Legalization of Marijuana

Recently doctors have prescribed marijuana, and “the Clinton administration threatened to prosecute doctors who prescribe marijuana,” (Gonnerman 40). Doctors are prescribing marijuana for its medical benefits. The Clinton administration on the other hand is outlawing marijuana because it has not been approved by the FDA. Since doctors feel marijuana has medical benefits it should be clinically tested so they can prescribe it for their patients. Marijuana can be used for many medical reasons. For cancer patients receiving chemotherapy marijuana decreases vomiting and nausea; it also helps them deal with the anxiety of the treatment.

AIDS patients can use marijuana because of its ability to stimulate their appetite. Marijuana can also be used to decrease the muscle spasms of people with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Glaucoma, a disease which causes blindness due to an increase of pressure in the eyeball, can be dealt with by using marijuana because it decreases the pressure in the eyeball (Cowley 23). All of these diseases are terribly painful for the patient, and none of them have a perfect cure, but marijuana does help the patient deal with the disease.

There are drugs with marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, which can be used in place of marijuana, but most of them are problematic. Marinol can be used by cancer patients and AIDS patients. Marinol can cause intoxication; it is only available in a pill form which is hard to swallow while vomiting and it is difficult to take the correct dosage. Patients with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis can use dantrium and lioresal. However, dantrium can cause liver damage, and lioresal causes sedation and sudden withdrawal can cause hallucinations and seizures (Cowley 23).

Xalatan, beta-blocker eye drops, miotic eye drops, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors can be used to treat glaucoma but each drug has a side-effect. Xalatan can change the eye color of the user. Beta-blocker eye drops have been known to cause lethargy and provoke asthma attacks. Miotic eye drops constrict the pupil and therefore dim vision. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors can cause numbness and weight loss (Cowley 23). The side effects from medicine with the active ingredient of marijuana are conventionally used by doctors instead of marijuana. It has been proven that these side effects are result from using the conventional

medicine, but it has not been proven that marijuana has these side effects. Therefore marijuana should be tested so that it can legally be used instead of conventional medicine. There are many cases where marijuana has been used for medical reasons. Each one of these cases is a reason that marijuana should be researched for medical use. One reason that marijuana is prescribed for patients is that, the conventional medicine that doctors prescribed for their patients often causes horrible side effects. In some of these cases marijuana could have been used rather than conventional medicine.

Susan Nelson was prescribed an anti-nausea drug to help her deal with the chemotherapy she received for her lymphoma. The drug worked wonderfully to aid her digestion but “it also lowered her inhibitions, causing inexplicable urges to throw plates and roll burning logs on the living-room floor,” (Cowley 22). Nelson discontinued her use of the anti-nausea drug that her doctor prescribed, and she began to illegally smoke marijuana. Although what Nelson did was illegal, the marijuana did not give her the side effects attributed to her previous medicine.

Marijuana was a superior treatment, as Nelson says: “When I smoked it, you could still trust me,” (22). Hazel Rodgers is a 77-year-old from San Francisco. Rodgers was diagnosed with breast cancer and she also has glaucoma. To deal with her anxiety and pain she smokes marijuana (Morganthau 20). Imagine that Rodgers was a member of your family, would it be acceptable for her to smoke marijuana to deal with her pain? Barry McCaffrey, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, explains the process of legalizing drugs as: “exhaustive testing by the FDA,” (McCaffrey 27).

In “We’re on a Perilous Path” McCaffrey implies that he is not against the legalization of marijuana. “Why is it dangerous for Americans to use marijuana as medicine? The answer is: it may not be,” (27) McCaffrey explains. McCaffrey also states that $1 million has been given to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences to research marijuana (27). McCaffrey does not explain that the $1 million is to be used for a literature review, and a literature review will not get marijuana legalized because a clinical trial is still needed.

McCaffrey then states that if it is found that marijuana can be used as medicine then “we must immediately make them (marijuana) available to the American medical community”, (27). It is difficult to imagine why marijuana is not researched for medical use. There are many opponents to medical marijuana, but their opinions are not supported. These opponents are prejudice, they have passed judgment on medical marijuana even though it has never been thoroughly tested. Of all of these opponents none of them are against the actual research that should be done.

Also, many of these opponents are scared of the legalization of marijuana for senseless reasons. Richard Brookhiser wrote an article in US News & World Report arguing for the legalization of marijuana, but he cites reasons that opponents of medical marijuana generally use. One argument is that “marijuana has not been thoroughly tested,”(Lost 9). This is because the National Institute on Drug Abuse has not allowed the testing of marijuana (Lost 9). Dr. Donald Abrams has had his requests for marijuana, to be used for AIDS research, denied because the NIDA fears multiple requests of this type (Lost 9).

These multiple requests would be dreadful since actual research on marijuana would be done. Another argument that Brookhiser alludes to is “that by legalizing marijuana in one area, we will be setting a bad example to society engaged in a war on drugs,”(Lost 9). It has been said that millions have tried marijuana, at least once, and “found that it was pleasurable and not particularly addictive,” (Morganthau 20). Therefore marijuana is not considered a hard, addictive drug, and its legalization would not be a shock to society.

However, “the availability of morphine in hospitals is not the reason people smoke crack,” (Pot 27) and people are not highly concerned about the medical use of morphine. It is unexplainable why marijuana is looked upon so harshly considering it is not considered a “hard” drug. Marijuana has many medical benefits, especially when compared to the conventional medicine that doctors prescribe. For these benefits to be put to use marijuana must be approved by the FDA, it must pass the clinical tests of the FDA.

Opponents of the legalization of marijuana are against it because of the lack of research or they fear it will increase the illegal use of it. However, society does not fear the use of crack in the form of morphine in hospitals to increase the illegal use of crack. What is presently needed is a clinical test of marijuana. Marijuana does not have to be legalized for medical use, but we should find out if it should be legalized. We need to answer an important question: Is marijuana a drug that can be used for medical benefits? The only way to answer this is a clinical test. Word Count: 1219.

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