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Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana Essay Sample

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Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana Essay Sample

Introduction

Legalizing marijuana for specific illnesses such as cancer and HIV/depression is a controversial subject among people today. Authorities and many researchers have led to the belief that all use of marijuana is harmful. However, other reports from studies have claimed that the use of the cannabis for some particular reasons, like for a medical purpose is helpful. However, governments around the world have continued to fight its legalization. Marijuana, otherwise referred to as cannabis is a common kind of drug. It is a number of preparations of the plant that is utilized as a psychoactive drug. There are three known varieties of cannabis:  Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis (Newkirk, P. 63). Despite the fact that the drug is illegalized in many countries, according to the UN, it is the most commonly used illegal drug around the world. The move to make cannabis illegal was motivated by the absence of proof that the drug could be helpful in medical terms, as well as the directives from the UN supporting it ban in its member countries. There is an argument that the United States policy on marijuana was motivated by the pressure from petrochemical as well as the paper industries for fear of hemp as competition. Since the realization that the drug has some medical benefits for specific illness, there is more confusion on whether or not it should be legalized for the sake of the patients who require it (Baker, Pryce, Giovannoni and Thompson, P. 292).  The paper looks at the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana for specific illnesses or rather for medical reasons.

Pros

There are various hybrids of cannabis that can be successfully applied for medical purposes. Many studies have revealed successful use of cannabis for restricted medical and therapeutic uses. Studies have proven that cannabis suppresses nausea. Many have supported the use of marijuana for people with cancer having side effects from treatment. Administration of cannabis is also helpful with patients of HIV/AIDS experiencing nausea (Furler, et al.  P. 220). Cannabis and oral THC can also rouse appetite. This is beneficial for it is known to help people with cancer to gain weight. Cannabis can also increase the range of motion for people suffering from multiple sclerosis. Cannabis has also been argued to inhibit growth of cancer cells. In a recent study by The California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, the substance has been established to stop the ID-1 gene from enabling the multiplication and spreading of cancer cells Fogarty, et al. P 297). These are some of the ways through which the drug can be helpful with people suffering from various illnesses. This is advantageous since legalization of cannabis will come as a blessing to these patients. Most medical professionals are in support of legalization of medical cannabis for the sake of their patients who are in dire need of help. Some patients end up in a lot of suffering without pain relievers or a way of preventing nausea (Schwartz and Michael, P. 167.).

Legalization of cannabis will lessen the cases of marijuana-related arrests and incarcerations in US. More than 200,000 people are arrested and imprisoned each year for being in possession of cannabis. This is carried out as part of the country’s War on Drugs. Legalization of marijuana for medical purpose will decrease the number of cases that are regarded as illegal possession of drugs. This is because those allowed to use it will be acquiring and using it within the law. Legalization will also eliminate unlawful sale and trafficking of marijuana. Due to the fact that some states allow use of drugs when directed by the doctor, those that do not allow, acquire them illegally. Some patients strive to get cannabis regardless of the possible harm they expose themselves to as they require it for their wellbeing. Banning the sale and distribution of marijuana does not mean that people do not use. They still acquire them illegally risking their freedom and health. Legalization of the cannabis will protect thousands of dispensary and clinic operators and patients arrested annually by the federal government. Making the use of marijuana legal for medical purposes could bring more revenue to states and benefit the patients who are not able to benefit from it otherwise. This is because the production and distribution of it will be standardized (Zeese and William, P. 23).

There are people suffering because they cannot be able to acquire the cannabis through illegal means. Legalizing it will make it possible to control the quality, distribution and pricing. Without taking risks, the price for medical marijuana will be lower, enabling many patients to afford. The physicians will not supply them to their patients with fear of being arrested. This means that more patients will benefit through legal means. Legalization of cannabis would make it accessible to people who require it in a safe and healthy way. Some of the pharmaceutical companies are against legalization of medical marijuana because the move will build up competition and it will not be possible for them to profit from legal distribution. Despite the fact that it is illegal, some of them have monopolized the market, providing it to patients at very high prices (Wood, P. 3).

Some chemical elements of marijuana have been extracted and made into medicines through state-sponsored researches. Some of these prescription drugs include cannabinoids, like dronabinol and nabilone used as capsules or inhalants. The current legal perspective of marijuana contradicts allowing research and use of marijuana-related medicine. Illegalization of cannabis restricts researches that would help come up with more prescription drugs and treatment to help more people.  Legalizing the use of medical marijuana will open the door to more researches and treatments. It will be possible to explore all the possible ways by which cannabis can be used to benefit human life and with fewer risks. The argument that there is no proper evident to support its efficiency and applicability, could be as a resulted of limited research (Zeese and William, P. 23).

Cons

Regardless of the fact that the possibility of using marijuana for medical purposes is evident, there are ranging concerns regarding their safety, effectiveness, tolerability, production and application. Some of the opponents claim that there are only a few elements of cannabis that qualify for medical use and therefore smoking of it does necessarily have to be done. Researchers can continue to isolate the elements that qualify for medical use without necessitating the move to legalize a harmful drug. Legalization of the drug for whatever reason will benefit drug users and sellers more than the patients who are the rationale behind the move to legalize. Regardless of the fact that some supporters of legalization of the drug claim that the medical case is proven, the evidence for its effectiveness is not yet complete. This means that there is chance of the drug being legalized without fast proving its effectiveness in pain management and in particular diseases. This will equal to gambling with a substance that has been historically proven harmful to the body and brain of human beings. The most recent experimental data might have dampened commercial eagerness. Opponents have argued that helpfulness of cannabis is not yet ready for to start being applied in medical terms. This means that immediate legalization of cannabis before satisfactory evident is obtained will be dangerous to human life (Wood, P. 3).

