Although many individuals find medical marijuana illegal, and unnecessary, it is a natural herb used to help symptoms caused by chronic illnesses. Over three million Americans use medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is the most widely used drug used to treat chronic illnesses in seventeen states. The use of medical marijuana has been a controversial issue here in the United States. Although, there are healthcare professionals that do believe that the use of medical marijuana can be very beneficial for patients. Just as there are benefits associated with the use of medical marijuana there are also negative effects.
Many American are still unfamiliar with Medical Marijuana, so what is medical marijuana? Medical marijuana also known as “cannabis sativa”(Harold E Dowieko 2009) is a naturally growing plant that produces tetra-hydrocannabinol and cannabidiol.(Harold E Dowieko 2009) These chemicals are both thought to have possible effects on lessening the bad side effects from chronic diseases. Medical marijuana has been used for health reasons for centuries. Marijuana was a legal herb in the United States until 1937 when the United States passed a law making it illegal to sell. (Kring, Davinson, Naele & Johnson 2007)
Marijuana was then made legal for medicinal use in 1995. The state of California was the first state in the United States to make marijuana legal for medical purposes. Medicinal marijuana is now legal in seventeen states. These states include; “Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington state.” (“Thc.me History”, n.d.) In all of these state a patient can obtain a medical marijuana license, also referred to as a “green card,” from a licensed physician. Patients must have documentation stating what chronic illnesses they have that may require the need for medicinal marijuana. The physician will then decide if the use of marijuana will be beneficial.
Medical marijuana has been proven to benefit patients who have multiple illnesses. The most common uses for medical marijuana are; pain relief, loss of appetite, depression, and diseases such as AIDS and cancer. TCH has been proven to block pain receptors in the brain. The blockage of these pain receptors allows patients dealing with chronic pain to have some relief. Medicinal marijuana also stimulates appetite, and relieves symptoms associated with depression, AIDS and cancer. This enables patients to not have to rely on the use of prescription pain pills such opiods. Meidcal marijuana is also less addictive, and has less physical side effects than other prescription pain relievers.
Just as there are positive benefits associated with medical marijuana there are some health risks. First, marijuana is not regulated by the FDA. The FDA is the food and drug administration. They regulate medication and ensure the safety and risk associated with drugs. Without the FDA regulating medical marijuana there is no way for patients to know if they are getting correct information pertaining to the exact marijuana they are smoking, and if there may be additives or chemicals on the marijuana. This can be risky for patients, because marijuana comes in much different strength. The FDA has also found that dosing of medical marijuana is hard due to the effects taking around thirty minutes for patients to feel. The main health risk that medical marijuana has is psychological effects.
According to Kring, Davinson, Naele, and Johnson “ rapid shifts of emotion, to dull attention, to fragment thoughts, impair of memory, and sense that time is moving more slowly.” (Chapter 10) Kring, Davinson, Naele, and Johnson also stated “extremely heavy dosing has been found to induce hallucinations and other effects similar to those of LSD.” (Chapter 10)Another risk associated with medicinal cannabis is the harmful effect done to lungs.
There have been many studies done that look at the respiratory risk associated with regular marijuana use. In one study done with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey it concluded that the risk of respiratory illness does rise. Marijuana damages lungs just as smoke cigarettes. The last major health risk associated with medical marijuana is a lowered immune system. This can be very dangerous for patients that are dealing with cancer and AIDS. Since these patients already have very low immune systems because of their disease. Doctors prescribing medicinal marijuana must ensure that the benefits of marijuana use out ways the risks.
Although a controversial issue in the United States medical marijuana does have many potential health benefits for patients with chronic illnesses. Statistics now show that eight out of ten Americans support the use of medicinal marijuana. This is because previously I have stated through studies done; the benefits of medical marijuana outweigh the risks associated with medical marijuana use. With already seventeen states in the United States allowing the legalization of medical marijuana. It is fair to say medical marijuana can be very helpful for patients who need it. Currently there are more states in the process of trying to legalize medical marijuana. Some say eventually marijuana as a whole will be a legal substance in the United States. In years to come as Americans we will see how medical marijuana plays a role in the pharmaceutical and medical fields.
Moore, B., Auguston, E., & Moser, r. (2012, October). Respiratory Effects of Marijuana and Tobacco Use in a U.S. Sample
Bostwick, M. (2012, February Day). Blurred Boundaries: The Therapeutics and Politics of Medical Marijuana. , p. .
dowieko, h. E. (2009). Concepts of medical dependency (7th ed.). : cengage learning.
Kring, A. M., Davinson, G. G., Naele, J. M., &Johnson. S. L. (2007). Abnormal Psychology [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook]. :
John Wiley and Sons INC.. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, website.
THC.me History. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thc.me