Free Essay

Marijuana on Trail

In: English and Literature

Submitted By aprilcook
Words 1530
Pages 7
Marijuana on Trial
April D Cook
COM/156
9/9/2012
Amy Leedy

Imagine someone finds out that they have a painful disease or illness. Dealing with the pain and suffering could be an issue for many people. Imagine not having any medicine to treat the pain with. What if using an illegal drug like marijuana, could help the pain in ways a legal drug could not? What are the criteria to decide if the use of an illegal drug is the best thing for a person to do? Are people supposed to obtain an illegal drug on their own and risk the chance of going to jail?
It is not right to let people suffer from an illness, but it is also up to the people of the United States to follow the laws of the country. Legalizing medical marijuana may help improve lives by reducing suffering in those who have a terminal illness. Even though someone might have a terminal illness does not mean that they cannot enjoy what life they have left. Even if it is not a terminal illness, and it is a long term condition they should be able to be happy and pain free. Advocating for those who need medical marijuana and educating the public and our politicians about the benefits of medical marijuana is a noble cause for those who believe in it.
The purposes of medical marijuana are to help treat the chronic pain of many different diseases such as cancer. Cancer is a common disease that affects many people throughout the world. All of us know that cancer patients suffer many illnesses and side effects, especially when taking chemotherapy or radiation. Medical marijuana can help curve these side effects and make people feel better for a little while. According to D. J. Pfeifer (2011), “marijuana can reduce nausea and vomiting and stop the loss of appetite.” Medical marijuana also helps reduce the patients’ pain levels. The THC that is found in marijuana acts as an agent to help reduce many symptoms for cancer patients. It also helps therapeutically for cancer patients experiencing a weight loss because of their appetite. It can also help reduce diarrhea, weakness and fever. Our brain has two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which is our body’s natural pain control system (R. DeLorenzo 2011). Marijuana can help decrease the pain in cancer patients temporarily because of these medicinal effects on these receptors.
Along with helping cancer, medical marijuana can also help alcoholics and drug addicts by reducing the cravings for alcohol and other drugs. A study done by the University of California- Berkeley suggests “substituting cannabis for treatment of heavy alcohol abuse.” It is found that it will help reduce cravings with other drugs as well. The study shown that there were less negative side effects and that 34% had fewer withdrawal symptoms, while 57.4% showed a better management of their addiction. Along with addictions other problems can arise from the use. Alcoholics and drug abusers may suffer seizures, which can create permanent brain damage. Many people also suffer seizures from epilepsy. A study done by Virginia Commonwealth University found that “marijuana helps control seizures in epilepsy by regulating the central nervous system.” It could eventually help eliminate seizures altogether.
After learning what medical marijuana can help with, society also has to look at the statistics and what the government has allowed. As of now, there are 17 states plus Washington DC that have legalized medical marijuana (ProCon.org 2012). In order to obtain permission for medical marijuana in 15 of the states, showing proof of residency as well as completing an application is required. Oregon will not accept out of state applications and Delaware is still pending. Each state is approved the use of marijuana for certain conditions; they have a set possession limit and there is an application fee as well as a renewal fee each year. Medical marijuana is obtained according to five Federal Drug Classification Schedules, or schedule I through V (National Substance Abuse Index, 2012). This basically puts drugs into categories according to how easy it is to become addicted to the drug and also based on if it has been accepted for treating medical conditions in the United States. The classification of a drug can tell the pharmacist and physician if it is a controlled substance. Most are in pill forms, but there are mouth sprays and inhalers that contain marijuana.
As of now, the death rate from medical marijuana is nonexistent. States that have legalized medical marijuana are seeing fewer fatal car accidents (M. Szalaritz 2011). Most states that have already been approved for medical marijuana tend to think that alcohol users are substituting marijuana for alcohol. While there is no proof that medical marijuana is addictive, it might be. According to Web MD, there are some serious side effects from the use of marijuana in addition to dependency. People might experience paranoia, memory loss, depression and low testosterone. None of these conditions side effects relate to death. Knowing more about how insurance companies provide coverage for medical marijuana and what the cost of the drug is for patients is important. According to the Department of Consumer Protection, right now the law does not require insurance companies to cover medical marijuana. However, insurance companies do cover prescription medical marijuana such as Marinol. A typical patient who carries insurance will have a co pay between $0.00 and $20.00. Choosing to smoke marijuana and not obtaining a prescription, one would pay about $17.14 per gram (or $60 for an eighth of an ounce). Although insurance companies do not cover medical marijuana they do cover for other illegal drugs that have been approved such as amphetamines. Most pharmacies are not currently allowed to dispense medical marijuana. Only licensed pharmacists will be able to after they apply through the Department of Consumer Protection. Most of the states that have already approved medical marijuana also have their own dispensaries. While it is not wise to obtain marijuana illegally, people still do. It is a huge risk and that is why the need for legal action to get approval for certain medical conditions is necessary.
When patients are approved to use medical marijuana, they are not allowed to use in public. They also cannot be discriminated against for jobs or failed drug tests. For example, when someone might be on Methadone, which is used to control pain and addictions as long as they are prescribed the medication or have been approved through a certified clinic, it is not supposed to be held against them, even though it probably happens. Many people in the United States do not realize that there are also other medications at our pharmacies or doctors offices that contain “non-approved” or illegal drugs. The government has allowed these medicines because they help. According to Drugs.com, cocaine is found in doctors’ offices as a topical medication called Cocaine Hydrochloride. This is used to numb peoples’ mouth, nose and throat before procedures and reduces swelling and bleeding. Amphetamines are also used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (aka ADHD). Children and even adults who have this condition are often prescribed amphetamines. If the government can approve these medications, then they should be able to approve medical marijuana. It is not right for the government to allow people to suffer when a helpful drug is available. Marijuana holds a certain stigma in our culture, but that should not prevent society from incriminating people who advocate legalizing marijuana for sick people. Medical marijuana can help people who have certain addictions and illnesses. People who need this medicine need other people to help them spread the word and get this medicine approved in all 50 states. By getting the government to help, society can also get the insurance companies to make it cost effective for sick patients so that they can afford what they need, keeping in mind that this could be our family that needs help. Helping those suffering shows good morals and social responsibility. Not helping those suffering shows disrespect, selfishness and poor judgment. Legalizing medical marijuana may help improve lives by reducing suffering in those who have a terminal illness and this change will come.

References:
Pfeifer, D. J. (2011). Smoking Gun: The Moral and Legal Struggle For Medical Marijuana. Touro Law Review, 27(2), 339-377.

Nauert, R. (2009). PsychCentral. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/12/01/marijuana-to-control-alcohol-abuse/9863.html

DeLorenzo, R. (2003 updated 2011). VCU News. Retrieved from http://www.news.vcu.edu/news/Marijuana_and_its_receptor_protein_in_brain_control_epilepsy

Medical Marijuana. (2012). Retrieved from http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

Szalavitz, M. (2011). Why Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Traffic Death. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/02/why-medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-traffic-deaths/

Marijuana Directory. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/marijuana-directory

Medical Marijuana Program. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.ct.gov/dcp/cwp/view.asp?a=1620&q=503670

Cocaine. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/cons/cocaine-topical.html

National Substance Abuse Index. (2012). Retrieved from http://nationalsubstanceabuseindex.org/drugclass.htm

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