Marijuana A Medicinal Drug Essay, Research Paper
Marijuana: How can it’s Medical Use be Denied?
Although marijuana may be an illegal drug, it has many medicinal values. However the federal government and the FDA agree that legalizing it for medical use will only cause problems in society. If legalized it will be easier to obtain, resulting in a rise of the recreational use. This may be true, but research and studies prove that marijuana has a great medical value. It’s use is advantageous to people with certain illnesses. Marijuana can ease side effects and pro long life of patients with terminal illnesses. How can such a beneficial drug for health problems be denied?
One reason federal government will not legalize marijuana is the fact that the recreational use would increase. Then crime rates will go up also. Bill McCollum, a chairman for a crime subcommittee stated,” By allowing marijuana use, even among terminally ill patients sends a message to youngsters that marijuana is not dangerous, which would result in the growth of the recreational use in our communities and drug crimes (Walker 5).” However, drugs whether legal or not will always be manufactured, distributed, and used. The government will never have a complete control over the drug industry. Plus, by legalizing medical marijuana the drug crime rate is estimated to decrease, rather than go up. The Chicago Tribune contains an article that says seventy five percent of drug crimes are caused by money scandals, fake drugs, and conspiracies. The article later states that if marijuana became legal there would be a reduction in drug crimes because marijuana would no longer be illegal. After all it is the feeling of “rebellion” or breaking the law that drives many people into these crimes (Dotson 2).
Another government claim is that there are other medicines that have the same effect as marijuana. Marinol is a pill that contains a synthetic derivative of marijuana, known as THC. However many people who have tried it claimed it does not work as well a marijuana. Norman Zinberg MD stated that in 1974 during his research that nearly half of his patients quit his legal, THC-based study in order to obtain illegal, more effective marijuana (Robinson 73). The national cancer institute agreed in a 1992 fact sheet titled “Marijuana for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting” which stated, “Research has shown that the active ingredient THC is more readily and quickly absorbed from marijuana smoke than from an oral preparation of the substance (Hall 2).” Another synthetic form of marijuana is Torecan. This is an antiemetic substitute for marijuana. Yet studies show again that marijuana is more effective. Researchers in Michigan allowed patients to begin on Torecan and marijuana and could choose to switch to either drug if desired. Significantly ninety percent of the patients who started marijuana stayed on it, and more than ninety percent of the patients who started Torecan switched to marijuana (Lyndon 91). The most recent drug released as a marijuana alternative is Zofran. Studies show that it is seventy-five percent effective. However it costs $600 per dose and requires hospitalization which is another $500 or more. Norman Robello M.D. stated that Zofran is not an appetite stimulant whereas marijuana is, therefore marijuana is more beneficial in the case of AIDS patients (Potter). It is evident through research and experiments that marijuana is more effective and beneficial than any synthetic or antiemetic form of it.
In contrast to the reasoning against medical marijuana, there is supportive evidence to it’s medicinal value. There are many benefits to certain illnesses when marijuana is used as a medicine. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. Studies show that marijuana reduces the elevated eye pressures that associate with glaucoma. It has also been proven to pro-long a persons vision. The book Medical Marijuana reports several cases where glaucoma patients used marijuana and it reduced blurs in vision, decreased loss of sight, and helped keep the disease under control (Young 82-84). Marijuana also helps patients with muscle spasms. It reduces the number of muscle spasms by controlling the neuralgic condition. A paraplegic who suffers from muscle spasms stated, “A half a joint in the morning, and half a joint in the afternoon controls my spasms throughout the day, and a whole joint at night let’s me sleep without being tossed around all night (Smith 19).” One neurologist stated, “You cannot walk down a neurology ward in a VA hospital without smelling marijuana (Withers 72).” Another illness that benefits from marijuana is one that I personally suffer from called trichotillomania. It is an obsessive compulsive disorder that causes repetitive hair pulling which results in noticeable hair loss. There are many medications for this, however marijuana is the most effective. There are web sites on the computer where other people have also stated that marijuana is the best thing for trichotillomania. It is certain that marijuana has many advantages over prescription for certain illnesses.
Another medical use of marijuana is for people with terminal illnesses. Cancer and AIDS patients benefit from the use of marijuana. AIDS causes great weight loss in patients with the HIV virus. However marijuana causes an appetite increase. There have been studies in which patients who had lost forty pounds due to the virus gained all back by smoking marijuana (Utley 3). The AIDS weekly newsletter of August 1997 contained a story about two AIDS patients in Panama City who suffered great weight loss from the AZT treatment which is given to help control the disease. Yet when tried marijuana they gained all the weight back (Jernigan 1). Kenny Jenks, chairman of the Marijuana/AIDS Research Service has noted, “To the unintentionally anorexic the munchies can be a life-saver (Todd 97).” Being underweight can cause other health problems. The weight gain form marijuana could prevent this possibility. AIDS patients also suffer side effects like nausea and vomiting. Many prescription drugs are given, but do not work as well as marijuana. Jared Wood, an AIDS patient said, “Just a few puffs and the nausea goes away (Kowan 4).” Like those with AIDS, marijuana also helps cancer patients. Chemotherapy is the treatment many cancer patients must go through. Nausea and vomiting are side effects from this treatment. Marijuana helps control and stop these side effects. A study was done on 2,430 randomly picked cancer specialists. Forty-eight percent of the respondents answered that if marijuana were legal they would prescribe it, and forty-forty percent admitted to already recommending illegal marijuana to cancer patients (Hecht 5). Marijuana as a Medicine reports recent statistics showing that even though marijuana is not legal, millions of AIDS and cancer patients are still using it (Roberts 182).
It is conclusive that research and studies prove marijuana to be effective in treating a variety of illnesses. Yet our federal government is not convinced of the importance of this drug and it’s medicinal value. People are dying and suffering while a drug that could prevent and ease all of this is illegal. The federal government is jeopardizing the health of human beings by keeping marijuana illegal. How many more people must die and suffer before our government can finally see the medicinal value of marijuana?