TOPIC: Medical Marijuana Use
The plant Cannabis sativa has been used in many cultures throughout history as a general-purpose medicine, pain reliever, and salve. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in therapeutic applications of marijuana in the United States.
Marijuana is Illegal: In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate interstate market in drugs extends to small quantities of doctor-recommended marijuana. So, patients using marijuana prescribed by a physician can be criminally prosecuted by federal law enforcement agencies.
Those opposed to medical marijuana (1) express reservations about its toxicity, possible interactions with other drugs and potential for dependence; (2) believe that smoking marijuana might cause damage to the respiratory system; (3) feel that medical use of marijuana will make it more accessible to drug abusers and lead to use of other more harmful drugs; (4) cite animal studies that show marijuana or it constituent may deteriorate motor coordination, negatively affect a fetus, and lower sperm count or motility—potentially negative side effects.
Benefits of Marijuana Use: The goal of medical marijuana use is to relieve suffering in seriously ill patients, for which other treatments have not worked. To this end, marijuana or its ingredients have been reported to reduce anxiety, relax muscles, increase appetite, and modulate the immune system and cardiovascular systems, all which could be exploited in a therapeutic setting. Currently, some applications for medical marijuana include treating pain, preventing nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy, and lowering intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.
While the Food and Drug administration (FDA) dismisses claims of marijuana’s medical benefits; it has paradoxically approved certain THC-based drug therapies, meant for use by cancer patients...