Use Of Medical Marijuana To Treat Diseases
Over half of the United States have legalized medical Marijuana; however, it still remains a controversial and it is also highly debated. Marijuana is a term given to the naturally occurring Cannabis sativa plant. Scholars, law makers, and citizens share differing opinions on the benefits associated with the use of the drug in recommendable doses. In the United States, marijuana as a medicine is legal in thirty-three of the fifty states. However, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) categorized marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin and ecstasy. The DEA classified it as illegal because they argued that “it has no accepted medical use.” The use of cannabis as a medicine dates to ancient China (2637 BC), as recorded by Emperor Shen Nung. The original application of the plant was for psychoactive agents as a treatment for rheumatism and malaria. The first use of marijuana was as a medication before the secondary discovery of its intoxication properties. There are several merits obtained from the use of marijuana that outweigh the negative outcome of its abuse. Medical Marijuana is termed to be beneficial through the treatment of chronic pain, psychological disorder and also provide a safer alternative for pain management. These benefits outweigh the negative perspective of Medical Marijuana that its legalization is a loophole for drug use for recreational purposes.
Opponents of medicinal marijuana benefits and those seeking to legalize it in other regions reason that FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is yet to approve cannabis. The FDA is the body charged with the duty of protecting the people against public health violations. Getting an FDA approval means that the substance was satisfactory in proving that the product’s merits outweigh the demerits. Marijuana is available in form of cannabidiol oils, edibles, and topical pain relief treatments (Hillstrom, 2014). The various products of marijuana lack enough scientific research to show their efficacy. The FDA has extensive resources to test the benefits of marijuana, lacking the organization’s approval means that the research conducted on its benefits does not support the use. However, the FDA approved cannabidiol oil use in 2018 since it does not make users high due to lack of THC. The FDA ensures that the product generated for human consumption pass the federal quality standards. Hence, lack of its approval raises questions whether the benefits outweigh the risk of marijuana use.
Marijuana is chronic pain medication for patients suffering from several health conditions. There have a few scientific supports of the medicinal use of marijuana. However, some scientists have disapproved this argument stating it should not be the only argument from the opponents. There are synthetic forms of marijuana with FDA approval, such as dronabinol and nabilone. The medical use of the approved medications includes glaucoma, stimulates appetite for AIDS patients, and chemotherapy treatment to treat nausea and vomiting. When doctors minimize the psychoactive effects of THC, the product has its use in modern medicine to reduce clinical depression symptoms, lowering pain in cancer patients (Frye & Smitherman, 2018). Marijuana relieves some variations of chronic pain such as neuropathic pain. According to the National Academies of Sciences “there is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabis-derived products may help people who have trouble sleeping due to sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain.” Critics of the medicinal properties should use information from several sources before taking a stance.
Marijuana is used in the treatment for psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People who have gone through traumatic events such as violent crime victims or veterans, use medicinal marijuana to treat some effects of the symptoms. The medicine affects some receptors in the brain and body acting as a temporary relief. PTSD symptoms make it hard for the victims to sleep and lead quality lives (Hasin, 2017). The research is not conclusive. The former president of the United States, Barack Obama, stated that “I’m on record saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may be appropriate and we should follow science as opposed to ideology on the issue.” The science of the treatment has better support than ideological perspective. Marijuana is a treatment for kids with seizures as an anti-epileptic drug. Research shows that seizure frequency in kids reduced when they used cannabinol-enriched cannabis.
Marijuana is also a safer alternative to opioids for pain management. The use of opioids has proven to have long-term negative effects on the patients. To treat chronic pain, some health care providers prescribe opioids to treat pain after medical procedures such as surgeries. The drug is more addictive when compared to marijuana. Dependence on opioids is on the rise in the United States, especially amongst the military personnel (Hill, 2015). According to the journal of Health Affairs (2016), “there were 1,826 fewer daily doses of painkillers prescribed per year, on average, in states where medical marijuana was legal compared to states it’s not.” To cure opioids addictions, doctors use cannabinoids to help in addiction recovery. Opioids and other pain medications are more expensive than marijuana; therefore, this makes it a recommendable option as compared to the others.
On the other hand, opponents of the use of medical marijuana argue it is a front to legalize drugs and recreational use. Others argue that it affects the brain and destroys the lungs. There are several other forms of marijuana available such as edibles, not just smoking uses. The smoke inhaled will affect the conditions of the lungs in the long-term and will make the users susceptible to future health conditions. Smoking holds the smoke for long periods in the lungs and throat as such the toxins in the gas can damage the lungs. Legalization for medicinal use will consequently lead to recreational use and can cause addictions to other drugs. The presence of other medications lower the benefits of marijuana use.
Medical marijuana has economic and social advantages to individuals and the country. The legalization of marijuana leads to economic growth through the revenue generated from the taxes levied on the companies. The utilization of the taxes gained by the government translates to improved services offered to the citizens. Medical marijuana will increase the rate of employment in the United States. The opportunities created to work in the industry such as farmers and company staff in the manufacturing process. Legalization for medical use will consequently lead to a reduction in illegal drug abuse and increased healthy use (Anderson et al., 2015). Medicinal marijuana reduces the volume of illegal drugs moved across the border. The effects and dependence on other drugs such as heroin and opioids will reduce with the use of medically recommended doses.
In conclusion, there are risks associated with the use of marijuana, but the benefits outweigh them. The medical use has less harmful consequences compared to other substitutes such as opioids. Ancient civilization used recommended doses as traditional medicine before the focus shifted to the intoxicating use. Legalization remains a controversial issue since not all states have made it legal for medical use. Policy makers and the government should formulate policies that will lead to a nationwide use and acceptance without stigmatization. However, the area needs more studies to gain conclusive data justifying the cost-benefit of its medicinal use. Legalization will lead to a reduction in drug abuse nationwide.
- Frye, P., & Smitherman, D. (2018). The Medical Marijuana Guide. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
- Hasin, D. S. (2018). US Epidemiology of Cannabis Use and Associated Problems. Neuropsychopharmacology, 43(1), 195.
- Hill, K. P. (2015). Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems: a clinical review. Jama, 313(24), 2474-2483.
- Hillstrom. (2014). Medical Marijuana. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning.
- Mark Anderson, D., Hansen, B., & Rees, D. I. (2015). Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use. American Law and Economics Re
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