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Medical Marijuana: Take Two of These and Call Me in the Morning

Medicine or Not
In 1972, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have "no accepted medical use." Since then, 16 of 50 US states and DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana ("Procon.org", 2012). Medical marijuana dispensaries are popping up all over the country. Cancer patients use marijuana to ease nausea and to stimulate their appetites. It also treats symptoms of AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, depression, and anxiety. I fully support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Unlike prescription medications, marijuana is a natural remedy grown from the earth’s own soil and water. These days prescription medication abuse is at an all-time high and it is time for a change in the treatment of patients. It is time for a new, less addictive, and natural medicinal approach.
Pros and Cons
Those who support medicinal marijuana argue that it is a safe and effective treatment. It is a natural way of treating the patient’s symptoms. Patients who use it typically do so because it eases their symptoms, is much less addictive than prescription medicines, and does not leave them in the chemical haze that some prescription medicines do. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and runs no risk of accidental overdose regardless of the quantity consumed. According to a 1995 review prepared for the World Health Organization, "There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved by ... users." ("Norml.org", 2012).

There is a prescription alternative to marijuana. A drug called Marinol is a synthetic marijuana medication that helps legally treat the patient’s symptoms. However, it takes much longer to take effect than smoking marijuana. For some patients, the effects of synthetic marijuana are too strong and can make them dizzy and nauseated. Through smoking or vaporizing, the patient has a greater amount of control over their dosage as they can experiment and find what works best for them. Vaporizing is a safer alternative to smoking marijuana. A vaporizer gently heats the marijuana, releasing the active chemical THC into a vapor rather than a smoke. If the patient does not wish to smoke or vaporize, they have the option to choose marijuana edibles. These may include brownies, cupcakes, cookies, suckers, breads, butter spreads, and many others made using marijuana.
Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous and lacks FDA-approval. They also believe that marijuana is highly addictive, leads to harder drug use, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They say that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use ("Procon.org", 2012). Alcohol does all of the above things and is legal and flaunted at every chance. Whether it is the 50 beer commercials shown during every sporting event on TV or billboards and signs at stores that are plastered everywhere telling you how yummy their new beer is. So why is there such a double standard when it comes to recreational alcohol use versus prescription marijuana use? I believe it is because those who have outlawed marijuana and restricted its research are grossly ignorant about its medical benefits. Either that or someone is making far too much money in the pharmaceutical business and does not want the endless money grab to end.

Some Day…
As our society’s views on marijuana and its medicinal value change, I believe that eventually marijuana will become a generally accepted, viable medicinal option. As many of the preconceived notions and stereotypes about marijuana are destroyed, medicinal marijuana will become a more common form of treatment. To limit our options in the treatment of patients who are suffering and in pain is inhumane in my opinion. If it works, and makes them feel better then where is the problem. It is time to remove the social stigma from marijuana and take a nice big leap into the future and the evolution of medicine.…...

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