Marijuana Should Be Legalized Research Paper

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¶ … marijuana should be legalized for medical use in the United States. Fourteen U.S. states have already approved the use of marijuana in treating a variety of medical conditions. Studies indicate that marijuana is beneficial in treating many different medical conditions, from HIV / AIDS to Alzheimer's disease, and harmful side effects that plague many other prescription drugs are at a minimum. Because of this and other compelling evidence, marijuana should be legalized for medical use in America.

The legalization of marijuana for medical use has been contentious for decades. More and more studies indicate it has many beneficial aspects, and the risks are not as great as many might think. Marijuana can lesson the pain of many severe illnesses, and it has been shown to be effective in many others. One writer notes, "It has been documented that marijuana is an analgesic for sufferers of nausea related to chemotherapy, appetite and weight loss related to AIDS, migraine headaches, Alzheimer's, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, arthritic pain, glaucoma and other conditions" (Greene). Fourteen states have now legalized the use of marijuana for medical conditions, and Colorado and California, two of the legalized states, tax dispensaries, adding to their state's income. Scientists are still studying medical marijuana, but the majority of information seems to point to the benefits of medical marijuana.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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First, studies, and real life experiences show medical marijuana helps the symptoms of many different ailments and diseases. For example, marijuana treats the pain and weight loss from HIV / AIDS, and helps in glaucoma patients, and it is shown to be beneficial in many other neurological and painful diseases, as well. Even Consumer Reports magazine recommends the use of medical marijuana in many different cases. Another website notes, "Consumer Reports believes that, for patients with advanced AIDS and terminal cancer, the apparent benefits some derive from smoking marijuana outweigh any substantiated or even suspected risks" ("Top 10 Pros and Cons"). With more people supporting the use of medical marijuana than ever before, it seems likely that the issue will receive national support in the future, and it will be legalized across the country. Even today, the Obama administration has instructed federal agencies involved in enforcement, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to leave enforcement for medical marijuana to the states. This allows states that have approved medical marijuana laws to enforce them, rather than the federal government overriding their laws.

Medical marijuana is also extremely affordable for many patients that have been paying thousands of dollars to prescription drug companies for a variety of treatments. In most of the states that legalize marijuana, patients who have been approved to use the drug can grow a small number of marijuana plants themselves without fear of prosecution. This means that have direct access to the marijuana they need, without having to go through a marijuana dispensary. This is not only convenient for many patients who may have limited mobility; it is extremely cost-effective, as well. It cuts down on health care costs, makes the treatment more effective, and ultimately saves taxpayers in the end, because many of these severely ill patients cannot work and they have exhausted their health care benefits, so they rely on public health care options, which taxpayers largely fund.

A physician must prescribe medical marijuana, but in most states, specific medical marijuana dispensaries dispense it. With the decision of the federal government not to prosecute these dispensaries, they have been mushrooming in the states that allow medical marijuana use. Many patients grow their own medical grade plants, but it is not as easy as it might seem. Water, light, and soil are all very important aspects of growing these plants, and to grow them successfully takes skill and patience ("What is"). Because of this, some of the largest growers utilize hydroponic growing systems and artificial light sources for the best results, which might not be available to the home grower. For this reason, it is important for states to regulate medical marijuana providers and for patients to be sure of the quality of their medical marijuana before they utilize it for their conditions. The types of plants also react differently with different patients, so if one treatment does not work, patients should experiment with another variety before they give up on the treatments.

Several emotional and scientific issues cloud the medical marijuana debate. First, many see marijuana as a "gateway" drug that can lead to other, stronger drugs and lifelong addictions. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance. A website that advocates medical marijuana notes, "Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, defined as having a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value. Multiple petitions for rescheduling marijuana have been submitted by reform advocates over the last 30 years" ("Medical Marijuana"). While the FDA still stands by this classification, many other groups and organizations feel marijuana is not as dangerous as once believed, and many others are coming out in favor for marijuana's usefulness in the health care industry. A study of the issue in California convinced researchers that the drug should be reclassified. A reporter notes, "He said the research shows marijuana should no longer be classified as a Schedule I drug. 'It is not a drug without value,' he said" (Hoeffel). Proponents of the use of marijuana need to address this classification if they want the country to accept the treatment, and if they want the FDA to eventually approve the drug.

In fact, several studies by the University of California (UC) showed marijuana is extremely helpful in treating multiple sclerosis patients. The same reporter notes that UC conducted five major studies. He notes, "Four showed that cannabis can significantly relieve neuropathic pain and one found that vaporizers are an effective way to use marijuana. Another study, submitted for publication, found that marijuana can reduce muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis patients" (Hoeffel). Many physicians groups and organizations have also jumped on the medical marijuana bandwagon, including the American College of Physicians, which endorsed medical marijuana in 2008 ("Top 10 Pros and Cons"). Another website notes, "Allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana has been discussed by numerous organizations, including the AIDS Action Council, American Bar Association, American Public Health Association, California Medical Association, National Association of Attorneys General, and several state nurses associations" ("Medical Marijuana"). That is because they have seen the benefits marijuana produces first hand, and they have seen how it relieves many symptoms in many patients.

One important aspect of the medical marijuana debate is the type of marijuana used for medical treatments. Many people believe that any type of marijuana is suitable for treatment, but that is not the case at all. There are only two strains of marijuana that are traditionally used for medical marijuana use, and they are known as "medical grade marijuana." Another website states, "While cannabis is a weed and easily grown in many climates, medical grade marijuana comes from only two strains: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. These strains, unlike various other strains favored by some recreational users, produce marijuana potent enough to provide medical benefits" ("What is"). Therefore, medical marijuana users need to verify their dispensaries are dispensing medical grade marijuana for the best benefits.

Many opponents argue that smoking marijuana is addictive and that it can be as harmful as or even more harmful than cigarette smoking. However, studies indicate that using marijuana in an atomizer or taking marijuana pills can be just as powerful as smoking marijuana, which means that future developments in treatment could eliminate this argument from the debate. Another article is the ethics of using marijuana, which is an illegal substance in many states. Since there is not a federal law, patients in the states where marijuana is illegal face harsh penalties if they are found using the treatment, and there is social stigma about marijuana use, although studies indicate this stigma is lessening.

In fact, the stigma is lessening so much in states where it is legal, it has led to late breaking news that a national health insurer is offering the first national insurance coverage for the dispensary industry. A Sacramento reporter reports, "A Rancho Cordova-based insurer Monday launched what it calls the first nationally available insurance coverage designed specifically for the medical marijuana industry" (Glover). This is groundbreaking, especially in that it will be available to all 50 states, not just in states where medical marijuana is legal today. This is helping to take the stigma away from marijuana, making it a legitimate business to be treated accordingly.

Many studies also indicate that a greater percentage of people now approve of medical marijuana use than ever before, and almost 73% of voters approve of medical marijuana use at the federal and local level ("Medical Marijuana"). Despite that, while there have been efforts to create a national referendum for debate and voting, that has not occurred, and it is still up to the individual states to create their own marijuana laws.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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