Medical used of Marijuana ranks among the unique and controversial issue in today’s world. The argue usually centers around two groups; those who support that marijuana is for medical used (pros); and those who don’t support that marijuana is for medical used (cons). Marijuana is a prepared mixture of the dried, flowering tops, leaves, and stems of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (Milhorn, 1994). Proprietary Cannabis extracts containing a mixture of cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids are currently being developed and tested (McPartland, 1999).
Cannabis has become one of the most widespread and diversified of plants (Grinspoon, 1993). Cultivated and grown wild throughout the world in temperate and tropical areas, the leafy cannabis plant grows for one season, dies, and then reproduces through its seed. Many research findings have ambiguous results on marijuana for medical used. This paper helps the reader to have deeper understanding of marijuana in terms of medical used. It provides grounds for pros and cons for medical used of marijuana. As my opinion, I support marijuana is for medical public used.
PROS to Marijuana for Medical Use Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man,’ stated Frances Young, chief administrative law judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration (Chilcutt, 2000). Opponents claim there is no thorough scientific or medical research to support the medical use of marijuana. This is disingenuous. In a 1999 study sponsored by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Institute of Medicine concluded that ‘marijuana is an effective treatment and is neither addictive nor a gateway drug.
‘ Scientists like of pharmaceutical companies that develop and distribute ‘orphan drugs’ for rare diseases have diligently studied and supported the use of medical marijuana for the sick and debilitated. Marijuana is relatively safer than alcohol in terms of its drug effects on the human individual and society. It is a “tamed” drug, and does not cause a hundred thousand deaths each year as alcohol and does not result in cirrhosis of the liver, “marijuanaism,” or numerous other health problems related to alcohol abuse. The dramatic change of view is the result of clinical experience.
Doctors and nurses have seen that for many patients cannabis is more useful, less toxic, and less expensive than the conventional medicines prescribed for diverse syndromes and symptoms, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, migraine headaches, severe nausea and vomiting, convulsive disorders, the AIDS wasting syndrome, chronic pain, and many others (Grinspoon, 2003). Good Effects Marijuana The hazards used of marijuana have been somewhat controversial and ambiguous, because many of the early adverse reactions were studied using an animal model, rather than a human one.
But now, the effects of marijuana on humans are more clearly known, due to extensive research. The scientific community is certain that marijuana reduces coordination; slows reflexes; interferes with the ability to measure distance, speed, and time; and tends to disrupt concentration and short-term memory. Further, the cancer risks associated with smoking marijuana are recognized as being as great as those related to tobacco smoking. Once consider a relatively mild and harmless euphoriant, marijuana is recognized as having a serious potential impact on social functioning and especially on physical health.
Moreover, long-term heavy use has often been related to the subsequent abuse of other illegal drugs. Consequently, marijuana is often called a “gateway” drug because its frequent use has been the single best predictor of eventual cocaine use during adolescence. Medical Uses of Marijuana For thousands of years, people have used marijuana for numerous medical purposes. It is probable that the ancient Chinese first employed the cannabis plant as a therapy; other cultures throughout history have followed.
In the United States, until the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 classified marijuana as an illegal narcotic and made the prescription of cannabis products difficult, marijuana was contained in nearly thirty medical products. As a pharmaceutical product, marijuana also fell into disfavor with the introduction of new, faster-acting, and dose-controlled synthetic drugs. Modern scientific study of cannabis as a healing agent did not begin until the nineteenth century, but continued despite controversy until the early 1900s, when serious investigation of marijuana’s therapeutic value was abandoned.
Research was not resumed until cannabis and its derivatives emerged in the 1960s as popular, though illegal, “recreational” drugs. Synthetic THC In 1965, THC was synthesized and later proven to be the major psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. Then in 1985 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a version of this synthetic THC, called dronabinol. Marketed under the trade name Marinol, this synthetic THC was approved as a Schedule II controlled substance and prescription drug for relieving nausea accompanying cancer chemotherapy (Parker, 1994).
More recently, Marinol has also been designated an “orphan drug” by the FDA for use as a medication to stimulate appetite in AIDS patients, who often experience a severe loss of weight (Synthetic THC, 1991). Therapeutic Value When smoked, given intravenously, or taken orally, cannabis, THC, and other cannabinoid derivatives appear to have definite therapeutic effects for a number of disorders, including glaucoma, nausea and vomiting, asthma, epilepsy, muscle spasticity, anxiety, depression, pain, reduced appetite, and withdrawal from alcohol and narcotics.
One of marijuana’s greatest therapeutic advantages is its safety factor. There is no known case of lethal overdose. Marijuana is also less addictive than many drugs used as muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics (Bakalar, 2005). Moreover cannabis has been found to exert its beneficial effects through mechanisms differing from those of other drugs. As a consequence, it is possible that some patients not helped by conventional therapies could be treated successfully with marijuana.
Additionally, cannabis might be combined effectively and safely with other drugs to produce a treatment goal, but with each drug used at a much lower dose than would be required if either were used alone. Glaucoma The leading cause of blindness is glaucoma, a disease characterized by increased pressure within the eye. This pressure damages the optic nerve and leads eventually to loss of vision. Cannabis, THC, and other cannabinoid derivatives have been found to reduce the vision-threatening intraocular pressure of glaucoma.
