Fighting For Our Love Ones Essay, Research Paper
In today s world, most families have a love one struggling to live with cancer,
HIV, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis. Most of us, here in the United States, have watched a love one endure the pain of chemotherapy, uncontrollable muscle spasms, or blindness. Our love ones not only suffer physical pain, but mental anguish as well. Our
dying loves ones are at war with our Federal Government. They are fighting for a chance at a better quality of life. They are fighting for the legalization of marijuana for medical use. Until marijuana is legalized for medical use, our love ones are forced to break the law.
” my gift to my husband, John Joseph who died last year.
At the end of his life, my husband was wracked with pain
from lung cancer. Marijuana was one medication that eased
his intense pain, and nausea during chemotherapy. But, to
get marijuana to help JJ, we had to break the law.
my husband s ability to tolerate chemotherapy after a couple
of puffs of marijuana extended his life and improved
his quality of life (1).”
That was an excerpt from a letter written by Anne Boyce to the voters of California for the passage of Proposition 215. In 1996, Proposition 215 was a proposed legislation in California that makes it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana to terminally ill patients. Proposition 215 was passed by the voters of California, but patients who use marijuana could still and are prosecuted by our Federal Government.
Anne Boyce broke the law in order to obtain marijuana for her dying husband. Anne
Boyce, a sixty-seven year old Registered Nurse, is not your typical criminal, now is she?
Nevertheless, if Anne Boyce was caught by the law enforcement, she would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Federally, possession of even one joint carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison (7). Cultivation of even one plant is a felony, with a maximum sentence of five years (7). Is this fair? Anne Boyce and others like her are law-abiding citizens, but they or someone they love are suffering from a grave illness, and legal pharmaceuticals do not ease the pain. So, they are force to break the law. Wouldn t you do the same for your love one? I know I would. There is a need for a change.
“I often drove her to the hospital and witnessed the
horrendous nausea she suffered after treatment.
Prescription drugs were supposed to settle her
stomach, but every day we stopped two or three
times on the way home for her dry heaves to pass (2).”
Richard would drive Dorothy to her chemotherapy appointments and then watch the side effects consume her body afterwards. He then suggested she try taking marijuana to ease her pain. Dorothy who never smoked a cigarette had to be taught to inhale. After smoking a few puffs and eating, she had little nausea. She could eat real food again. In four weeks, Dorothy regained her weight.
“Her face was full, her cheeks pink. Her eyes which
seemed dull and half closed, were open and bright. We
drove home from the hospital without ever stopping again.
If the government wants to find out whether marijuana can
stop cancer patients and AIDS sufferers from throwing up
and losing weight – put them on a scale (2).”
Jocelyn Elders, a former Surgeon General, even said “It s criminal to keep this medicine [marijuana] from patients (2).” The United States Food and Drug Administration has recognizes THC, and active ingredient in marijuana as a legal, safe, and effective medicine (3). THC is a bronchial dilator (4). It works like that of a cough drop to open lungs and to aid in removing smoke and dirt. Furthermore, many physicians recognize that marijuana has important medical uses. Marijuana can control severe nausea for chemotherapy patients as well as be therapeutic. It can restore the ability to eat for HIV patients as well as improve muscle control for multiple sclerosis patients (3).
Furthermore, for our loved ones suffering with glaucoma, marijuana can reduce
intracolar (”within the eye”) pressure, which alleviates the pain and slows the progress of the condition (4). Other diseases for which marijuana can be used for are depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, asthma, pruritis, sclerdome, severe pain, and dysteria.
Marijuana should be treated like morphine, steroids, and valium. An illegal drug can have a legitimate, legal use. There are laws against the abuse of morphine, steroids, and valium, but they are also properly prescribed by doctors everyday. Just as law recognizes that these drugs and many other controlled substances have a legitimate medical uses, it is time to recognize this for marijuana.
