Medicinal Marijuana

Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal purposes?  Will this legalization lead to abuses?  There is currently a lot of debate going on about this issue.

I came across an article in the New York Times which led me to think about this topic.  It has been argued that marijuana can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of many conditions including, cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions. Those that support legalization do agree that there may be an increase in abuse of the drug if it is legalized.

Due to it’s popularity, researchers and drug officials say that marijuana causes little harm and have even argued that it is safer than alcohol.  Speaking of alcohol, Colorado plans to start regulating the drug as they do alcohol.

As of today, 16 states allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Rules vary from state to state and the debate on this reform continues.

Thought of the day–

  • Why  is it that the legalization for medicinal marijuana has been opposed for so long if it causes little to no harm and can help to relieve pain associated with many conditions?
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2 comments
  1. noakrawczyk said:

    There is an important differentiation between legalizing marijuana for medical purposes only and legalizing marijuana to be used for recreation. Legalization of medical marijuana would make it only available with a prescription and it would be illegal to sell or possess for other purposes. The logic behind this legalization is that the harm effects of marijuana would be minimal compared to the relief that it could potentially bring to patients. Legalizing marijuana completely, however, is a lot more complex. First off, few health professionals would say that marijuana causes no harm at all. Marijuana has been proven to reduce cognitive function and the inhaled smoke to cause damage to the lungs, especially when used at a young age and over long periods of time. However, it can definitely be argued to cause less harm than other drugs such as alcohol or tobacco, which are legally available. Many argue that legalization would benefit society significantly by eliminating the black market of its sale and therefore reducing the crime associated with marijuana trafficking. Still, the American anti-drug culture and the fear of legalization leading to increased consumption strays policy makers away from this possibility. Much of the opposition to allowing the legalization of medical marijuana is the fear that it would make it more difficult to control illegal selling for recreational use and would spread the black market of marijuana that already exists. It is therefore unlikely that a federal law for legalization of medical marijuana will come about in the near future, but we may start seeing more and more states that adopt policies to allow marijuana for medical use.

  2. jaredb said:

    In response to Jewel’s initial post, and somewhat off topic, my speculation is that the initial criminalisation of marijuana was influenced by the cotton, or paper industry- or possible both.

    Marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 drug, some states are exercising states rights and allowing an override of federal policy. According to the DEA “Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/

    I do find the prohibition of marijuana to be an interesting issues in a society that is so saturated with other pharmaceutical preparations, and my hypothesis is that it comes back to regulation. Marinol “the (-)-isomer of D9-(trans)-tetrahydrocannabinol [(-)-D 9-(trans)-THC], which is believed to be the major psychoactive component of Cannibas sativa L. (marijuana).” May be used “for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.” http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/1999/fr0702.htm

    “On September 11, 1998, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health sent to DEA a letter recommending that Marinol be transferred from schedule II to schedule III of the CSA.” Schedule III is the classification that is given to many prescription, narcotic, pain killers, and a seemingly logical classification for this drug. The interesting part, and from my view the potential violation of rights, is that the natural plant form remains in schedule I. It seems like the issue is regulation, and as Noa points out, a fear of “medical” marijuana leaking into black market distribution.

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