Marijuana is the drug obtained from flowers and leaves of the plant Cannabis sativa. It contains many chemicals, among which THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) has the most brain induced effects. The use in medicine and the hazardous effects it can also cause are the issues being faced by this drug. As long as used in proper concentration along with the supervision of a medical expert, this drug is relatively not dangerous. Introduction
Marijuana, or the mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of Cannabis sativa, is also known in slang terms such as pot, herb, weeds, Mary Jane, gangster, ands chronic (www. 4therapy. com, 2008). Marijuana is one of the most controversial drugs known to man. This is because of the contradictions of the healing properties that it possess as a medicine and also the destructive effects that it can also cause. These effects are contributed by the hundreds of types of chemicals present on it. The chemical compound that is the major component of marijuana is THC or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
This compound binds to the protein receptors in the nerve cell membranes of the brain where it mainly manifest its effect. This leads to a series of cellular reactions that causes the high being experienced by its users (www. nida. nih. gov, 2008). The concentration or the levels of THC in marijuana determines marijuana’s strength, and THC levels are affected by different factors such as plant type, weather, soil, and time of harvest (www. acde. org, 1999). Aside from being one of the most abused drugs, marijuana has its goods side as a medicine.
However, the use of marijuana is still debatable due to its deleterious effects. The question that arises now is that, is marijuana a dangerous drug, or not? Body The big question whether marijuana is a dangerous drug or not can be answered by evaluating different studies in the literature about the properties, medical applications, and the effects of marijuana in the human body. One of the literature sources that I have reviewed regarding the use of marijuana as medicine is the one given by Mack & Joy (2007).
According to their article, the information on the use of marijuana as medicine can be traced back to personal accounts of individuals to relieve diseases, from clinical studies, and from the studies that deal with the exploration of its chemistry and how it affects the human physiological processes. The exploration of marijuana as a medicine can be attributed to its ability to relieve pain. As the authors have mentioned, it is used as a pain reliever even in minor symptoms such as headaches.
The use is not limited to minor symptoms but according to some, it can also be extended in the alleviation of very serious diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and neurological disorders. (Mack & Joy, 2007) In line with this, the controversy of the development of pharmaceuticals that contain marijuana as the active ingredient was also mentioned in the article. Although this is still under contention, some companies had started the production of these medicines that contain the compound responsible for the effect of marijuana, which is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.
The primary concern on the use of marijuana as a medicine is not on the effect in treating a person of its symptoms but the effect of this drug to our society. It was mentioned that marijuana can cause harm to the users, either physical or physiological. It was also mentioned that if marijuana for medical purposes will be legalized, it may bring social hazards. Lastly, it was mentioned in the article that there is a possibility on the use of marijuana as a medicine and bearing in mind that it also have its advantages and disadvantages, the consideration of the social aspect of it should be given attention.
As we continue to conduct researches on the mechanism in which the compounds present in marijuana works in the human body, more social studies should also be given on its effect on non-users of our society. Upon reading the title of the article, many questions started to arise in my mind. Can we really use marijuana as a medicine even though it is known for its harmful effects to an individual and to the society? If we can really use it, can’t we just find any other alternative drugs or chemical compounds that will have the same healing effect but is less risky?
These are only some of the questions that I have thought. After reading the article, I have gained many insights about the use of marijuana as medicine, but first, I want to analyze the arguments and evidences presented by the authors and the possible reason why they had created such an article. During the first statements, it was mentioned in the article that the knowledge on marijuana’s therapeutical use can be attributed also to clinical studies. The authors mentioned that the clinical studies conducted were only limited.
Although I agree to these fact that the use of marijuana for medicine is supported by clinical evidences, it can’t be generalized at all that these limited number of clinical studies conducted is sufficient enough for us to utilize marijuana as a medicine and apply it in a universal context. I would like to present my argument in these clinical studies that some of the studies of other concerns and not only for marijuana are funded by private institutions in search of science that will be on their side.
We can’t be sure whether these studies are funded or backed up by pharmaceutical companies that want to produce products that are marijuana based. There is this part in the article that really caught my attention. It is the one that states that the effect of marijuana can be attributed to the biochemical reaction of this drug to our cells. Although this is a fact, I somehow disagree in the utilization of this scientific information just to support the argument that since this is correct, they can directly connect it to the use of marijuana as a medicine.
If that is their reasoning, it is true also that other plant or animal sources can also contain compounds that can have a similar biochemical reaction to our cells just like marijuana. If only the research and development will be focused more on these things that can also be used as medicine, and at the same time having less risk for an individual’s health or no risk at all, the use of marijuana in medicine can be limited or avoided. There was a statement in the article that marijuana can cause harm or injury to the users.
This made me to think that if that is the case, what will be the use of healing a disease using marijuana and in part, the patient will suffer in another way. The argument that marijuana smoking just like cigarette smoking pollutes the lungs was also presented in the article. If this is the case, then why smoke marijuana? Even though an individual can get benefits from it, other worse diseases may result such as respiratory diseases. There was a chapter about marijuana and pain that was mentioned in the article.
It was stated that the discovery of the people on the ability of marijuana to relieve pain is also a reason why they look to it as a medicine. It was also mentioned that pain, is the reason behind it, and being a sign for disease, people want to get rid of it. I can say that nothing is wrong with the argument but the way the argument is presented makes the authors to commit hasty generalization, thus it renders the alteration of the emotional tone on the context of the controversy.