“It s absurd that medical decisions are being made by Politician,” states Dr. Arnold Jeffe, a Santa Cruz physician (2). Sad, but true. Politics made marijuana illegal in 1937. Then in 1972, under President Nixon, the Shafer Commission urged it to be relegalized, which was obviously never done. However, medical research continued. After remarkable results, in 1975, the FDA established the Compassionate Use Program for medical marijuana. However, the number of patients under this program has dwindled to eight. Once again in 1988, it was urged that marijuana be classified as a prescription drug. This time by a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Judge. Judge Francis Young found after thorough hearings that marijuana had clearly established medical use and should be reclassified as a prescriptive drug. However, the Bush Administration never reclassified marijuana. Currently, marijuana is listed a Schedule I
narcotic. It is classified in the same category as drugs like LSD and heroine. The ironic part is that one of marijuana s greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. There is no known case of a lethal overdose due to marijuana. Unlike many legal drugs that have caused and continue to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths per year (2). Some of these legal drugs are alcohol, nicotine, valium, aspirin, and caffeine. Doctors determine how safe a drug is by measuring how much it takes to kill a person, and then compare it to the amount of the drug which is usually taken. From this testing, a DEA Judge declared, “marijuana is the safest therapeutically active substance known to mankind (2).” Yet, it remains illegal regardless of its incredible safety and medical practicalities. Marijuana needs to be classified as a Schedule II drug in order for doctors to prescribe it.
The American voter s voice has not gone unheard. Many States have enacted laws, which recognize marijuana s medical utility and have attempted to create federally approved research programs (5). Thirty-four states have passed some type of legislation pertaining to marijuana s medical use (9). To put these numbers in perspective, it takes a two-thirds majority or in other words thirty-three states for the passage of a Constitution Amendment. Indeed, these numbers demonstrate that there is a clear support for the legalization of marijuana for medical use. However, our Federal Government which is supposed to be for the people has overturned any programs implemented by our state governments. Furthermore, the Federal Government has threatened to arrest any doctor who even discusses marijuana s medical use with his patient (5).
What are the downfalls of legalizing marijuana for medical use? Why is our Federal Government so afraid? Is it over the fear of addiction? If so, our government has not read the reports on the countless researches that have proven that marijuana is not physically addictive. Is it the fear of abuse? When marijuana is legalized for medical use, it would be govern the same way as morphine, valium, and any other controlled substance. Honestly, would people fake having deadly diseases such as cancer or AIDS to obtain marijuana? If so, our competent doctors can detect these things. Do they think it would be a backward step for the “War on Drugs?” How can a medical breakthrough be a backward step for the “War of Drugs?” If anything, it would be showing the American public that drugs can serve a good purpose. It would be more like a forward step for the “War of Drugs” and an onward march for the medical community.
However, as with any drug, marijuana may pose some side effects. The major concern is the effect of smoking on the lungs. Cannabis smoke carries even more tar than tobacco smoke (4) but, it does not possess nicotine that is found in cigarettes which is proven to harden arteries and is responsible for the hear disease. This is a legitimate concern. However, this could be yet another reason why marijuana should be recognized for its medical purposes. Once marijuana is recognized as a medicine, solutions may be found to either change how one intakes marijuana or to eliminate some of the tar found in cannabis smoke. As we approach the new millenium, the United States is well equipped with technology to address and to solve these problems.
How can we help our love ones deal with the pain and agony of a deadly disease? How can we improve the quality of their lives? The answer is simple. Marijuana has been proven to be therapeutic, to have countless medical benefits, and to be remarkably safe. The medical use of marijuana needs to be legalized. It would be monitored just like any other controlled substance. This solution is easy. Legalizing marijuana would go through the same procedure as the other medically prescribed substance.
It is up to us. We, the people of America, need to follow in the footsteps of Anne Boyce as well as the voters of California. We need to write to our Congressmen. Let our Senators and our Representatives know of our wishes, our rights. We need to talk a stand. Follow the advice of a once great President, Thomas Jefferson, who once said “if people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be as in sorry state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”