Some studies have provided the proof that use of marijuana has harmful effects on the body and the brain. There are long time effects of the drugs that can be revealed long after the person has quit using the drug. Like all other illegal drugs, cannabis is a harmful substance, which should not be legalized for whatever reason. The opponents of legalization of cannabis argue that doctors have at their disposal other substances that have the same effects as marijuana and not harmful to the body and brain and that do not expose patients to severe side effects. Some researchers have also added that administration of marijuana to people who are already sick can complicate the disease or ad to its severity. This means that legalization of the drug will cause harm and no good to the sick (Hall and Solowij, P.12).

With cannabis being legal, patients using it can go overboard and get addicted which is dangerous. Just like all other psychoactive drugs, cannabis is addictive. If legalized, the drug can be easily available, which means that patients can acquire them even without consulting their physicians. This is risky because once someone has developed dependency on the drug there is no way of stopping. This means that the move will be detrimental to patients instead of being helpful. Additionally, some of the patients that are meant to benefit from cannabis are the terminally ill, for example the cancer and HIV/AIDS patients (Baker, Pryce, Giovannoni and Thompson, P. 295).

Once they start depending on the drug whether for pain or nausea means a possibility of continued use for the rest of their lives. They will be addicted and the only way of helping them will be subjecting them to more treatment and therapy. Instead of legalizing a drug that will cause addiction and hard to the patient, it is important for researchers to come up with less harmful alternatives. It does not help to add problems to a person who is already sick. There have been reports from studies of opportunistic fungal and bacterial pneumonia and other throat infections on patients of HIV/AIDS who use cannabis. These researchers argue that smoking of the substance either suppresses the immune system or exposes the victims to more pathogens. In short people with immune deficits as a result of HIV/AIDS, are expected to be in more danger to increased harm from the use of cannabis (Hall and Solowij, P.14).

Despite the fact some states have allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes, there is a legal limit to which this should be observed. With absolute legalization, it will not be possible to observe the legal limits, which is dangerous to the society. Once the government lifts the ban against the drug, drug addicts and traffickers will always find loopholes to make money and access drugs within the law.  The move to legalizing cannabis for medical purpose can be misleading to the youth and children. Some will find fun in using it since they have leant that it is medicine and something as good as medicine cannot be harmful. To rationalize legalization of the drug, some will argue that it is only legalized for medical use. The fact is that this will be opening a leeway for use even for reasons besides medical. Legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes may lead to law enforcers being reluctant. Once it is legal, the police might stop bothering with the tactful social use of the drug. With the drug being legal there will no longer be serious consequences for those who are arrested for marijuana-related crimes. As a result the police will not be so compelled to make such arrests (Richard, P.97).

Some other opponents, including Christians have questioned the move to legalize a harmful substance. This is as concerning the ethical argument of the issue. Marijuana is a drug that has caused harm to the society and giving people the leeway to it regardless of the reason is not right. Marijuana should remain illegal for it is unethical and against religious values to make it legal (Newkirk, P. 62).

Conclusion

There are various pros and cons of legalizing cannabis for medical purpose as discussed in the paper. One of the advantages of legalizing it is for the sake of the patients who require it. Researches have proven that cannabis is helpful for some illness and thus legalizing it will be beneficial to patients. Another advantage is lessening the cases of people arrested for marijuana-related cases. If it is legalized, medical experts who end up in prison for possession of the drug in pursuit of helping their patients would not have problems with the law. Legalization of marijuana will make it possible for patients to access it at affordable prices, as well as in safe and health circumstances. Legalizing it will create room for legal researches which will open up possibilities for more medicine and new treatments. Regardless of the pros there are a number of disadvantages of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. One of the cons is the ranging questions regarding their safety, effectiveness, tolerability, production and application. Another disadvantage is because there is proof that marijuana is harmful to the body and brain. Marijuana just like other drugs is addictive and should thus be kept away from patients, especially when it has to be smoked. Additionally, there are side effects of using cannabis on patients that should be avoided. Another con is that legalizing it will open up a loophole for others to abuse marijuana. The last con is concerning the ethical issues of the move to legalize a harmful drug.

Works cited:

Baker D, Pryce G, Giovannoni G, Thompson A.J. “The therapeutic potential of cannabis.”

Lancet Neurol 2: 2003: 291–98.

Fogarty, A., et al. “Marijuana as therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS: Social and health

aspects.” AIDS Care 19.2 2007: 295-301.

Furler, Michelle D., et al.  “Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana Use by Patients Infected with

HIV.” AIDS Patient Care & STDs Vol. 18 Issue 4, Apr 2004, p215-228,

Hall, W & Solowij, N. “Adverse effects of cannabis.” Lancet 352:16. 11–16, 1998.

Newkirk, Gary. “It’s Just a Weed.” Modern Medicine June 1999: 9.

Richard, Willing. “Justices doubtful about medical marijuana.” USA Today n.d

Schwartz, Richard H., and Michael, Sheridan, J. “Marijuana to prevent nausea and vomiting in

cancer patients: A survey of clinicaloncologists.” Southern Medical Journal 90.2 1997: 167.

Wood, Daniel B. “California to vote on legalizing `pot’ for medicinal use.” Christian Science

Monitor 19 Sept. 1996: 3.

Zeese, Kevin, and William Ruzzamenti. “Should marijuana be legalized formedical uses?.”

Health (Time Inc. Health) 7.7 1993: 23.

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