as prevention and treatment of glaucoma by decreasing eye pressure. The effects of this drug may slow down the progression of the disease preventing blindness. “A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading. CBD (cannabidiol) may help prevent cancer from spreading” researchers at the California Medical Center reported in 2007. The cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off the Id-1 gene as found in a study published in the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Although it can be used as a replacement for these medical purposes, marijuana can also be used to help with depression as it gives you immense sense of pleasure and relaxation (National Academies). The legalization of marijuana obtains a more beneficial impact upon society as it can be utilized as a more beneficial medication as well has saving the government billions of dollars.

The average male has about a 40% chance of getting cancer in his life time. This disease is potentially deadly depending on the type of cancer and where it is in the body. The use of marijuana can help relieve a patient with an abundant number of symptoms that come with the disease. The smoked marijuana is beneficial to “treating nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy as well as chronic pain (National Academies)”. This also can treat pain that is caused by nerve damages from the cancer therefore, needing less chemically altered pain medications as it is replaced by this natural substance. The symptoms from cancer are not just limited to bodily pains and such, it also causes a major impact on the diet of an individual. Marijuana use has been proven to greater the amount of food intake for an individual giving the cancer patients more of an appetite. It is common for cancer patients to notice a massive weight change while going through chemotherapy and radiation and it is important that the patient maintains a daily caloric intake. This is called cancer associated anorexia which would be helped with the use of cannabinoids (National Academies). Without keeping a healthy diet, the patient can notice more fatigue and nausea. Marijuana can help first hand with these symptoms and would be used more effectively for cases like this if it was legalized. Medical use of marijuana should be granted in all states, because it is unharmful, and it will save the United States billions of dollars.

Decades ago, marijuana was sold, bought and grown throughout the United states as it was legal at the time. As time passed, the government made marijuana illegal, and a schedule 1 drug which establishes a false notion for the potential benefits of the drug (Rich). The public has been trying hard to fight and suddenly seems to be making wind with it. Examining the handful of the 50 states who legalized marijuana, the government can analyze as to whether the legalization of marijuana is beneficial for the economy or not. For example, in Massachusetts, they are “starting to see some of the economic benefits in terms of taxes and I know our local businesses have been creative in embracing the new industry (Bednar)”. These businesses that are opening up for the marijuana industry are creating new job opportunities and creating a new form of income for the state. The most cost-efficient way to control this drug is through legalization. A study by a Canadian economist shows that each 5 gram is sold for $6.90, resulting in a 2-billion-dollar revenue annually for the government if the drug is legalized (Rich). This could bring the country billions of dollars out of debt if marijuana is legalized. The legalization of this drug is so controversial with the main problem of marijuana being a gateway drug for other harder and dangerous addictions. This claim cannot be proven to be inaccurate as the drug is illegal in most states. If this claim were to be true, this provides an allure for the type of people who will be using the drug and in many cases, they use multiple substances, not specific to just weed. In DuPont’s research to get rid of the stereotype that cannabis is a gateway drug, he found that “if young people did not use alcohol or tobacco, they would be less likely to use other drugs, such as marijuana (MARIJUANA ANTI GATEWAY)”. This shows the mindset of an individual as underage drinking and drugs are illegal, so when one steps into that atmosphere by drinking – an illegal act – that person is more willing to risk doing any drugs as well. If this claim is false, marijuana still obtains the upper hand because although marijuana is one of the most widely used illicit substance in the world, the majority of the users never go on to harder drugs. The relationship between marijuana and other drug uses should not be related to a causation because even though it is illegal, weed is the only drug that has yet to have found enough potential danger to cause long term damage to one’s body. This makes users feel that the drug shouldn’t be illegal to begin with and since there is no scientific evidence finding long term damages to one’s body, the user questions the credibility of the law and places it in their own hands.

Contradicting what society teaches the public beginning at young ages that “marijuana is a harmful substance that you should never try”, scientific evidence has not proven this to be correct. This draws the question as to why should the public be banned from the use of a drug that creates potential benefits for side effects and diseases such as glaucoma and insomnia? The government and society always repeat the phrase, “guilty until proven innocent”. This concept can be applied to the legalization of weed because there is no potential harm that has caused this drug to be illegal. All substances that alter one’s mind and body state should be under watch and be regulated as alcohol usage is, including marijuana. Preventing the unnecessary conflict between man and law, marijuana should be legalized as it will save the country billions of dollars while helping the citizens of the United States with a more natural form of medication.

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