Paper Example on Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Purposes

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Wesleyan University
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United States, classifies marijuana as Schedule I drug. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) indicates that it lacks acknowledged medical use as a drug (Clark, Capuzzi & Fick, 2011). Despite the advances in research showing that marijuana has a medicinal advantage in effective control of non-cancer pain, vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and alleviating nausea among others, still physicians cannot prescribe it to suffering patients in most of the states in the USA. However currently, 29 states in the USA have legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes ("29 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC", n.d.). There has been a lot of debate concerning the legalization of Cannabis sativa in the remaining states, but opponents say that marijuana has some adverse effects including rapid heartbeat, loss of coordination, anxiety, mood disorders and addiction. The adverse effects of marijuana to the health of the patient is of concern, and therefore marijuana should not be legalized for medical purposes.

First, it is hard to establish the actual dosage in smoked marijuana because the active component, THC, varies depending on the plant were obtained and factors such as how it was grown. Consequently, adulterants including fertilisers and pesticides can affect the purity of THC in marijuana. Currently, in the U.S, THC concentration in sold marijuana in the states that have legalised its use for medicinal purposes range from about 1% to 4%, but there has been uncertainty concerning the accuracy of the dosage in prescribing marijuana to patients (Clark, Capuzzi & Fick, 2011). There have been claims that the amount can sometimes reach 7% putting into question the effectiveness of administration of cannabis. It raises the dilemma of prescribing such a dosage and be sure that its effect will relieve the suffering of a patient for a specified duration of time. Sometimes not all the marijuana available have the same component of THC, and this is one area that hinders the effective use of marijuana as a medicinal substance. It is therefore difficult to form a medical plan for patients suffering various problems associated with marijuana as a remedy.

Secondly, of marijuana can result in dependence on the patients on it. According to Clark, Capuzzi & Fick (2011), observational studies conducted showed that about one out of nine individuals who use marijuana develop dependence particularly when smoked for a considerable duration of time. The main component in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is attributed to causing addiction (Cooper & Haney, 2009). THC acts at the cannabinoid CB1 receptor producing a broad range of biological and behavioral behaviors (Cooper & Haney, 2009). Smoking marijuana for medical purposes especially for smokers exposes them to high levels of THC and has been seen to increase the physiological dependence. Furthermore, a continuous use of cannabis can result in a withdrawal syndrome. The withdrawal syndrome resulting from a stop in using marijuana comprises symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, disrupted sleep and cannabis craving. In alleviating this symptom, research has shown that smoking marijuana is the only option proving its dependence (Cooper & Haney, 2009). A drug is supposed to help patients and solve the health problems without much side effects if any. But for a drug that can result in addiction and dependence, this can result in another problem such as withdrawal syndrome proving its failure.

The further medical risk associated with the use of marijuana is some of the non-conclusive studies which have found that continued use of marijuana enhances suppression of macrophages and T-lymphocytes due to the THC component (Clark, Capuzzi & Fick, 2011). These two elements are essential in the immune system of the body and especially for AIDs patients using this as a form medication can affect their immunity and even weaken their response against HIV due to reduced immunity. For smoked marijuana, like tobacco, it still has some toxins and other foreign particles which can cause inflammation in the lining of the lungs reducing the alveolar macrophages (Clark, Capuzzi & Fick, 2011). When the alveolar macrophages are compromised, the patients immune system is at stake and especially for AIDs patients whose immune system might be already compromised; this can pose a significant risk for opportunistic infections such as pneumonia and Kaposis sarcoma. It, therefore, follows that even if marijuana is used as a medicine, AIDs patients will be discriminated against since its effect on their immune system could be devastating.

Finally, marijuana should not be legalized for use as a medical drug since its effectiveness is not well known. There is need to do further research to establish the content of THC in smoked marijuana rather than hypothesizing on its use. Furthermore, at the moment marijuana use as a medicinal drug has more adverse effects including physiological dependence, loss of coordination, and anxiety. Also, there is need to control the way the Cannabis sativa plant is grown if the governments want to use it for medicinal purposes. It has been shown that the way it is grown matters a lot to the composition of the active component THC in the marijuana. Medical marijuana can be an essential pathway to help physicians confront particular health problems and help patients but only if, its use does not increase further issues and that can only be achieved through new research.



29 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC. Retrieved 29 October 2017, from

Clark, P., Capuzzi, K., & Fick, C. (2011). Medical marijuana: Medical necessity versus political agenda. Medical Science Monitor, 17(12), RA249-RA261.

Cooper, Z., & Haney, M. (2009). Actions of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis: Relation to use, abuse, dependence. International Review Of Psychiatry, 21(2), 104-112.


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