Medicine or Not
In 1972, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have "no accepted medical use." Since then, 16 of 50 US states and DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana ("Procon.org", 2012). Medical marijuana dispensaries are popping up all over the country. Cancer patients use marijuana to ease nausea and to stimulate their appetites. It also treats symptoms of AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, depression, and anxiety. I fully support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Unlike prescription medications, marijuana is a natural remedy grown from the earth’s own soil and water. These days prescription medication abuse is at an all-time high and it is time for a change in the treatment of patients. It is time for a new, less addictive, and natural medicinal approach.
Pros and Cons
Those who support medicinal marijuana argue that it is a safe and effective treatment. It is a natural way of treating the patient’s symptoms. Patients who use it typically do so because it eases their symptoms, is much less addictive than prescription medicines, and does not leave them in the chemical haze that some prescription medicines do. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and runs no risk of accidental overdose regardless of the quantity consumed. According to a 1995 review prepared for the World Health Organization, "There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved by ... users." ("Norml.org", 2012).
There is a prescription alternative to marijuana. A drug called Marinol is a synthetic marijuana medication that helps legally treat the patient’s symptoms. However, it takes much longer to take effect than smoking marijuana. For some patients, the effects of synthetic marijuana are too strong and can make them dizzy and nauseated. Through smoking or vaporizing, the patient has a greater amount of control over their dosage as they can experiment and find what works best for them. Vaporizing is a safer alternative to smoking marijuana. A vaporizer gently heats the marijuana, releasing the active chemical THC into a vapor rather than a smoke. If the patient does not wish to smoke or vaporize, they have the option to choose marijuana edibles. These may include brownies, cupcakes, cookies, suckers, breads, butter spreads, and many others made using marijuana.
Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous and lacks FDA-approval. They also believe that marijuana is highly addictive, leads to harder drug