I am very surprised when I have read across the chapters about marijuana and worse diseases such as AIDS and cancer. It made me think if there is really a connection between the use of marijuana in the cure of AIDS and cancer or people are just turning into it because they are thinking that marijuana is their hope since the other alternatives that they have tried didn’t work. After reading those chapters, I have evaluated the strength and weaknesses of the arguments that are presented under that topic.
Regarding marijuana and AIDS and cancer, the scope of its use is only limited in the U. S. This is not the case in other countries and thus I can say that there is only a weak connection on the therapeutical effect of marijuana for AIDS and cancer. Also, it was stated in the article that majority of the reason why AIDS patient turn to it is just to relieve its debilitating symptoms or side effects. Lastly, it was also presented in the article the possibility of pharmaceuticals that can be produced or derived from marijuana.
I am surprise to know that there is a drug that goes by the name Marinol that had been release in the market for a decade. This drug contains the compound that is very similar to that of marijuana. From the start of the article until the time that Marinol has been mentioned, I can say that the article has presented an unbiased point of view in looking at this issue about the use of marijuana as a medicine. The arguments are presented in a way that they are supported by scientific findings and the hazards and side effects that can arise from the utilization of marijuana as a medicine were also mentioned.
Thus, it presented the readers the two sides of the issue. The majority of the weakness that I can see in the way the article was presented was the lack or the insufficient scientific evidences that have a long term effect on an individual. Marijuana might be used as a medical substitute but the consideration of the long term effect that it can cause to a person should be also given attention, and the focus should not be only on the immediate relief that it can offer.
In another literature that I have reviewed, it was mentioned by the author (Robson, 2001) that the medical use of cannabis was first formally reported nearly 5000 years ago in China when it was recommended for the cure of malaria, constipation, rheumatic pains, childbirth, and as analgesic when mixed in wine. It was until before 1913 that cannabis was widely used as a medicine in the treatment of insomnia, migraine, ands muscular fatigue. It was also used as anti-convulsant, hypnotic medicine, and analgesic.
It was also stated that during 1913, the medical use of cannabis has steeply declined. The decrease of its popularity in medicine was affected by some issues such as the variability of the potency of herbal preparations, poor storage stability, unpredictable response to oral medication, and availability of potent synthetic alternatives. With regards to these issues, I can say that the last issue is the most significant reason for the decline of marijuana’s medical applications.
From the mentioned literature (Robson, 2001), I can say that marijuana is not dangerous at all when used properly in the right dosage and when administered by medical experts. This is because of the long history on the use of marijuana as medicine. However, the availability of other chemical compounds that can also treat the diseases being treated by marijuana is a much safer option in the prevention of its misused. Moreover, in the article written by Parker (2007), the negative side of marijuana was given emphasized.
It was mentioned that the effect of marijuana in the brain is the disruption of the balance of chemicals in the brain. This disturbance in balance will affect moods, energy, appetite, and attention. Also, marijuana affects the learning and memory process and can cause forgetfulness and reduced concentration. From these effects mentioned by the author, I can say that marijuana is really not a simple drug as it seems and its mis-abuse will cause hazardous effects not only to the users, but also to the society.
I can draw this generalization that marijuana can also cause hazardous effects to the society itself because when the user’s brain is affected, the way that they socialize and move in the society is also affected. Thus, the use of marijuana can cause a chain effect, from the user going to its environment, which is the society. Lastly, from my literature review of the article by Kaufman (2006), it was mentioned that the regular and heavy smoking of marijuana does not lead to lung cancer as we all expected. It was also mentioned that the THC present in marijuana can kill aging cells and thus prevents the growth of cancer cells.
From this literature review, I can say that even though majority of us expect that marijuana will only do harm in our bodies, when we look carefully at the different sides of its uses, we can tell that it also has its positive aspects in medical applications. Although some are arguing that we can use other drugs than marijuana in the treatment of various diseases, I can say that the use of marijuana provides a good option for us because it is a natural medicine when used properly instead of abusing, unlike the different chemically prepared medicines which can cause sides effects in the human body.
Conclusion In conclusion, I can say that we should be aware of both the good and bad side of the use of marijuana and we should not reject the idea on the use of marijuana in medicine but also, we should not accept it as it today. Further researches should be considered, both in the health science and its effect on the society. After all, medicine is there to uplift the society and not be the one that can cause its harm. That is, marijuana being a dangerous drug or not depends on the amount used and the appropriate person to administer such delicate drug.Therefore, marijuana is not dangerous if used properly and in scientific purposes.
Kaufman, Marc. (2006). Stusdy Finds No Cancer- Marijuana Conection. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/ AR2006052501729_pf. html Mack, A. , & Joy, A. (2007). Marijuana as Medicine? Retrieved May 10, 2008 from http://www. nap. edu/openbook. php? record_id=9586&page=R1 Parker, Jim. (2007). Marijuana: Health Effects. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from http://help. doitnow. org/126. html Robson, Philip. (2001).
Therapeutic Aspects of Cannabis ands Cannabinoids. British Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 107-115. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from http://bjp. rcpsych. org/cgi/reprint/178/2/107. pdf www. nida. nih. gov. (2008). NIDA InfoFacts: Marijuana. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from http://www. nida. nih. gov/Infofacts/marijuana. html www. 4therapy. com. (2008). What is Marijuana? Retrieved May 10, 2008 from http://www. 4therapy. com/consumer/conditions/article/4539/192/What+is+Marijuana%3F www. acde. org. (1999). Basic Facts About Drugs:Marijuana. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from http://www. acde. org/common/Marijana. htm