Medical Marijuana Marijuana is one of the most popular and most common drugs on streets today. This well-known green plant, used by people all over the world is not just an illegal harmful drug as people think. Some people smoke it for pleasure, some because they want to try it, and some because it is the only way for them to survive. The healing effects of marijuana have become for many people an every day medicine and help them against their illnesses. They encounter the good of marijuana and use it not as a drug but as a medicine. Marijuana is a very old drug. It was nearly 5000 thousands years ago, when the therapeutic qualities of cannabis, the plant of marijuana, were first discovered. It was the Chinese Emperor, and the father of Chinese medicine Shen-Nung (c. 2700 B.C.), who introduced this drug to Chinese peoples. At this time marijuana was a great medicine and as Kathy Koch writes in her article “the ancient Chinese used cannabis in liquid extracts, salves and in food preparations for such complaints as menstrual fatigue, malaria, rheumatism, gout, boils, constipation and “absent-mindedness.”” Marijuana was since this time treated as a helpful medicine. During the Renaissance, European explorers described the medical uses of cannabis in Africa, Middle East, and India, and at the same time they recommended cannabis use as an effective way to treat depression. In 19th century a study reported by William O'Shaughnessy, an Irish surgeon, included that marijuana smokers experience less rheumatism pain, increased appetite, mental cheerfulness and a feeling of sexual excitement. In the beginning of the 20th century the use of cannabis as medicine has declined according to invention of more chemically stable drugs such as aspirin, chloral hydrate, and opiates. In the 1930s the public opinion has turned against marijuana dramatically and in 1931 the non-medical use of marijuana was prohibited in more than 29 countries in the US. By 1941 cannabis was no longer found in the US list of medicines. For more than 5000 years cannabis was used as helpful medicine. The healing effects of marijuana were appreciating by people all over the world and marijuana was a very often prescribed medicine. The long period of good experiences with marijuana were canceled with the prohibition of it and a lot of people lost their only medicine and hope against their illnesses. Marijuana is today considered as a drug with no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. It is also classified as schedule I drug, which means that it cannot be prescribed because it is considered to have “no currently accepted medical use.” The Federal Government policy discussing the use of marijuana is according to an article written by William Stempsey is based on bad reasoning. The argument for that policy goes this way: “Marijuana is an illegal drug; no one should use any illegal drug for any reason; therefore no one should use marijuana for any reason.” This logically bad argument leads Federal Government to keep classifying marijuana in the same category as drugs as LSD or heroin and retiring marijuana from the world of medicine close the door for many ill people for whom marijuana is the key for their problems. Schedule I drug, besides having no medical value, must have a high potential for abuse and it must be unsafe to use even under medical supervision. This argument is absolutely wrong when it is compared to a study provided by the Institute of Medicine, an independent research organization, showed that “marijuana is an effective alternative for treating nausea caused by AIDS medications and cancer treatments, intractable pain, muscle spasms, glaucoma, epilepsy, anorexia, asthma, insomnia, depression and other disorders.” These illnesses are usually treated by prescription drugs, which are expensive, they don't always work and they're not always harmless. Marijuana is on the other hand very inexpensive, undemanding, and fast recovering medicine that sometimes offers benefits that a person can't get from approved prescription drugs. Cannabis has many claims of respectability, “People have used it for centuries to stimulate appetite, and an unknown number now use it to combat the wasting associated with AIDS.” (can marijuana be medicine) At the same time marijuana is one of the few drugs that can help people with the glaucoma illness by reducing pressure within the eye. In fact, compared with the chemotherapeutic agents responsible for the nausea and vomiting that lead people to marijuana, marijuana itself is quite safe. Medical marijuana can be effective in many ways and help people with many different illnesses. A survey made by Harvard University oncologists showed that “many doctors recommends breaking law for their patients in order to get marijuana and almost a half of them would prescribe marijuana if it were legal.” (should marijuana be legalized for medical uses) A Drug Enforcement Agency tried to explain the situation between Federal government and legalization of medical marijuana “If they allow marijuana as medicine, there will be thousands more patients using it.” People would see that it is functioning fine and people would start asking a question