Is it possible for an illegal drug to be deemed legal for medical purposes? Well for an illegal drug like marijuana, that is the question. There are currently eight people that use marijuana legally to suppress their illness. Marijuana should be allowed for medicinal purposes.
But one of the arguments is that there are alternatives to using marijuana such as medications that come in pills, solutions, shots, or drops. There is no prescribed drug today that is smoked. Another concern is that marijuana is illegal is the United States. Making it a medicine would require a change in the current law which would have to be voted on by Congress. The biggest and most important argument against marijuana is the negative effects it could have on a person. Marijuana effects coordination and short-term memory which may make it impossible for a person to operate a vehicle or learn anything new. Smoking marijuana could cause lung cancer. Smoking three to five joints a day is equivalent to smoking more than twenty cigarettes a day. But marijuana has many helpful effects also.
Marijuana is a proven agent to prevent nausea in people. In 1985, the FDA approved a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). It was approved to combat nausea and vomiting that accompanies chemotherapy. In a 1988 study, 78% of 56 people said that they had received some
relief with marijuana(Fackelmann 15). By inhaling the marijuana, patients can control the dose they need in order to relieve their pain and it also takes affect immediately upon smoking. Pills on the other hand deliver a standard dose which may be too much for some patients and takes awhile to take affect. Many people have heard that marijuana gives a person the munchies, but the munchies may be exactly what a person needs in order to live.
Marijuana has been proven to increase appetite which results in a weight gain for the person. For an AIDS patient, gaining weight not losing it is a main focus. In 1992, the FDA approved a pill form of THC called Marinol for AIDS patients who suffer from wasting. In a study of 139 people with AIDS, half of the people were given the Marinol and half were given a placebo. The Marinol significally improved the appetite in AIDS patients(Cowley and Hager 22). Gaining weight and keeping it on for AIDS patients is key in extending their lives. Marijuana has also been proven effective in the fight against the blinding disease glaucoma.
Glaucoma is caused by intense pressure that is built up in the eyes. The end result is blindness. Smoking marijuana relieves this pressure that builds up. In one
study, a woman with glaucoma was given a conventional glaucoma prescription drug and marijuana. By using both these things, the woman reduced the dangerous pressure that had built up in her eyes(Zeese and Ruzzamenti 23). But does this mean that a person has to get high so they dont go blind? Researcher Paul Palmberg states that a person develops a tolerance to the drug so that the patient doesnt get high but still gets relief(Zeese and Ruzzamenti 23). Marijuana helps with nausea, weight loss, and glaucoma, but what else does it do?
Marijuana has been proven to help in the fight and cure of neurological diseases and disorders. Toxicologist Paul Consroe believes that THC in marijuana may help tone down the spasms that people suffer with Huntingtons disease, spinal cord injuries and other disorders. His studies show that specialized proteins that serve as docks for THC, are in regions of the brain known to play a role in movement disorders. These receptors also bind to anandamide, a marijuana-like substance manufactured by the body. In a 1986 study, Consroe showed that cannabidiol, a component of marijuana, calmed the abnormal movements of five people suffering from dystonia, a condition that makes muscle spasms that contort the body(Marijuana as Medicine).
Robert Randall is one of the patients who smokes marijuana for glaucoma. In 1994, Randall was diagnosed with late-stage AIDS. He stopped smoking marijuana for a period of a year because his health was on a decline. He stated that in the time that he didnt smoke the marijuana, he lost more eyesight than he had in the last twenty years. During this time, he was went from weighing 170 pounds to 125 pounds. Since then, he has gone back to smoking marijuana and his weight has gone back up to 180 pounds and his eyesight has stabilized. He credits marijuana for the improvement(Fackelmann 15).
Robert Randall is just one case that suggests that marijuana can be used for medicine. Although it is illegal as of right now, the future holds hope that this drug will be readily available to all those who need it. With more research and tests I believe that the law will change and allow marijuana to be legal for medical uses. The day marijuana becomes legal for medicine is the day when suffering patients have a remedy for their illnesses. Marijuana may prove to be the wonder drug that we have been searching for.
Consumer Reports Magazine. Consumer Reports: Marijuana asMedicine. Consumer Reports May 1997.
Cowley, Geoffrey and Mary Hager. Can marijuana be medicine? Newsweek Feb. 1997: Vol.129 Issue 5 page 22. .
Fackelmann, Kathleen. Marijuana: Useful medicine or dangerous drug? Consumers Research Magazine May 1997: Vol.80 Issue 5 page 15. http://ehostvgw8.epnet.com/delivery.asp?&startHitNum=10&rlStartHit=10&delType=FT.
Zeese, Kevin and William Ruzzamenti. Should marijuana be legalized for medical uses? Health Nov./Dec. 1993 Vol.7 Issue 7 page 23. http://ehostvgw8.epnet.com/delivery.asp?3F&startHitNum=1&rlStartHit=1&delType=FT.