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For thousands of years, marijuana has been used as a prescription for many sicknesses. Presently, it is still used in various states for therapeutic purposes. The medicinal use of marijuana is surrounded by a cloud of social, political, and religious debate, which obscures the facts that should be believed in its treatment. The issue of whether we should legalize marijuana to be a medical option has been widely debated in our community recently. It is an important issue because it concerns the health of the populace at large. This essay considers the arguments against legalizing medicinal marijuana and points to some of the valid reasons for the opposed views. It then puts forward arguments for legalizing medicinal marijuana and the reasons for the proposed views.
The controversy surrounding marijuana stems from the legalization of the drug for medical use. Outrageously expressive arguments rage about whether or not marijuana should be considered as a legitimate medicine. The present debate over the medical use of marijuana is in actual fact, a debate over the worth of its medicinal properties relative to the risk posed by its use. But should marijuana be a medical option? Even though scientists and supporters propose for its medical usage, I believe that marijuana should not be used as a medical option.
In the 20th century, marijuana has been used more for its ecstatic effects than as a medicine. Why should doctors take a solid stand against the legalization of marijuana? First, marijuana is recorded as Schedule I in federal drug laws, which means that it has no lawful medical use. Second, no medical authority identifies it as an effective treatment for any condition. It may bring some easing effects on patients with extensive list of diseases, medical conditions or symptoms, but scientific evidence is absent. However, it would be extremely unlikely that a responsible physician would prescribe a joint of marijuana to treat depression. The instant danger is that sick people will use marijuana in lieu of authentic medicine; the symptoms will be camouflaged by the psychoactive effects of the drug causing the patient to return to legitimate treatment whilst the time period for treatment has really elapsed. Thirdly, marijuana use has many severe health effects as detailed in the subsequent paragraphs (McCollum 127).
Scientists have confirmed that smoked marijuana, damages the lungs, heart, brain, and immune system. It impairs learning and impedes with judgment, memory and perception. Research has been accumulating lately indicating clearly that marijuana limits the capacity to absorb and preserve information. A 1995 study of college students ascertained that the inability of heavy marijuana limits users to focus, prolong attention, and systematize data for as long as twenty four hours after their last utilization of the drug. Earlier research that compared cognitive capability of adult marijuana users with non-using adults, found that marijuana users fall short on memory as well as mathematics and oral skills.
Although it has yet to be confirmed conclusively, that heavy marijuana use can cause permanent loss of intellectual capacity, animal studies have confirmed that marijuana damages portions of the brain vital to learning and memory. Mental disorders associated with marijuana use has been recorded in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) IV and issued by the American Psychiatric Association. These include Cannabis Intoxication Delirium, Cannabis Intoxication, Cannabis Induced Psychotic Disorder, and Cannabis Induced Anxiety Disorder (Golden, Peterson and Haley 63).
Marijuana is a hazardous mind-altering drug and is the cause of many mental disorders, including panic attacks, delusions, acute toxic psychosis, flashbacks, depression, depersonalization, uncontrollable aggressiveness, hallucinations, and paranoia. Moreover, for a long time marijuana has been well-known to trigger attacks of mental illness for instance, schizophrenia and bipolar psychosis. In the short term, use of marijuana weakens thinking, perception, learning, memory and judgment. Many physicians have opposed medicinal marijuana since it would increase users and lead to subsequent increases in addiction (McCollum 126).
Moreover, smoked marijuana contains cancer-causing compounds and has been involved in a high percentage of crashes and workplace accidents, since, its consequence on coordination, perception, and judgment means that it consequences result to a number of accidents. Marijuana is also associated with gateway behavior leading to more extensive drug use. Currently, there are no controlled studies of marijuana in the AIDS-wasting disease, nor have there been any logical studies of the effects of smoked marijuana on immunological condition in HIV patients. Smoking marijuana has also been correlated with other medical problems.
Rapidly accumulating new research has revealed that babies born to women who smoked marijuana during pregnancy have a heightened prevalence of leukemia, low birth weight and other newborn defects. Furthermore, smoking marijuana may compromise one’s immunity. In patients with AIDS, marijuana use has been a contributing factor on the heightened growth of both fungal and bacterial pneumonias. Moreover, among HIV positive individuals, marijuana use has been revealed to be a causal factor for the rapid shift from HIV infection to AIDS and the acquirement of opportunistic infections or Kaposi’s sarcoma, or both (Jamerson 59).
Additionally, chronic marijuana smokers are susceptible to contracting bronchial asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chest and colds. Persistent usage damages the lungs and airways and increases the risk of cancer. There is a high rate of exposure to cancer-causing chemicals from smoking a single marijuana joint to smoking five tobacco cigarettes. Moreover, there is proof that marijuana may restrict the ability of the immune system to fight disease and infection. Marijuana also affects hormone since regular use can delay the onset of puberty in young men and lessen sperm production. For women, regular use may interrupt normal monthly menstrual cycles and reduce ovulation. When pregnant women use marijuana, they run the possibility of having smaller babies with lesser birth weights and a high possibility to contract health problems (McCollum 127).
The legalization of medical marijuana has been the desire of many citizens in United States for a long time. Supporters and scientists of this view claim that for many critically sick people, medicinal marijuana is the only remedy that relieves their pain and suffering, or treats symptoms of their medical situation, without debilitating side effects. Moreover they argue that marijuana should be relied on since it is valuable and scientifically attested. Supporters also claim that marijuana may be effective in the treatment of pain, nausea resulted consequence of chemotherapy, and weight loss related with AIDS and cancer. They also maintain that marijuana-derived chemicals may improve sleeping problems, MS-related pain, bladder problems and mobility difficulties.
Doctors also recommend medical marijuana for easing pain and improving the quality of life for patients who are terminally ill. They also recommend it for other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, insomnia, ADHD, inflammation, epilepsy, glaucoma, chronic pain, migraines, loss of appetite, anxiety, arthritis and Crohn's disease. Opponents of marijuana put forward these ideas because they believe that marijuana is the safest drug with real benefits for the user as compared to alcohol which is unsafe and causes birth defects, addictions, and involves factually every organ in the body (Jamerson 59).
However, after hundreds of reports, experiments and studies, there is still no consensus about its medicinal effect. Even though various findings hold that marijuana holds medical value in the treatment of various diseases, it is still illegal for doctors in U.S. to prescribe their patients with marijuana. There is still little evidence that marijuana has medical efficacy. The medical use of marijuana should be supported by scientific evidence rather than ideology. Hence, science and medicine should conclude the question of whether marijuana has any legitimate medical use (McCollum 126).
In Conclusion, there are valid reasons why marijuana should not be a medical option. Americans have the right to disagree on the legalization of medicinal marijuana, since it is not safe for medical use. The risks to individuals and the costs to society associated with medicinal marijuana are substantially high. Hence, making an exception for marijuana would create a dangerous precedent in our country at large (McCollum 129).
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