Final Research Paper
FINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Alternative medicine has become a rather popular method of relieving everything from a headache to depression. Some common forms of alternative medic include aromatherapy, acupuncture, and crystal therapy. Among them is the healing power of medical cannabis. It has been praised for its soothing and hallucinogenic qualities.
Medical marijuana has been on the forefront of public debate for quite some time. There are indications that suggest marijuana to be useful to alleviate pain, to reduce nausea, to diminish the wasting syndrome of AIDS. Marijuana has been used to treat glaucoma, cancer,epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, amongst other disorders. "A few studies have suggested that the medical use of marijuana is common among people with HIV/AIDS and those with certain psychiatric conditions" (Ogborne, 2009, para. 1).
In 1972, the United States Congress decided marijuana to have "no accepted medical use." They placed the drug on the Controlled Substances Act. Today, 22 of 50 US states and DC have passed legislation regarding the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Some people deem the drug safe and effective for treatment symptoms, such as the effects of chemotherapy. Opponents of the drug argue that it is dangerous, is not FDA approved, and that prescription drugs make marijuana unnecessary. They say that marijuana is a gateway drug and leads to the use of much harder illegal drug use, can cause fertility problems, impairs a drivers ability, and is harmful to the lungs, immune system, and the brain. They also believe that legalizing the drug is just an excuse to be able to use it for recreational purposes.
Cannabis has been used throughout the world for medical, recreational, and spiritual purposes. It was first used in Central Asia and then spread to China and India. It has been said that nearly five millennia ago, the Chinese emperor, Shen-Nung prescribed the drug. The drug traveled to India between 2000 and 1400 bc and from there went on to Egypt, Persia, and Syria.
FINAL RESEARCH PAPER
The Greeks and the Romans appreciated the plants rope-like qualities as hemp. "The medieval physician Avicenna included it in his formulary, and Europeans of the same epoch ate its nutritional seeds and made its fibers into paper, a practice that continued for centuries. Indeed, the American Declaration of Independence was purported to have been drafted on hemp-based paper" (Bostwick, 2012, para. 4).
In 1854, medical cannabis became official legitimate when it was listed in the United
States Dispensatory. United States physicians often carried cannabis extracts in their leather bags to treat ailments, such as, insomnia, headaches, and anorexia. Remedies containing cannabis were also used for pain, whooping cough, and asthma. More recently, there was a study in the
Institute of Medicine addressing the efficiency of marijuana use. "The 1999 study found at least some benefit for smoked marijuana in stimulating appetite, particularly in AIDS-related wasting syndrome, and in combating chemotherapy- induced nausea and vomiting, severe pain, and some forms of spasticity" (Bostwick, 2012, para. 5).
Becoming addicted to marijuana is not as high a risk as some other drugs. "With a lifetime dependence risk of 9% in marijuana users vs 32% for nicotine, 23% for heroin, 17% for cocaine, and 15% for alcohol" (Bostwick, 2012, para. 18). Marijuana dependency comes on gradually as opposed to cocaine dependency which can be explosive after the very first use.
The first professionals to advocate for the drug were oncologist. In 1990, a survey was conducted by the American Society of Oncology comparing medical marijuana to marinol, a drug used to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medicines.