Arguing a Position
May 7, 2006
The cannabis plant (marijuana) has been used medicinally by a variety of cultures around the world. It was used as medicine in the United States until when a new tax fee led to its discontinued use. Congress has voted on several bills to legalize the medical use of marijuana; however none of those bills were passed. In June 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that federal laws against marijuana, including its medical use, are valid. The government has authorized few research studies into the health effects of medical marijuana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved marijuana as a medicine, citing the fact that it has not gone through rigorous clinical testing like other new drugs must. The Government is not allowing enough testing, why? Many Americans using medical marijuana claim it helped them when other medicines couldn’t, the United States Government owes it to these sick Americans to do the proper testing. The United States Government claims, marijuana has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse. Many patients, physicians, medical organizations, and lawmakers opposed to medical marijuana believe that because marijuana has not been FDA-approved it is too dangerous to use. Some physician’s ague the drug is addictive, it’s a gateway drug, and it sends the wrong message to children. These are valid points and should be considered. These risks are still unclear due to the lack of testing by the American Government. However, the few tests that have been done seem to demonstrate more of an upside. Dr. Joycelyn Elders says, “The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS -- or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day." Other Doctors say, “Cannabis has a long, impressive history as a safe and effective medicine. Possible benefits might include improved symptom relief, fewer side effects, and/or lower cost than many commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals.” These are the observations of credible physicians throughout the United States and these credible American doctor’s say that marijuana is safer than most drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The physical effects of tobacco and alcohol, both legal to use in the United States, kill thousands of people every year. And it is easy to fatally overdose on alcohol, just as you can fatally overdose on prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of anybody dying from a marijuana overdose. It’s hard to understand why we can buy these drugs and substances so easily and yet they are proven to be more harmful to us than cannabis. Marijuana has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, going back to ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and Africa. In all that time, up to and including the present day, there has never been a report of a fatality directly due to the consumption of marijuana. In contrast, over 1,000 people die annually in the US from an overdose of our most common non-prescription drug, aspirin. In addition, many thousands of deaths result from the legal prescription drugs. Aspirin (according to all the information thus far) is 1,000 times more likely to kill you by overdose than marijuana. What about patients with AIDS? Even if it was clear that marijuana in terminally ill patients, patients with AIDS, and patients suffering from severe pain the risks would be irrelevant. If marijuana can gives these patients relief from their pain...
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