Chemotherapy-Caused Nausea and Vomiting One of the more promising clinical uses of marijuana has been in the treatment of extreme nausea for patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy, the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Cancer chemotherapy can produce increased survival in patients with certain cancers, so the nausea and vomiting that interfere with a person’s willingness to continue therapy, in effect, become life-threatening side effects. THC and other cannabis derivatives have been proven effective in controlling these undesirable symptoms and are considered to be antiemetics substances that tend to prevent nausea and vomiting.
Additional Medical Uses Several actions of marijuana and its derivatives are presently being investigated for possible therapeutic applications. These are: Appetite stimulant, social users often report that smoking marijuana increases the appetite. Research suggests that there may well be a stimulating influence on food intake in advanced cancer patients who use marijuana as an antiemetic in conjunction with chemotherapy. Such an effect tends to overcome or reduce the severity of debilitating weight loss in such patients and in those with AIDS-related weight loss.
Anticonvulsant action, human studies confirm results of animal research suggesting that specific components of marijuanacannabinol and cannabidiolprotect against minimal and maximal seizures characteristic of epilepsy. Antiasthmatic effect, the long-term smoking of concentrated marijuana produces a constriction or obstruction of the airways. However, oral intake of THC has actually produced a bronchodilation effect in healthy individuals and in patients with bronchial asthma.
Cannabinoid compounds, such as cannabinol and cannabidiol, do not produce psychological effects or alterations in heart function commonly seen with marijuana. Therefore, these two compounds are potentially useful for their airway-expanding effect in the treatment of asthma. Muscle-relaxant action, limited studies suggest that THC is effective in relieving the muscle spasms or spasticity common in patients with multiple sclerosis. Marijuana was also, recommended for malaria, constipation, rheumatic pains, absentmindedness, and female disorders.
Another Chinese herbal recommended a mixture of hemp, resin, and wine as an analgesic during surgery. In India cannabis has been recommended to quicken the mind, lower fevers, induce sleep, cure dysentery, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, relieve headaches, and cure venereal disease. Also, in Africa it was used for dysentery, malaria, and other fevers (Bakalar, 1993). CONS to Marijuana for Medical Use Many in the medical profession oppose the use of marijuana as medicine, because the drug affects so many organ systems of the human body.
Marijuana produces undesirable physical and unacceptable psychological side effects including panic and anxiety. As a consequence, marijuana is really not for medical treatment. According to prominent drug-abuse experts, there is no convincing evidence for that marijuana smoking leads to use of other the illicit psychoactive drugs (Bakalar, 2005). Moreover, in each instance of proposed therapy, other drugs are more consistently effective and have fewer side effects than marijuana.
Marijuana plants contain a variable mix of biologically active compounds and cannot be expected to provide a precisely defined drug effect. “(Watson, 1999) “Marijuana doesn’t help cure any rare sicknesses or diseases (The Post-Standard, 1999). Using marijuana presents a clear danger, especially because the potency of the THC content in the 1990s is several times greater than the THC content of samples available in the 1960s and 1970s. Some chronic marijuana users have developed serious lung disease because there are more cancer-causing agents in marijuana smoke than in tobacco cigarette smoke.
We know that marijuana can interfere with the body’s immune response to various infections and diseases. Even small doses of pot can impair short-term memory function, distort perception, interfere with concentration, and degrade motor skills. Furthermore, long-term marijuana likely causes brain damage and changes in the brain similar to those that occur in aging. Such evidence of harmful consequences of use hardly justifies giving marijuana legal status. It may prove to be more dangerous in the years ahead. Also, Marijuana should not and never be used in women pregnancy.
Marijuana use during pregnancy has been associated to have low birth weight in the baby and withdrawal-like symptoms including extreme crying, tremors, hyperemesis (severe and chronic vomiting). Maternal marijuana use may also damage genes, possibly resulting in birth defects or cancer and lead to increased risk of attention disorders and learning problems later in life. It also can lead to have harmful effect on placental function and the fetal endocrine system that potentially interfering with the successful completion of pregnancy (Mccarthy, 2004).
Marijuana has short-term and long-term effect on the body. Example of short-term effect includes; problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor coordination, increased heart rate, and anxiety. Apparently causes of marijuana users to gravitate toward jobs that require less mental ability (Ritter, 1987). Also, the long-term effect includes; cancer-causing compounds as tobacco and sometimes in higher concentrations. Moreover, research has failed to find marijuana useful in treating alcoholism.
Moreover, there is no evidence that cannabis is likely to be more effective than currently available treatments for opiate withdrawal. While marijuana has not been determined to be superior to any existing treatment for any of the conditions identified, the therapeutic potential of cannabis and its derivatives merits continued research. CONCLUSION Our society should allow marijuana for medical used especially when it concerns with the health of the body. Medical marijuana is proven to treat diseases and body disorders that cannot be treated by other drugs.
Seriously and terminally ill patients should be given the option of medical marijuana use. The community must recognize the ethical dilemmas born of the inherent conflicts of interest between compassionate medical treatment and government drug laws. Further, both physicians and patients must be free to choose effective medical treatments without the misguided interventions of the state. We must support marijuana for medical used especially if it is to reduce the pain and suffering of people with medically diagnosed conditions. Thus, using marijuana for medical treatment brings benefits to the public.
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