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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

The use of medical marijuana is a hot topic that needs to be tackled. There is no plant on Earth more condemned than marijuana.  Marijuana has been found to suppress cancer, reduce blood pressure, treat glaucoma, alleviate pain and even inhibit HIV. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective.  Prescription drugs kill about 100,000 people in the world each year. Off the top of your head, do you know how many deaths are caused by using marijuana, either medicinally or recreationally? “There are no deaths from cannabis use, anywhere.  From a health care perspective, the favorability of legalized marijuana is dependent on the ratio of revenues that can be gained through taxation to the potential increases in health care costs associated with legalization. The federal government should take action today to bring this issue to fruition to save time, money, and bring a better quality of life to all the citizens who live here in need of alternative medical relief

Cannabis is one of the most powerful healing plants on the planet. Can you imagine walking into your local pharmacy and being able to purchase an ounce of marijuana to alleviate pain?  People believe that is the direction we are headed in our nation.  Would that be so bad?  It would certainly take the control of marijuana out of the hands of the drug dealers and into the hands of the government and law makers, the way prescription medicine is controlled today.

Marijuana was legal to possess and use for medical reasons in every state of the Union until the federal government banned its use and possession in 1937. Marijuana has been around since the dawn of recorded history and the first documented use of cannabis dates to 7,000 B.C. Marijuana was used as a medicinal herb by the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for stomach ailments, cramps, and pain. (Deamuseum.org, 2014) Although marijuana had been around for centuries, widespread use of marijuana as a recreational drug did not become widespread in America until alcohol was banned during the Prohibition Era of 1920 – 1933.

Scientific study and research of marijuana began in the 1950’s; each study has concluded that marijuana does have medicinal qualities, particularly in management of pain and surprisingly, unlike standard narcotic pain killers, marijuana is not physically addictive. The government could potentially put many of the drug lords out of business just by passing laws to make the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana legal.  If the pharmaceutical industry took on the task it would generate lots of new jobs to generate even more income benefits for the federal government.  If the drug companies jumped on board with the production of the drug it would be possible to get organic marijuana dispensed keeping out harmful chemicals.  This would allow the patients access to a better treatment option that didn’t contain chemicals that could do more harm than good.   There is the potential to generate 10 to 14 billion in taxation revenue annually.  Legalization could also save 7.7 billion in expenditures on prohibition enforcement including the costs of policing, housing and judicial expenses. (Miron, 2005) Many states have already passed laws that allow its citizens to buy, sell, and grow marijuana legally.  Although these laws do not supersede the laws of the federal government they do allow the states to do this legally and generate tax money for the state.  There are 18 states that already have some type of legal marijuana law.  As more and more states pass laws for the legalization of marijuana the number of kilograms seized every year has been steadily decreasing.  In 2008 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized 662145 kilograms.  Last year only 354023 kilograms were seized. (justice.gov 2013)

There are many other ways to ingest marijuana besides smoking it.  The benefiting chemical in marijuana is THC.  THC can be made into pills for a patient to swallow or a cream to rub into the skin.  There are also vaporizers that a patient can just inhale the THC through vapors. There are a number of health benefits to using marijuana or THC in any of its forms.  Taking the drug can provide a reduction in chronic and neuropathic pain by as much as thirty percent. (Ellis 2014)  The use of marijuana can also stimulate the appetite.  In patients with certain diseases such as cancer and HIV the treatments frequently cause decreased appetite which in turn causes weight loss.  The weight loss decreases the body’s ability to fight against the disease, so smoking marijuana can be very helpful in getting the patient to stimulate their appetite and have food cravings.  Also in patients being treated with chemotherapy, which causes severe nausea, marijuana can alleviate this feeling making the patient more comfortable and tolerate the treatment better.

