Marijuana has over the years raised controversies among American citizens if it should or should not be legalized. Some have claimed that the drug has some medicinal value basing their argument on the prescriptions that are given by physicians which contain some regulated amount of this drug such as Marinol whose active component (Tertra-hydro-cannabinol) is found in marijuana. The current federal law illegalizes the use of Marijuana and anybody found in possession of the drug can be prosecuted in a law court.
Because of the recent medicinal value that has been attached to Marijuana, opponents of the current law are calling for the review of the existing law seeking to legalize the use of this drug which has left many people in a undecided whether they should or should not support its legalization. A question that many people are asking them selves is that: whether clinical benefits exceed the dangers associated with its use and if these benefits warrant its legalization. This paper is going to look into the positive and negative effects that are brought about by the use of this drug and if it should or should not be legalized.
Marijuana: Marijuana is a drug that is derived from leaves of a hemp tree by the name cannabis sativa. The leaves are dried out before being cut into pieces which are then processed for smoking. It has been in use for many years with the earliest documentation recorded in China in 2700 B. C. The plant not only had medicinal value but also was used in production of many products like clothing and ropes. The drug is criminalized in the US although recently some states have de-criminalized its use.
Because of the effects that are likely to come along with its legalization, it’s important to look at both the positive and the negative aspects of the drug as its being argued (Leon, p 347). Those supporting its legalization cite medical reasons. They say that the use of the drug increases appetite in patients therefore making them eat more food which increases their weight. Chemotherapy treatment that is administered to cancer patients decreases their appetite making them unable to gain or maintain their original weight.
It is said that individuals using Marijuana on medical grounds can gain an average of four pounds within two days. It also helps get rid of majority of symptoms brought about by diseases. In the US, although Food and Drug Administration regulatory body has not approved its use, it acknowledges its benefits in treatment of diseases like glaucoma, naturopathic pain, AIDS wasting, control of nausea brought about by chemotherapy and other diseases like multiple sclerosis (Solomon, p 12).
There are two main types of cannabis prescriptions available currently in the US which is used in controlling nausea and queasiness that comes about due to chemotherapy. They include: dronabinol and nabilone. Dronabinol can also be used in treatment of nausea due to HIV/AIDS infection (Leon, p 347). Medical marijuana can also reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP) a condition that brings about an increase in pressure in the eye ball which may bring about a steady loss of vision.
Although existing data indicate a reduction of IOP in patients with glaucoma who smoke marijuana, these effects last for a short period and the doses needed for the maintenance of this pressure at the required levels may bring about systemic toxicity. It has also been noted that its use by glaucoma patients may bring about reduced blood flows to the ocular nerve. Although the use of this drug has not been effective enough, there is hope that it can be able to direct researchers to better, safer and effective treatments.
Other studies have shown the capability of ocular CB targeting agents to reduce IOP in patients who have not responded to other glaucoma therapies available. According to Gerber, (p 45), through legalizing medical marijuana, other argue that the government could be able to collect more tax, more materials for use in making things such as clothes and ropes will be available and it could be made safer for users. Economically, proponents argue that if the drug is legalized, the government would be able to collect substantial amounts of money which is lost to drug traffickers.
This can be justified through looking at the amount of dollars that the government spends in its attempt to prevent marijuana from getting into the country which is approximated to be $ 14 billion. This amount could not only be saved but also the Federal Reserve would be able to collect a total of approximately $200 billion every year. These huge sums of money can be channeled to other sectors of the economy such as social security and health care (United States General Accounting Office, p 5).