Marijuana: An examination of arguments in favor of and opposed to its legalization Introduction
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant that can be ingested or smoked. This plant, or rather botanical, is illegal in most of the country with the exception of some states giving physicians authority to recommend the use to their patients. The purpose of this essay is to examine both the benefits and the risks of legalizing marijuana. Marijuana has many medicinal properties that have been proven to be therapeutically effective for various conditions. However, this drug also has carcinogenic properties and dangerous short- and long-term effects on the body. Although advocates may argue that the legalization of marijuana has many potential benefits, such as it would lessen our national debt and benefit our overall economic system, opponents may beg to differ. In this essay, the debate over the legalization of marijuana continues, with arguments over the therapeutic benefits versus the dangerous adverse effects of marijuana, the influence marijuana has on individuals, and whether or not the legalization of this drug could benefit our economy. Advocates for the Legalization of Marijuana
Effects of Marijuana on the Body
Imagine you are a cancer patient and just received a dose of radiation. You are violently ill and cannot stop vomiting. You hate these necessary treatments because you know how sick you become in response to them and you know the medications to counteract these side effects simply do not work. How would you react if the nurse came in with an order from the physician to smoke one marijuana cigarette, a treatment you know is effective, but instead tells you to take these pills that probably will not be effective? This is the case for many who are denied the right to use marijuana due to legislation prohibiting the prescribing of marijuana. You would probably be upset in the midst of all the pain and agony due to knowing that you cannot have an effective treatment because medical and legal professionals cannot agree. The use of marijuana has existed in many cultures for centuries. As far back as 2800 BC, historians traced the medicinal use of marijuana in Chinese cultures. It is also noted that many religious groups have used marijuana including the Christians who mixed a medicinal preparation of marijuana “into the wine offered to Jesus at the time of his crucifixion” (Puglisi, 2003). Marijuana has many therapeutic effects for those suffering from a variety of over 150 conditions (Trossman, 2010). Marijuana benefits patients with glaucoma by decreasing the intraocular pressure associated with the symptoms of this condition. Those with cancer have found that with smoked marijuana nausea and vomiting can significantly be reduced. Marijuana has been known to relieve debilitating pain associated with arthritis, cancer, and AIDS treatments. In one account, a seventy-two year old retired school teacher suffering from nausea and vomiting in response to her chemotherapy was in debilitating pain. She often threw up all the medications to treat her symptoms. Because of her pain she could not sleep, because of her sleep deprivation she was depressed, and because of her vomiting she was malnourished. She was told to try smoking marijuana in attempts to improve her symptoms but she whole-heartedly resisted explaining it would be unethical if she were to smoke marijuana after preaching to her students how it was so wrong (Puglisi, 2003). Individuals who are terminally ill suffer from what is known as the wasting syndrome. In this syndrome, the person is very malnourished and near starvation due to side effects that the “legal” drugs produce. Marijuana acts as a therapeutic mechanism in increasing appetite and weight in these patients. The legal drugs such as the antiretroviral drugs given to AIDS patients may help the disease from progressing but on the downside may hasten their death due to the reactions they have on...
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