- Essay on Health
Marijuana is a popular plant around the world. The plant has various names in different parts of the world. While it is referred to as shish, pot, dope, Kush or green in most countries, it is known as green or grass in others. The plant has been used spiritually, medically and recreationally in different ways. It is smoked and can be ingested as well. The active compound in marijuana is known as the denta-9 –tetrahydrocannabinol commonly referred to as THC. Documented evidence shows that THC possesses, among others, psychoactive effects. Although marijuana has been in use for centuries now, while it has been legalized in some countries, its use is illegal in most countries. This paper discusses in detail legalization of marijuana.
Historically, marijuana has been used for recreational, spiritual as well as for medicinal purposes worldwide (Bostwick, 2012). The Chinese, for example, have been using marijuana for the treatment of illnesses such as rheumatism and constipation since 2700 B.C. similarly, documented evidence supports the medicinal use of marijuana by Africans, ancient Greeks as well as the Indians to treat infections such as malaria (Cohen, 2009). In the United States, it was recommended by physicians for therapeutic purposes until in the 1970s, when the use was banned (Kilmer, Caulkins, Bond & Reuter, 2010). Since then, the medicinal application of this drug has been of heated debate.
Debaters that argue for the legalization of marijuana cite evidential reports showing that marijuana has medicinal value. Analogs of the active compound in marijuana have been documented to combat effectively illnesses (Joffe &Yancy, 2004). Research demonstrates that it can be used to treat glaucoma, appetite related complications, cachexia, and pain. Furthermore, both neurological complications and movement related disorders can be treated using this drug (Clark, Capuzzi & Fick, 2011). Also, reports indicate that marijuana can be an effective analgesic in the treatment of victims of HIV/AIDS. Besides, studies show that smoked marijuana has therapeutic potential to combat the side effects that accompany chemotherapy in the treatment of hepatitis C (Cohen, 2009). In the United States and Canada for example, pharmaceutical products of cannabinoids are currently in use. Dronabinol, nabilone, and nabiximol, for instance, have been on the market since 1985. (Bostwick, 2012)
Marijuana has been proven to have a medicinal use; however, many countries are yet to legalize it. Although a few states have legalized medical marijuana, there is tremendous concern about the side effects that arise from its use (Pacula, Powell, Heaton & Sevigny, 2013). Debaters against the legalization of marijuana base their argument on these effects. Just as alcohol consumption, the legalization of medical marijuana will have both economic and social impacts. Among those who will be affected by its legalization are the youths. Consequently, teenagers might also get involved in the use of marijuana (Kilmer et al., 2010). As such, it may become the most actively abused drugs in the world in comparison to alcohol and tobacco. Similarly, children and adolescents will be most susceptible to the effects of laws governing drug use. The exposure of such children to drug use would adversely affect their upbringing (Jeffe et al., 2004). Consequently, the increased accessibility may result in increased health complications. Marijuana smoke is known to be highly toxic. Lung complications may arise from marijuana smoking (Clark et al., 2011).
In conclusion, legalization of medical marijuana may cause hard drug use. The recreational marijuana use could promote the use of other harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin. In contrast, however, legalizing medical marijuana will provide patients with its pure form, thereby reducing black-market activities that may lead to decreased legal repercussions. Consequently, it will help in reducing legal prosecution of marijuana related cases. Additionally, further research on the drug could reduce its cost and the adverse effects associated with marijuana smoking.
- Bostwick, J. M. (2012, February). Blurred boundaries: the therapeutics and politics of medical marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2811%2900021-8/fulltext.
- Clark, P. A., Capuzzi, K., & Fick, C. (2011). Medical marijuana: medical necessity versus political agenda. Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 17(12), 249-61.
- Cohen, P. J. (2008). Medical marijuana: the conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology. Part one of two. Journal of pain & palliative care pharmacotherapy, 23 (1), 4-25.
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