The issue of completely legalizing Medicinal Marijuana is on-going in the United States. Some people say Medicinal Marijuana causes health problems, is an addicting gateway drug and legalizing it is not the best economical decision. Others say that Medicinal Marijuana helps aid with many health issues, is not an addicting drug and the legalizing of the substance is the best economical decision. Because the studies available support that Medicinal Marijuana has a lot of medicinal potential and value laws should be changed to allow the drug to be accessible legally.
Medicinal Marijuana: Should We Have It Legalized? What is Medicinal Marijuana? Should we have it legalized? Medicinal Marijuana is marijuana with properties to relieve pain and improve the life of those who are affected by certain diseases. According to, Webley’s Brief History article, marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for as long as civilization has been in existence; just over 4000 years ago it was used by the Egyptians to treat sore eyes! 1000 years later in India, doctors were found mixing the substance with milk to use as an anesthetic. In 200 B.C. the Greeks were using it to remedy earaches.
By the 19th century Marijuana was praised by medical journals for its effectiveness. Marijuana was made an illegal substance in America in 1937 with the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act. The Bill was passed on the sole ground that marijuana was deleterious to the Nation and in 1970 it was labeled a Schedule 1 drug right next to Heroin (2010). Although many people may feel Medicinal Marijuana causes health problems, it is an addictive gateway drug and legalizing is not the best economical decision. The substance should be legalized for medicinal purposes because it is an alternative to prescription drugs and destructive therapies. It is the best decision economically and is not an addictive gateway drug. Health Problems
The media gives the public the impression that Medicinal Marijuana has no medical value and is harmful to one’s health. This is because the method of consumption is by smoking and smoking is notoriously harmful to the human body. This is true; according to the National Cancer Institute Facts Sheet. Smoking harms almost every organ in the body and diminishes overall health. It is also a contributing factor to cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat, cervix and kidneys as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Smoking also causes heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma which can all be fatal (2011).
However, smoking is not the sole way of administering the drug. To the contrary, Medicinal Marijuana can be consumed in various ways. Medicinal Marijuana can be used via a vaporizer which extracts the essential compounds (THC) that can be inhaled to medicate. It can also be broken down into highly concentrated butters and oils which in turn can be used to replace regular butters and oils in foods that require the use of oil or butter; this is yet, another way to medicate.
This provides a whole new aspect on how the drug can be used for medicinal purposes. In fact according to Reinarman, Medicinal Marijuana helps fight diseases such as Brain cancer, HIV/AIDS, Glaucoma, Breast Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease (2012). Medicinal Marijuana is also an alternative to prescription pills and destructive therapies often recommended by doctors as treatment for diseases. This is because those treatment methods have side effects which are absolutely undesired by patients. Oftentimes, Medicinal Marijuana provides the same relief / healing ability than that of therapy or prescription pills. Also, it is almost impossible to overdose on the substance and it has very few side effects. Best Economic Decision
Many believe that legalizing Medicinal Marijuana is not the best decision economically because it would have catastrophic effects on the nation. They believe that if Marijuana is legalized it would only aid in the creation of a large black market. A large percentage of the nation also feels that the current policies of the United States are working very well and has contributed to the reduction in the rate of Marijuana use in the nation. According to DuPont (2010), “the cost of legalizing marijuana would not only be financial. New marijuana users would not be limited to adults if marijuana were to be legalized, just as regulations on alcohol and tobacco do no prevent use by youth”.
However, legalizing Medicinal Marijuana could in fact be the best decision economically for several reasons. The Government of the United States of America could save billions of dollars on Marijuana enforcement cost; huge prison cost savings and increase tax revenue by legalizing the substance. Armentano states, that currently inmates incarcerated for marijuana crimes are costing U.S. prisons upwards of 1 billion dollars annually (2007). Also, according to Hardy (2007), “The U.S. marijuana trade is a $113 billion annual business that costs taxpayers $41.8 billion in enforcement costs and lost tax revenues annually.” Hardy also states that private studies done by the infamous High Times Magazine has determined that some 25 million Americans consume an estimated 31 million pounds of marijuana produced each year. This is money that can be tapped into and used to improve the nation with more and better schools, hospitals and even promote new businesses which in turn, provide more jobs. Simple regulations can create numerous opportunities and provide a safe environment for patients to purchase their medication. Addicting Gateway Drug
Some people in America believe that Medicinal Marijuana is nothing more than an addictive gateway drug. They feel that by using Marijuana that it will persuade and encourage people to experiment with stronger drugs. In fact, this may be true! According to the Foundation for a Drug Free World (2012), “Because of tolerance build ups, Marijuana can lead users to consume stronger drugs to achieve the same high. When the effects start to wear off, the person may turn to more potent drugs to rid themselves of the unwanted conditions that cause them to take Marijuana in the first place. Marijuana itself does not lead the person to other drugs; people take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings.”
However Medicinal Marijuana is just as addictive as alcohol and cigarettes which are both completely legal. To become addicted one must have an addictive personality which is a psychological disorder. Smoking Marijuana can lead to an addiction to the substance in some people but, not everyone who uses the drug becomes addicted. According to Szalavitz’s article, Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders characterized marijuana succinctly on CNN recently, while declaring her support for legalization: “Marijuana is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway (2011).”
Conclusion Legalizing marijuana is a highly debated subject. Whether it is legalized for medicinal purposes or not, marijuana will still be around as it has been for thousands of years. It was used by our presidents, by our enemies, and even our families. Although many people may feel Medicinal Marijuana causes health problems, it is addictive gateway drugs and legalizing is not the best economical decision; the substance should be legalized for medicinal purposes because it is an alternative to prescription drugs and destructive therapies. It is the best decision economically and is not an addictive gateway drug.