Marijuana legalization for medicinal purposes is a highly controversial subject that is sure to heighten the interest of many. This topic has been on the horizon for many years and in the recent past that has brought various governing bodies to debate. There are ethical and moral challenges with the use of marijuana along with advantages that the use of this controversial drug brings. The medical industry is becoming one of its biggest advocates to make this drug legal. Marijuana, or as it is commonly referred to cannabis or hemp, has widely been known as a miracle drug to combat some very difficult diseases. It is also known as one of the largest illegal substances produced and sold worldwide. This naturally grown plant has an array of properties that contributes many benefiting factors to the patients it serves. Conversely, the benefits of marijuana, is not without negative effects when abused leading to other medical conditions such as mental and or physical disorders. Comparatively, there are other narcotic drugs that are legally prescribed having similar adverse side effects. Any drug considered for medical use should be fully investigated and understood prior to being released for public consumption and routinely prescribed with the full understanding all prescribed narcotic drugs are at risk of being abused and could ultimately lead to addiction. This research is to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use demonstrating how the different viewpoints generate business opportunities that can be extremely difficult to operate.
So many people suffer from chronic illnesses that are debilitating and can be devastating for them and their families to live with. It is extremely painful to watch a family member suffer through an illness and have no real quality of life. It is even more difficult when it is children who are struggling through a disease that has ravaged their tiny body. Every day we hear about cancer taking over someone’s life, some survive and some do not. Facebook is riddled with pictures of children’s pictures with no hair from chemotherapy asking for prayers from their family. Every year you have breast cancer awareness and every one buying anything that carries the pink bow to donate to breast cancer research. There are many more organizations looking for donations to fund research for several types of critical illnesses that have taken the life of their family member or who may be suffering from it today. We are always looking for that miracle drug that can cure, mitigate, or slow down a disease that is hurting our loved ones. When I read about the studies and hear eye witness accounts from others how medical marijuana has helped make their pain and suffering more tolerable and possibly alleviated their pain and suffering, I wonder why we do not have that drug as an option. I believe this study will give me additional knowledge and understanding into the pros and cons of medical marijuana so if given the opportunity, I can make an informed decision when it is my turn
Cannabis (marijuana) is a drug that has become one of the biggest topics in the history of politics. Marijuana has been known throughout history to have beneficial chemicals to help relieve pain by its reaction on the brain. So for many years different cultures used this plant as a medicine. As of today this drug is classified as a schedule I drug, this is the same category as heroine and means it has no medicinal value. Does this drug actually pose a threat or does this drug provide a natural resource to help as a medicinal substance? Purpose
The federal government does not recognize the medicinal agent (THC) Tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana as an accepted form of medical treatment. This despite the fact science and history has proven this drug is suggested to be used for this very purpose. “The use of marijuana as a medicinal agent available to individuals suffering from pain, glaucoma, wasting syndromes associated with HIV and AIDS, nausea from chemotherapy, and a host of other medical conditions and symptoms has become more widely accepted” (Simoni-Wistilla and Palumbo, 2013, p. 59).
“Users consider prescription pills more acceptable than illegal drugs bought on the street or from known dealers because they assume that prescription pills are safer.” (Lamonica and Boeri, 2012, pg. 161) Hypothesis
I believe the data in this report will reveal patients and healthcare professionals support the legalization of medical marijuana. I think we will discover in this study despite the controversy science and personal experiences show the benefits medical marijuana can have when administered appropriately. Study Delimitations
For this study, the researcher will have direction over:
1. The number of questions on the survey
2. The types of questions on the survey
3. The collection of the information via Survey Monkey
4. Charting the information
5. Participant selection
Limitations of the Study
For this study, the researcher will not have direction over: 1. How many respondents will actually participate in the survey 2. See the participants name with their answers – answers are anonymous 3. How honest the participants are when answering the survey 4. Convenience of the survey to the participant
5. No face to face interaction with the participants
Review of Related Literature
Cannabis (Marijuana) History
Cannabis which is Greek for Hemp is a plant native to South Asia made up of wood stems and flowers and has been used in many forms for thousands of years. Located among the flowers and leaves of the female plant is where you will find the medicinal properties (Wright, 2011). “Before the discovery of silks and cotton, clothing made from hemp was commonplace throughout south and central Asia.” (Wright, 2011, p. 460) Cannabis was known to be utilized in food, paper, fuel materials, and most importantly medicine. “Currently, in England, there is a growing interest for development of plaster, flooring, bricks and wood or metal framed walls with composite materials made of hemp hurds, embedded in specially designed ceramic matrix based on lime.” (Gherghisan and Cismaru, 2013, p. 62) Politics and Cannabis (Marijuana)
There are now 19 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized the use of medical marijuana. More and more states are beginning to accept the medicinal purposes of this drug for their communities. Studies support the medicinal functionality of marijuana’s compound when dispensed appropriately. Cannabis did not become illegal until the early 1900’s with the marijuana prohibition in America and in 1913 California made it illegal. Marijuana was associated with racism and anti-immigration that influenced
