Should the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes be legalized? Wouldn’t it be simple to provide a simple black or white answer to this question? Across the nation there is much debate on this very topic, one that I don’t believe can be solved so easily with a yes or no. There are so many activists that have strong opinions on this subject and go to the fullest extent to ensure they are heard. As simple straight forward as this question is it was hard for me to determine which side of the line I stood on.
After reading all of the articles and much research on the issue I find myself leaning toward allowing medicinal marijuana use. By allowing medicinal marijuana use there are going to have to be many precautions taken to ensure that such a non-traditional controversial medicine is not abuse as many people will try to take advantage of the situation. There are many organizations in our society that are advocates for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Many well known organizations such as the American Cancer Society, American Nurses Association and the AIDS Action Council are both pro-legalization organizations. There are many more additional organizations such as the Federation of American Scientists, the Lymphoma Foundation of America and the Whitman-Walker Clinic. These organizations listed are only a few of the many that are out there along with many practicing doctors and state nurses associations. Despite the government trials and publications regarding the uselessness of marijuana these organizations are more in tuned to the patients who really need the drug to help cope with their lives.
These organizations see the changes in patients who are use the drug even though illegal to go day-to-day. Patients such as Dixie Ramango who made a statement of “Marijuana is the only thing that keeps me from giving up entirely; All I know is that it works from me. It keeps me alive so I can enjoy my grandchildren. Sometimes the pain is so unbearable. It keeps me from wanting to kill myself and call Dr.
Kevorkian.” Dixie Ramagno is one of the many people in the United States who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.1 Ramagno has done research on her own research that has shown how marijuana helps patients with multiple sclerosis, AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, nausea and pain. She claims that it has especially proven effective in helping AIDS patients regain their appetite. Ramagno herself is a pro-legalization activist who since she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1989 has and will continue to urge the federal government to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. There have been many research efforts within the United States alone to help relieve the disbelievers of the drugs ability to help patients who really need it.
Although Marijuana has not yet been proven to cure glaucoma, it has been proven the drug does relieve the pressure set forth from glaucoma. Along with that there are many research efforts to show how Marijuana is a helping factor for relieving some of the symptoms associated from the AIDS virus in patients by helping the patients eat and retain food. Along the same lines with patients who are anorexic, the use of marijuana creates an appetite in those patients and allows them to eat and retain more food.2 Finally several studies have shown that the medicinal value of marijuana is one of the safest therapeutic substances known. There is no evidence of death associated with an overdoes of marijuana.
Many doctors find value in the prescription of marijuana for the treatment of nausea and to increase appetite in a variety of patients, reduction of intraocular pressure of the eye, reduction of muscle spasms, and the relief from chronic pain. Patients with chronic diseases the use of marijuana has been beneficial when dealing with symptoms, helping the patients overcome some of the pain. For AIDS patients marijuana reduces the nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite caused by the virus itself and the various medications given to the patients. For those sufferers of glaucoma, marijuana is known to reduce the intraocular pressure of the eye and has been known to slow the process of blinding in some patients as well as stop the process in others. Since glaucoma is the number one leading cause of blindness in the United States, this drug shows to benefit many patients who have been and will be diagnosed. Chemotherapy treatment in cancer patients causes much nausea and vomiting, the use of marijuana in these patients is known to increase the appetite and reduce the side effects of treatment.
As heard from before in cases such as Dixie Ramagno, multiple sclerosis patients have limited the amounts of muscle pain and spasms associated with their disease when using marijuana. In addition the use of marijuana has been known to prevent the episodes of seizers in patients with epilepsy and alleviate chronic pain caused by other injuries. Some patients have found relieve in treating arthritis, migraines, menstrual cramps, depression and other mood disorders. Each of these applications for treatment has been proven to be legitimate by at least one court, legislature or government agency in the United States.
3 Activists who lobby to change the laws regarding the legalization of marijuana have many reasons why the drug should be changed from a schedule I drug to at least a schedule II drug. Many of the reasons and organizations are within the medical profession. Legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana will help those who really need the drug. I do believe eventually the drug will be legal regardless if it is classified for medical purposes or not, when it does become legal the federal government along with each individual state will need to take the necessary precautions to ensure the drugs are not misused within the United States. Having and keeping tight laws and programs for the new law will reduce the problems some are anticipating.
1. Medical Marijuana, by Gina Chon, Human Rights Volume 24 Number 4, Fall 19972. Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte Subpopulations and Mitogen Responsiveness in Tobacco and Marijuana Smokers, Wallace J.M., Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
19883. Medical Marijuana Briefing Paper, Marijuana Policy Project, 2003