Marijuana Legalization Essay, Research Paper
Should marijuana be legalized? There are many advantages to it that not many people know of. People don’t know the facts because marijuana is considered a “drug” and nobody wants to stand up for it. Other countries are already using hemp to make things that are normally made from something else. By using hemp instead of the other raw materials, we save our raw materials for other things. Hemp can be used to make clothes, paper, wallets, rope, and many other things that are normally made with our diminishing natural resources. Big names like Adidas and Calvin Klein are even developing new products that use hemp. People tend to think that only “stoners” would come up with the idea for marijuana legalization. What these people don’t know is that the hemp plant is very useful. The hemp is all they use. You can’t get “high” from smoking hemp. There’s no way to stop hemp farmers from harvesting the leaves and flowers (which do get people “high”), so that could turn out to be a problem. However, when you look at the big picture, I think that saving our natural resources is more important then some farmer getting “high” while he grows hemp.
Despite not hearing much of it in the mainstream media, marijuana is a hot subject. Former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich tried 6 different times to pass a bill to legalize marijuana. Studies have shown that alcohol is dangerous and has been a very important factor in countless deaths, yet you can go to the store and buy a case of beer, but not a pack of marijuana cigarettes. I have heard countless stories of people either dying of being hospitalized from drinking too much, but I have yet of a story about a person dying from smoking pot. Our own president even admitted to smoking pot and went on to say if given the chance, he’d probably do it again.
Despite all good things hemp could do for us, there is a darker side to legalizing it. Marijuana is commonly known as a “gateway drug.” It was given this name because that’s usually what people start out with, then move on to more dangerous drugs. Chronic marijuana users are said to develop an amotivational syndrome characterized by passivity, decreased motivation, and preoccupation with drug taking. The relationship of this syndrome to marijuana use, however, has not been established. There are also reports of marijuana causing minor brain damage over a long period of time, but no tests have been done to either prove of disprove this hypothesis.
People don’t talk about it too much, but marijuana also has medicinal properties. In a survey done in 1990, 44% of oncologists (doctors who treat cancer through Chemotherapy) have illegally recommended that their patients smoke marijuana to relieve their suffering. 54% of oncologists favored making marijuana a legal, prescription medicine. In cancer patients, the amount of marijuana needed to receive positive effects is less then that needed to get the feeling of being “high.” An oral THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) pill was developed for cancer patients, but in 6 out of 7 state studies, the pill was shown to be inferior to smoked marijuana for treating nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss.
Marijuana is also commonly used to ease chronic pain caused by a variety of injuries and ailments. Sir William Osler thought marijuana was the perfect remedy for a migraine headache. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria was told to smoke marijuana to treat menstrual cramps. Patients have reported that marijuana helps relieve pain. With the development of stronger opiates such as morphine, very little modern research has been done on the use of marijuana as a painkiller. Tests have shown marijuana to be as effective as codeine.
There are many other medical uses for smoked marijuana that have not been studied, or have not been adequately researched. Marijuana has been known to treat inflammatory diseases (arthritis, rheumatism etc,.), depression and mental illness (many schizophrenics need to be hospitalized unless they smoke marijuana). It has been shown to cause bronchodilation, which relieves asthma attacks. The first use Western culture found for marijuana was treating convulsions. It has also been used to treat epilepsy. In a survey of 308 epileptic patients, it was found that the use of smoked marijuana appeared to delay the first onset of complex partial seizures
In society today, discovering safe and effective ways to treat many different diseases is very important. As Americans, we are very health conscious and are constantly looking for ways to lengthen and improve our lives. As a very scientific country, we pay millions of people to discover these things for us. But, what if the medicine had been in use for thousands of years? What if it was both safe and effective? Marijuana has shown to be all of these, but still fails to be accepted as a medicine.