the prohibition and started public panic regarding the safety and protection of their youth (White and Holman, 2012). “At the federal level in 1937, the primary concern utilized to justify marijuana prohibition via The Marihuana Tax Act was prejudice directed at Mexican immigrants in the Southwest. By the time the federal government outlawed marijuana in 1937, nearly every State had adopted similar legislation (White, 2004).” (as cited in White and Holman, 2012, p.78) Harry Anslinger was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and began a war on drugs, specifically “marihuana”. Anslinger claimed this drug would cause typically honest people to begin to commit violent crimes and corrupt the youth. He succeeded in convincing people everywhere this drug was extremely harmful and should not be legal for public sale or consumption. All of this was done without any scientific backing or public debate (White and Holman, 2012). Medical Marijuana Benefits
According to a survey conducted with hospice health care professionals, 90% agreed on legalizing marijuana (Uritsky, McPhearson, and Pradel, 2011). The information was formulated by witnessing the effects from the patients themselves (Uritsky, McPhearson, and Pradel, 2011). It is determined cannabis (marijuana) is showing potential in therapeutic measures for diseases such as parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and others (Bottorff, Bissell, Balneaves, Oliffe, kang, Capler, and O’Brien, 2011). Other benefits have been reported by patients suffering from chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS or cancer as a relief from symptoms of nausea, pain, anxiety, or depression (Bottorff, Bissell, Balneaves, Oliffe, kang, Capler, and O’Brien, 2011). Today cannabis is used in the medical industry for patients who may suffer from cancer, seizures, migraines, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, among others. “Early writings of the Emperor Shen Nung spoke of the plant being used to treat a number of medical problems such as rheumatism, gynaecological conditions, malaria and, ironically given its effects on the brain, absentmindedness.” (Wright, 2011, p. 460) There are negative aspects of the drug that need to be considered and the more common is the risk of dependency with regular everyday use. “Over four million Americans meet criteria for marijuana use disorders, and one million Americans received treatment for marijuana use in 2010 (Substance Abuse
& Mental Health Services Administration, 2011)” (as cited in Peters, Petry, LaPaglia, Reynolds, and Carroll, 2013, p. 46). Considering the risks of dependency regulations should be in place just as they are with the approved medications that have the same risks. Summary
As we progressed over the years so have our technology, knowledge and scientific studies. We know more today than we did ten or twenty years ago and still we manage to discover more ourselves and our environment. There have been great strides in finding cures for diseases and healthier natural resources to mitigate our pain and suffering. Cannabis has been around for centuries and known for its natural therapeutic properties. Several states have established regulations and removed the illegal penalties for patient’s prescribed medical marijuana. The polls are proving more Americans no longer oppose the use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s authorization. However, today other than federally approved research, medical marijuana continues to be a crime under federal law. Science is proving this drug may not be as harmful as previously suspected safe for human consumption for medical treatment. These studies however, are not met without resistance, there are still many who feel marijuana is harmful and have no beneficial factors to justify its legalization. As scientific evidence develops more data will be readily available to demonstrate the promising advances marijuana can bring to the medical community.
The purpose of this research is to query the opinions of healthcare professionals and current or prospective users of medical marijuana. This research will be done via the internet to reach multiple states in order acquire the appropriate data.
The collection of this information will be provided specifically through an online survey sponsored by survey monkey. This provider offers a free and anonymous service to their members. The individuals participating in this survey will be associates of mine that I know through friends, family,
and/or co-workers. The participants will be told their responses will be anonymous to protect their privacy. Once each individual has agreed to participate in the survey and they will provide their email to me in order to receive the link for the survey. Participants
I will explain my interest in the study and the importance behind their opinion on the subject matter. It will be important and beneficial to allow each person to fully understand the purpose behind the survey and how these results will be reviewed. The individuals will receive an email with a link to the survey site and the steps explaining how to navigate through the survey with a reminder the survey will be anonymous. Contact information will also be provided if additional assistance is needed. The participants will be asked to complete the survey within three days due to the urgency of the study.
The last day of the survey a reminder email will be sent reminding the participants the deadline for the survey is due. This email will include the survey link and contact information. Data Collection and Instruments
Information will be collected via the website survey monkey from the internet. Participants will be sent an email from survey monkey with information about the survey and instructions. There will be five questions for the patient questionnaire and five questions for the healthcare professional questionnaire. The survey will be open for three consecutive days before updates and changes will no longer be accepted. Each question has three selections and only one can be made. This will make data collection much easier to calculate and chart with better accuracy. The questions were separated by patients and healthcare professionals so we could gather information from two different perspectives. This helps eliminate some of the bias in the research. Survey monkey will track all responses and will give me the option of how I want the data to be charted. After the survey is complete I will review the summary and download the data provided by survey monkey to conclude my research. Survey Design
Survey monkey will be the resource website used as the survey engine for the participants. There will be a total of ten questions, five will be from a patient’s perspective and five from a healthcare professional’s perspective. The patient’s survey questions will relate to their own personal experience with medical marijuana and their opinion about the legalization. The healthcare professional’s survey will relate to their experiences with patients using medical marijuana and their own opinions regarding legalization. The survey completes with a thank you notification.