Some of the top health related benefits to marijuana usage; Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals and also kill cancer cells.  Research suggests that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer. (Berkeleypatientscare.com, 1820)  Marijuana’s effects on multiple sclerosis patients became better documented when former talk-show host, Montel Williams began to use pot to treat his MS. Marijuana works to stop the neurological effects and muscle spasms that come from the fatal disease. The Scripps Institute, in 2006, proved that the THC found in marijuana works to prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking the deposits in the brain that cause the disease. Likewise the inhalation of marijuana relaxes the muscles in the body.  Patients who suffer from muscular tension, twitching and pain can benefit from this treatment.  Since marijuana relaxes the body people who have anxiety can get some relief by a marijuana treatment. Just like marijuana is used to treat muscular tension, it can be used to treat the cramps and discomfort that causes PMS symptoms. Using marijuana for PMS actually goes all the way back to Queen Victoria. The drug can also relieve the symptoms of depression.  As a child my own cousin could have found this world a much more likeable place if she had been able to use marijuana to alleviate her pain and her depression that she developed from a terrible car accident.  She eventually took her own life as a result of her injuries and the depression she developed from taking conventional western medicine.  For her to get relief in some form would have been a blessing because the conventional western medicine certainly didn’t help.  Because of the overall benefits a person can get from a treatment of marijuana my cousin’s symptoms could have been better managed to give her a better quality of life.  She was in severe back pain due to her spinal injury which pinched off her spinal column and the nerves running down her legs.  She wasn’t able to get around very well because she couldn’t feel her feet moving.  If she had received treatment with marijuana it would have helped with several of those symptoms.   For a country that is always on the side of humanity we need to explore all options when it comes to human suffering.  Imagine the relief an adult with ADHD could get from this treatment.  To feel relaxed and to slow the mind down to a more normal processing level would be a world of difference.

In comparison to the effects of tobacco or alcohol use, marijuana would be the wiser choice.  Smoking tobacco causes cancer in nearly every organ in our body.  It causes heart disease and cardiovascular disease.  A large number of smokers die each year from the effects of smoking. (Smoking and Tobacco Use, 1994)  Second hand smoke also adds to the health risks for the people around someone who are smoking.  Alcohol users also die from drinking.  Alcohol abuse causes cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, and stroke.  Alcoholics are also prone to more violent behavior, depression, confusion and amnesia.  Marijuana use does not kill the person using the drug.  If a person is using a form of THC that isn’t smoked there is also less risk to those around them.  Driving under the influence of alcohol injures and kills people from the impairment it causes than driving after using THC.  The high cost of health care of someone who is a smoker or an alcoholic is also much higher than a person using THC.

Access to purified and well-tested drugs derived from marijuana would be a far better approach. One such drug, Sativex, is currently in Phase 3 trials in the United States for the relief of neuropathic pain. It is a combination of CBD and THC in a ratio that minimizes the appetite stimulation, drowsiness and anxiety induced by THC while magnifying painkilling and anti-tumor properties. (The Bulletin, 2014)

In conclusion the benefits of some form of legalization and use of medical marijuana would benefit the federal government, pharmaceuticals and patients.  The safer environment created by less drugs on the streets and the added benefit of the people receiving a better more natural treatment for their ailments and the resulting better quality of life.   The safer form of the drug that would be dispensed to the public since to would be grown in a controlled environment. There are just too many good points for the federal government to ignore the need for medical marijuana any longer.   Every American deserves the option to be able to choose the form of treatment that suites there life or life style.

Reference

Berkeleypatientscare.com. 1820. Berkeley Patients Care Collective | Juicing Raw Cannabis for Greater Health. [online] Available at: http://berkeleypatientscare.com/2010/09/18/juicing-raw-cannabis-for-greater-health/ [Accessed: 13 Feb 2014].

Deamuseum.org. 2014. Cannabis: History. [online] Available at: http://www.deamuseum.org/ccp/cannabis/history.html [Accessed: 09 Feb 2014].

Ellis, R. 2014. Smoked medicinal cannabis for neurop… [Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009] – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18688212 [Accessed: 13 Feb 2014].

Inc., G. (2011). Record-High 50% of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana Use. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.gallup.com/poll/150149/record-high-amreicans-favor-legalizing-marijuana.aspx [Accessed: 12 Feb 2014].

Justice.gov (2013). DEA.gov / Statistics & Facts. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.justice.gov/dea/resource-center/statistics.shtml [Accessed: 09 Feb 2014].

Marijuanaaddictiontreatmetn.org (n.d.). Untitled. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.marijuanaaddictiontreatmetn.org [Accessed: 11 Feb 2014].

Miron, J. (2005). the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition. [online] Retrieved from: www.prohibitioncosts.org [Accessed: 11 Feb 2014].

Smoking and Tobacco Use (1994). CDC – Health Effects – Smoking & Tobacco Use. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/health_effects/index.htm [Accessed: 09 Feb 2014].

The Bulletin. 2014. Medical marijuana’s evolving health benefits. [online] Available at:http://www.bendbulletin.com/news/1263377-151/medical-marijuanas-evolving-health-benefits#[Accessed: 15 Feb 2014].

 

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