April Dawn Stieber
Axia College of University of Phoenix
Medicinal Marijuana Should Be Legalized
“Marijuana is an addictive gateway drug” (Drug Policy Alliance Network, 2009). There is no good reason to use it, and it does nothing but ruin lives. These statements are frequently made by people who oppose the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons. Unfortunately, these statements are false. Medical breakthroughs would never be a reality if different risks were not taken. For example, long ago radiation was something that everyone was afraid of, but because a risk was taken, cancer patients now have hope of recovery. Someone somewhere believed that just maybe radiation would work, and it did. Marijuana deserves the same opportunity. Many studies have proven that marijuana does have significant medical benefits. There is no proof that marijuana is physically addictive, and furthermore, it is not physically possible to overdose from marijuana consumption (WAMM Organization, 2008). Despite these facts, over the years society has developed a very negative view of marijuana when in reality this drug has far more benefits than negative attributes.
When, Where, and How?
Throughout history, marijuana “has been used for medicinal purposes all over the world” (Online Pot Organization, 2008). The oldest recorded use of marijuana was about 5000 years ago in China. “In the Chinese culture, one of the earliest uses of hemp was for “absentmindedness”” (Online Pot Organization, 2008). Other cultures used marijuana for pain, anxiety, hilarity, menstrual cycle induction (in women), and to make clothing and paper. Furthermore, “ancient Iranian literature implies that the hemp plant was used as an oil source” (Online Pot Organization, 2008). Marijuana is truly a substance that is versatile and useful in a number of ways.
There was a time when marijuana was considered a good thing, but as the years progressed, and rumors spread, marijuana’s reputation quickly took a nosedive. To illustrate, in 1936, a government propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was created for the sole purpose of scaring American youth away from smoking marijuana. The film was a “tale featuring a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of marijuana. A trio of drug dealers led innocent teenagers to become addicted to “reefer” cigarettes by holding wild parties with jazz music” (The Internet Movie Database, 2008).
“Prior to 1936, at least 27 medicines were legally available in the United States” (WAMM Organization, 2008). Some pharmaceutical companies that still exist today manufactured these prescription drugs. Society knew and accepted that these drugs were beneficial. People knew that no harm was being done.
Shortly thereafter, in 1937, “marijuana was made federally illegal with the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act” (Concept 420, 1999). By this time, due to the propaganda, people were already developing very negative views of marijuana and completely disregarding the major medical benefits of the drug. Several years passed with no progress being made in the studies needed to legalize marijuana. Not until 2003 did the first legalization of medicinal marijuana occurred, in Canada (Modern research has led to studies that have shown verifiable benefits of marijuana, particularly in the medical field.
What Are the Benefits?
“A substantial increase in the number of recreational users in the 1970s contributed to the rediscovery of marijuana’s medicinal uses” (WAMM Organization, 2008). Many who were smoking marijuana for recreational purposes also happened to have some of the diseases whose symptoms are coincidentally lessened by the use of the drug (WAMM Organization, 2008). After a while, these discoveries gained the attention scientists who studied and authenticated the claims. “One of the first therapeutic uses of marijuana in the modern era has been its...