why is marijuana illegal at all which might lead to its fully legalization. That’s the case that government is afraid of. Right now cocaine and morphine are prescribed legally as medicines. The presence of these medically legal drugs doesn’t addict in any significant way to the country’s drug problems. Marijuana wouldn't either. According to the article The Battle for Medical Marijuana in the War of Drugs there are three basic arguments raised against the medical marijuana. First, that marijuana is a drug based of unproven safety and effectiveness. The effectiveness of this drug has been attested by thousands of patients who have used this drug illegally, and were highly satisfied with its results. A second argument against legalizing medical marijuana is based on the theory that prescribing marijuana would lead to substantial diversion of marijuana for the public. The availability of the drugs on streets doesn’t depend on the prescription drugs. Morphine and other very risky drugs are available to get on prescription and there is no widespread of these drugs. A third argument says that marijuana is a gateway to other, harder drugs as heroin or cocaine. A 1994 survey made by New York Times reported that “17 percent of current marijuana users said they had tried cocaine, and only 0.2 percent of those who had not used marijuana had tried cocaine.” This can be interpreted in two ways. One way says that those who smoke marijuana are 85 times as likely as others to try cocaine, or this might conclude that 83 percent of those who smoked marijuana, that means 5 out of 6, never try cocaine. These arguments, that are not very convincing, are based more on political and societal ideology than on a science. As other drugs marijuana has also its own harmful effects. But are these effects so deadly and dangerous that the use of cannabis cannot be legalized? The article Where there’s Smoke, there’s the Medicine describes accidental effects of smoking marijuana “What ill effects there might be, such as dizziness, are not necessarily the same as the harmful physical effects of drug abuse, and the dangers of such abuse were small.” The withdrawal symptoms are mild and the main long term smoking effect cause the same lung damage as smoking tobacco. Also a report from the study made by Institute of Medicine said that marijuana is less addictive than nicotine or alcohol. The unhealthiest part of marijuana is mainly its toxic smoke, which means that smoking marijuana is inappropriate for chronic conditions. The lung damage caused by the smoke makes it harder for marijuana to be legalized. Specific cannabinoids, the toxic substances in marijuana smoke, can be isolated in traditional pharmaceuticals like inhalers or pills. The inhalation process may be an effective solution for this problem and this unexplored way of using marijuana may cause an easier step in its further legalization. Marijuana is nowadays illegal almost all over the world. There are only a few countries that recognized the good site of cannabis and legalized medical marijuana. Among these countries are also five US states, Alaska, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. These states have passed a referendum about legalizing medical marijuana and patients in these countries may now legally smoke marijuana. According to William Greider’s article “more than one-fifth of the American electorate has now voted in the majority to give patients with a certain medical conditions the right to use marijuana.” This survey shows that public supports medical marijuana legalization and is trying to help people that need cannabis help. Patients allowed to use marijuana are also required to carry a special state-issued ID, but it is also a federal offense to possess, buy or sell it, so patients in those five states who use marijuana medicinally risk being arrested by federal agents. Indeed, people have been willing to risk the imprisonment in order to obtain the relief that marijuana offers them. A natural product lure people more than something synthesized. Anything that might improve the quality of their life seems reasonable, especially if the risks are small and the benefits are large. A 44-year-old Canadian Terry Parker smokes marijuana for medical reasons: “marijuana is far more effective, he says, than conventional medicine in controlling the epileptic seizures that have plagued him since the age of 4. I smoke two or three joints a day and get 100 percent seizure relief" (roll your own medicine ebsco). People more often look at marijuana as an effective medicine and indict the federal government for withholding valuable medicine and its indifferent approach to the suffering of its citizens. During the last year decades many researches and studies were made about the effectiveness of medical marijuana and the need of this drug in the medicine. Many people nowadays use marijuana as their every day medicine and are very satisfied with its results. It is only the question of time when marijuana will find its constant place in the medicine and will be accepted by the society and will be useful by treating illness and saving people’s lives.
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