Legalizing Medical Marijuana
University of Phoenix
April 13th, 2015
Marijuana is a drug that is originated from a hemp plant, or better known as, "cannabis sativa”. Marijuana, cannabis, has a variety of nicknames such as “weed”, “pot”, “grass”, and “herb” (Pedro, 2011). "The use of Cannabis in medicine was probably a very early development. Since ancient humans used hemp seed as food, it was quite natural for them to also discover the medicinal properties of the plant." (Li, 1974, p. 444). Throughout history there have been several examples of these discoveries. In ancient Egypt, hemp (cannabis) was used in the form of a suppository to relive the ...view middle of the document...
There are a multitude of diseases that medical marijuana could help to treat if it were to be legalized nationwide. The list includes, but is not limited to, AIDS, Hepatitis C, Glaucoma, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, and Tourette syndrome. AIDS, Hepatitis C, and Cancer patients would benefit from the use of cannabis as it has been shown to reduce nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite that is caused by the diseases themselves, as well as by the various medications prescribed for AIDS, Hepatitis C, and Cancer. Cannabis could benefit Glaucoma patients as it can reduce the intraocular pressure which helps in alleviating the pain. It has been shown to slow, and sometimes even stop, any damage done to the eyes. Since 2007, there have been three published clinical trials that have found that cannabis effectively relieves neuropathic pain. As for Multiple Sclerosis, legalization of cannabis can help to limit the muscle pain and spasticity that is most commonly caused by the disease, as well as relieving any tremor and unsteadiness of walking a patient may have. A 2007 review showed that cannabinoids have a potential therapeutic value in treating Tourette syndrome (TS). A 2009 review examined two controlled trials using cannabinoids for the treatment of tics or TS. Both studies reported a positive effect on tics (Kogan).
With there being several different diseases, and symptoms, that medical marijuana can help treat there are also several different ways that it can be administered and consumed. The most common method of consumption is, naturally, smoking. However, there are adverse effects from smoke inhalation, which makes it a less feasible option than that of oral, or topical, preparations (Curtis, 2009). Other methods include being applied as oils, eaten, baked into foods, made into skin cream to be applied topically, or drunk. Currently, there are two cannabinoid medicines that are available in pill form, Dronabinol and Nabilone. There are also liquid extracts that have been formulated into an oromucosal spray called Sativex (Tomlinson). Growing in popularity are cannabis vaporizers, as multiple studies have shown that they have the ability to expose the user to lower levels of harmful substances than that of smoking cannabis (2007). A study found that those patients who smoked cannabis had reduced daily pain by 34% (Barohn, 2013). Though there has been an impressive amount of research conducted on the benefits that cannabis has, and it is legal in 16 states, it is still illegal under US federal law (Clark, 2011). Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve a substance for medicinal use health insurance companies are unable to pay for a cannabis prescription. Therefore all expenses accrued while filling a cannabis prescription are out-of-pocket. In order for cannabis to be covered by health insurance companies the FDA must first allow the study of the medical benefits, and side effects, of the substance (Clark,...