Below you will see in figure 1 the results from the survey that represents the opinions of the patients regarding the legalization of medical marijuana. Figure 1
Does the patient feel medical marijuana should be legalized?
The table reveals 83.33% of the patients believe under regulated guidelines medical marijuana should be legalized and prescribed by a physician. Still there are 16.67% of those patients that are unsure of the benefit of legalizing marijuana. Some of the undecided patients did however say they had seen medical marijuana produce results in those that had been prescribed the drug.
Does the healthcare professional feel medical marijuana should be legalized?
Below in Figure 2 you will find the results based on the question raised to healthcare professionals regarding their view on legalizing medical marijuana.
This data represents 60% of the respondents felt favorably towards the legalization of medical marijuana, as opposed to 40% that were still not sure. Further data revealed those that were not quite sure did however felt they did see health benefits from the drug.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
The research provided was intended to distinguish whether medical marijuana should become legalized as a therapeutic treatment. The survey was administered to a select group of participants that consisted of medical professionals and persons who may benefit or may know someone who may benefit from the use of medical marijuana. Participants were located in states that legalized marijuana and some that do not. The participants were given a series of questions in reference to their opinions on legalizing medical marijuana. At the end of the survey deadline the results were gathered, analyzed and charted. Conclusions
In conclusion it was established 83.33% of the patients’ and 60% of the healthcare professionals’ favored legalizing medical marijuana. However, 16.67% of the patients’, and 40% of the healthcare professionals were still undecided. Recommendations
It is my recommendation to continue to monitor the scientific community and studies to further evaluate the data provided in regards to the therapeutic properties of medical marijuana. Staying informed on new developments and breakthroughs can assist in making an educated decision when in the position of voting to legalize medical marijuana.
Participants will be given a link and directed to the survey monkey website online.
1. Does your state currently legalize medical marijuana?
2. Have you or anyone you have known ever used or been prescribed medical marijuana? d. ___Yes
3. If yes to the previous question (2), did it produce positive results? g. ___Yes
4. Do you believe medical marijuana should be prescribed to adolescents if critically ill or if recommended by a specialist? j. ___Yes
Participants will be given a link and directed to the survey monkey website online.
Healthcare Professional Questionnaire
1. Do you see health benefits with the use of medical marijuana? a. ___Yes
2. Would you recommend medical marijuana to patients?
3. Would you recommend medical marijuana to your adolescent patients if critically ill? g. ___Yes
4. Do you believe medical marijuana should be FDA approved? j. ___Yes
Cover Letter – Via Email
Bottorff, J. L., Bissell, L. L., Balneaves, L. G., Oliffe, J. L., Kang, H. K., Capler, N., & … O”Brien, R. K. (2011). Health Effects of Using
Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes: A Gender Analysis of Users” Perspectives. Substance Use & Misuse, 46(6), 769-780. GHERGHIŞAN, M., & CISMARU, I. (2013). PRELIMINARY RESEARCH CONCERNING OPTIMAL PERCENTAGE OF HEMP HURDS FOR LINING PANELS AND FILLER MATERIALS IN BUILDINGS. Pro Ligno, 9(1), 61-70. Lamonica, A. K., & Boeri, M. (2012). AN EXPLORATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE USE OF METHAMPHETAMINE AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. Journal Of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research, 6(3), 160-174. Peters, E. N., Petry, N. M., LaPaglia, D. M., Reynolds, B., & Carroll, K. M. (2013). Delay discounting in adults receiving treatment for marijuana dependence. Experimental And Clinical Psychopharmacology, 21(1), 46-54. doi:10.1037/a0030943 SIMONI-WASTILA, L., & PALUMBO, F. (2013). MEDICAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION: WHAT WE KNOW– AND DON’T. Journal Of Health Care Law & Policy, 16(1), 59-75. Uritsky, T. J., McPherson, M., & Pradel, F. (2011). Assessment of Hospice Health Professionals’ Knowledge, Views, and Experience with Medical Marijuana. Journal Of Palliative Medicine, 14(12), 1291-1295. doi:10.1089/jpm.2011.0113 White, K., & Holman, M. R. (2012). MARIJUANA PROHIBITION IN CALIFORNIA: RACIAL PREJUDICE AND SELECTIVE-ARRESTS. Race, Gender & Class, 19(3/4), 75-92. Wright, J. (2011). A history of Cannabis, from ‘marijuana’ to ‘dope’. British Journal Of School Nursing, 6(9), 460-461.