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Why medical marijuana should be legalized

This essay is going to address the case for the legalization of medical marijuana by dispelling the reasons given by those in the
case against the legalization of marijuana. This will be done by sifting through and evaluating the arguments for and against
medical marijuana and drawing logical conclusions. This paper is cited in MLA 7 format.
In 1972, marijuana was placed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and
made completely illegal by the United States Congress, making growing, distribution and use illegal
because they considered it to have no acceptable or legitimate medical use. Twenty of fifty states
and DC in the United States of America have since legalized the medical use of marijuana but
medical marijuana is still illegal in the rest of the United States. As noble as the intentions of the
congress efforts to curb substance abuse have been, recent studies into the advantages of
marijuana have been more than positive, with the advantages far outweighing the potential side
effects showing that a review of their stance on marijuana is overdue.
Medical marijuana is no newcomer to the medical scene and was part of the United States
drug pharmacopeia up until 1943. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a certified medical practitioner and an
internationally acclaimed medical correspondent who has gained a lot of respect from the public as
a credible source of reliable information recently wrote an article for CNN in which he revised his
stance on the subject of legalization of marijuana after his previous documentary Why I would
vote No on pot. Dr. Gupta goes on to apologize to the general public on his previous stance on
marijuana claiming that it was misinformed and that this article is his effort to rectify the mistakes
he made in the earlier article outlining key information and evidence as to why he was wrong and
why medical marijuana has to be legalized.
We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I
apologize for my own role in that I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't
look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable
research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms
improved on cannabis
says Dr. Gupta and he is not alone in this as him and thousands of other reputable medical
practitioners all over the have come to the realization that their patients have responded well to
the use of medical marijuana and are willing to endorse it as a neuropathic pain drug. As a matter of
fact, a recent survey has shown that 76% of certified and state approved doctors are in favor of the
use of medical marijuana for advanced cancer pain over conventional medicine. Medical marijuana
has shown to be more effective in dealing with unbearable neuropathic pain compared to the
conventional opium based morphine, oxycodone and dilaudid with fewer side effects. Whereas
medical marijuana is said to be psychologically addictive, the conventional drugs on offer are both
psychologically and physically addictive with morphine often associated with one of the hardest of
hard drugs out there; cocaine. Dr. Gupta goes on to share the story of little Charlotte, one of his
patients from Colorado, who started having seizures soon after birth and by age 3, was having 300
a week, despite being on seven different medications. The use of medical marijuana calmed her
brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month. This and thousands of other cases serves as a
testament to the need to review marijuana laws and probe further research into marijuana as a
form of medicine.
Although medical marijuana is clearly the better option for dealing with neuropathic or
unbearable pain, critics argue that marijuana is a gateway drug for most of the youth who get
involved in substance abuse. In a 2002 article for the Chicago Tribune titled Marijuana is not
medicine, Dr. Andrea Barthwell, MD, who served as Former Deputy Director, White House Office
of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and a past president of the American Society of Addiction
Medicine, wrote;
"By characterizing the use of illegal drugs as quasi-legal, state-sanctioned, Saturday
afternoon fun, legalizers destabilize the societal norm that drug use is dangerous. They undercut the
goals of stopping the initiation of drug use to prevent addiction.... Children entering drug abuse
treatment routinely report that they heard that 'pot is medicine' and, therefore, believed it to be
good for them."
Although it is a reasonable assumption that labeling marijuana as medicine and being good
for you will result in a better perception of marijuana, I disagree with her notion this will necessarily
lead children into wanting to smoke marijuana for purposes of recreation. For example, as a child
growing up in a working/lower middle class socioeconomic background, I knew that cough syrup
was medicine and was good for me (in terms of recovering from a serious cough) but I hated it and
never, not even once, did my friends and I have a cough syrup barbeque or cough syrup hangouts or
cough syrup parties. I firmly knew it was medicine and nothing but medicine. If we can successfully
label medical marijuana as we have labeled our cough syrups, listing the side effects clearly, it is
more than possible to market marijuana as medicine and just that to future generations. By labeling
it as medicine, it will become easier to control supply, quality and distribution in the same way the
FDA controls the supply, quality and distribution of current regular prescription medication. That
way the levels of THC (Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid and is
responsible for the majority of the effects that you get from marijuana consumption and basically
responsible for making the user high) can be monitored and regulated to ensure that abuse of
marijuana will have a minimal effect and still retain the medical qualities to benefit those in need of
medical marijuana. This will also have a positive economic effect as the government can then tax
marijuana as medicine and create employment.
CASE POINT?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The main cause of the misconceptions of medical marijuana is how limited the research in
the area of medical marijuana is. Due to the prohibition of growing marijuana, it is near impossible
to conduct any plausible research to draw meaningful scientific conclusion that may lead to
congress changing their mind about marijuana. In a correspondence statement to,
former United States senator, Bill Frist said;
"Although I understand many believe marijuana is the most effective drug in combating their
medical ailments, I would caution against this assumption due to the lack of consistent, repeatable
scientific data available to prove marijuana's medical benefits. Based on current evidence, I believe
that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that there are less dangerous medicines offering the same
relief from pain and other medical symptoms."
Although this statement is from 10 years ago and most of us would like believe is
outdated, it is sad to say that this is still the argument most of congress uses when confronted
with the question of legalization of medical marijuana even though they make it nearly impossible
for any significant research to take place. The evidence is there. Medical marijuana is beneficial to
patients suffering from unbearable pain that conventional drugs have been ineffective in relieving
so it seems inhumane to refuse people like little Charlotte or cancer patients suffering unbearable,
the treatment they require. Legalize medical marijuana.

Works Cited
Barthwell, Andrea. "Marijuana Is Not Medicine." Chicago Tribune. N.p., 17 Feb. 2004. Web. 28
Sept. 2013.
"Bill Frist, MD - Medical Marijuana -" ProConorg Headlines. N.p., 30 Jan. 2009.
Web. 28 Sept. 2013.
ElSohly, Mahmoud A. Marijuana and the Cannabinoids. Totowa, NJ: Humana, 2007. Print.
Gupta, Dr. Sanjay. "Why I Changed My Mind on Weed." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan.
1970. Web. 28 Sept. 2013.