Marijuana Legalization

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Pot : In the Spotlight.

To Some people, it's a relaxing herb, something to temporarily pull the mind from reality. The aroma is unmistakable, the potency various, and there are roughly sixty five million people smoking it. I'm talking about Cannabis Sativa, the illegal strain of hemp known as marijuana. This plant provides many medical benefits that far outweigh the side effects. It has yet to be proven to be addictive or deadly. Marijuana as it stands right now is an illegal narcotic, but I think the drug, with it's physical, psychological, spiritual, but most importantly, medical benefits, should be legalized.

Marijuana is one of the oldest cultivated plants. (Nahas,1986) The first people to introduce the potential healing properties of marijuana were the Chinese. About five thousand years ago, the people of the plains of Central Asia began cultivating the plant for its oil and fiber. The United States was introduced to marijuana in the 16th century. It was brought over by the Spanish and British and used for its fiber. The plant's intoxicating properties were only discovered in the late 19th century. It was used for the production of rope and cloth until the 20th century and now it is widely a drug used preferably for pleasure.

The plant's therapeutic potential became known in the Western countries during the nineteenth century.(Abel, 1996) From 1840 to 1900, more that one hundred articles on cannabis appeared in European and American medical journals, recommending it as an appetite stimulant, muscle relaxant, painkiller, sedative, and for eliminating convulsions. Since then, marijuana has undergone many tests and thorough analysis for its use as a medical value.

The NIH (National Institute of Health) is one of the many advocates for medicinal marijuana. They claim that marijuana may be helpful in the alleviation of chemotherapy, to reduce nausea and enable the patients to eat. The drug also helps in the stimulation of appetite and reduction of the loss of lean muscle mass in AIDS patients. These AIDS victims also find that the drug also helps with the "wasting syndrome" that often characterizes the terminal illness. It has also been proven it can prevent epileptic seizures.(Potter, 1998) In addition, marijuana aids in the reduction of interlobular fluid pressure in the eyes caused by glaucoma, which can causes serious damage to vision, and in some cases can lead to blindness. Migraine sufferers have found relief form their headaches, and victims of spinal injuries and multiple sclerosis reported that marijuana controlled their spasms.(Randall, 1998)

Pro marijuana legalization groups such as the Physicians Association for AIDS Care and the National Lymphoma Foundation argue that marijuana should only be used to treat terminally ill patients. (Mack, 2001) Among those patients are the AIDS victims who find that marijuana stimulates their appetites so they can fight off dangerous emaciation, and cancer patients for whom the drug alleviates nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy and sometimes makes lifesaving treatment possible. These lobbying groups also complain that stronger, more dangerous drugs such as morphine and other pain killers are legal to prescribe. This brings up the ongoing argument: why not legalize marijuana since it is less expensive, easier to grow, and far less dangerous than other drugs that are used medicinally?

The plant has many other benefits as well. The fiber of the hemp plant is so strong that it can be used to make thick sturdy rope, clothing, paper, and shoes. It's seed also contains oil that can be utilized for many things such as varnish. Recently there was an experimental car that ran ten thousand miles using hemp seed oil for fuel. In some countries, the seed is used for bird and cattle fee and also in the manufacturing of soaps. Something else not usually known, it that the seeds can be roasted and eaten.

Marijuana is defined as the...
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