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Alexa Doran

21 March 2017

Medical Marijuana

In the world today, marijuana is a huge controversy. Some are disappointed with the

decisions of the states and the government, while others are satisfied for their loved ones to have

access to a synthetic drug. However, with all the discussion, medical marijuana is a drug that is

legal in some parts of the country and illegal in other parts. Even though it is a controversial

argument, marijuana has been proven that it will relieve individuals of pain and suffering they

encounter from illnesses that they might experience throughout their lifetime; therefore,

marijuana should be legalized medically in all fifty states in the United States of America.

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed making it illegal for individuals to grow or

distribute marijuana in the United States. Then in 1970, the Controlled Substance Act was passed

which prohibited all altering mind substances and unfortunately marijuana was considered under

this category. Individual states have been legalizing medical marijuana use from 1986 to the

present day, 2017. Since this act was passed there has been an increase in many individuals, now

criminals, being institutionalized for going against it which is considered a non-violent offense in

the United States. Looking back at laws passed here and elsewhere to control drug use, one can

reasonably conclude that they have been ineffective (McKenna 105). Throughout the country,

marijuana and other drugs are easily distributed to individuals seeking it. The laws, fortunately

for many, have not fully worked with the smuggling of drugs into the country. Although many
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individuals use the drug recreationally, there is also a large amount of marijuana users that utilize

it specifically for medical purposes.

Then in 2000, Colorado became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Twelve

years later the state legalized marijuana for recreational use. Since then twenty-two states have

joined the state of Colorado creating a total of twenty-three states that have legalized medical

marijuana. (Capriotti 11). Unfortunately for some, it is still a federal crime to grow, sell, or

purchase marijuana in the medically legal states because it is still illegal to majority of

individuals. In November of 2012, marijuana became legal recreationally, but the legal age to

buy the drug is twenty-one years old. Although medical marijuana is legal in Colorado, state

residents still had to obtain a state issued license. In December 2008, only 4,819 residents of

Colorado possessed a license for medical marijuana. Six years later, in 2014, the amount of

license issued had risen from 4,819 to 116,387 (Monte). Marijuana as a medical use will be

used as an anti-inflammatory, a possible prescription for seizure disorders, and compared to

opioids, cannabis is a safer substitution.

In Mickey Martins, The Medical Effects of Marijuana and the Science Behind it, there

are three major active chemical compounds found prominent in marijuana. The most common

psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol usually referred to

as THC. THC is the compound that gives you the feeling of being high. Second most common

cannabinoid found is cannabidol (CBD) which is the reason marijuana has a therapeutic value.

Last, but not least, cannabinol (CBN) can be described as the incidental product resulting from

the breakdown of THC. Throughout the body, two receptors are found, CB1 and CB2. CB1 is

located in the hippocampus part of the brain while CB2 is located outside the brain in the
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immune system and organs. CB1 receptors are what dismiss people of pain after consuming

marijuana and CB2 oversees the reduction of inflammation in the body.

According to Herbert and Dupont, a huge problem when it comes to medical marijuana is

users going to their doctors and explaining the pain they are in and eventually being prescribed

marijuana to help with it. Later, when asked about the pain they were enduring at the time of

prescription, the patient responded with very little pain. This problem arises in all medical legal

states throughout the US and has become a relatively important factor as to why medical

marijuana is not legal nationwide. It seems unreasonable to put another human in control of

prescribing a drug so strong as marijuana. However, the physicians must undergo a series of

trainings to help them distinguish whether or not the patient should be prescribed the medication.

Thompsons research on Medical Marijuana discusses that marijuana is not approved by the

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help with any medical conditions. The FDA has yet

to approve any smokeable drugs in the past and is trying to determine a correct dosage to

prescribe patients when marijuana is necessary for them.

In reference to Mickey Martins chapter on Your Rights and Responsibilities, although

medical marijuana is legal in certain states it is still crucial to know your rights and

responsibilities when it comes to the drug. One right that law enforcement manipulates the most

is asking to search individuals possessions without a warrant. If an officer forces his/her way

into your home or car without a search warrant, be sure to say, I do not consent to a search For

safety, always carry your doctors recommendation note, therefore if you happen to be pulled

over there will be no misunderstandings if marijuana is found in your possession. Since

marijuana is considered a mind-altering drug it is important to never smoke and drive. Marijuana

impairs you just like alcohol does and causes you to become unaware of important things while
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behind the wheel. A major side effect of marijuana is the drowsiness you endure after consuming

it causing you to possibly fall asleep while driving (Martin).

Another huge controversial issue when it comes to marijuana is the fact that cigarettes are

legal and claim 400,000 lives every year when marijuana declares zero. Cannabis use has not

been directly associated with toxic deaths (Cook 678). Many are curious as to why drugs such

as alcohol and nicotine that are the root cause of many deaths is legal in the United States and a

drug, such as marijuana, is prohibited in majority of states in the country. According to Dwight

Andersons Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use, the use of alcohol and tobacco

in adolescences has fortunately declined since the 1990s. However, the use of marijuana in

adolescences has increased since then, but has nothing to do with the legalization in some states.

In the United States, marijuana is the third most widespread drug used recreationally and

the most commonly used illicit drug (Capriotti 11). However, there is more to the drug than just

getting high. Marijuana could one day be the future of medicine and it has already come so far in

a short time. The extensive research shows its therapeutic use for a variety of different diseases

and pains that individuals might experience throughout their lifetime. Including, but not limited

to, cancer, AIDS, pain management, and arthritis. Thompson gave some more specific conditions

in her research on medical marijuana, these contain neuropathic (nerve) pain, muscle spasms that

result from sclerosis or paraplegia. Unfortunately, there are side effects to every drug and

marijuana is no exception. A few known effects are dry mouth, drowsiness, and hunger and some

unknown effects include dizziness, disorientation, euphoria, confusion, sedation (Thompson).

According to Mickey Martins, The Medical Effects of Marijuana and the Science Behind it,

one advantage that marijuana has is the sensational good feeling it presents to you. Nevertheless,

not everyone gets a pleasant feeling from using the drug, some describe a feeling of anxiety,
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panic, and dizziness. These individuals could easily avoid this issue by consuming a lower

dosage of THC on their next attempt.

According to Mickey Martins chapter on How to Use Medical Marijuana, marijuana

can be used in a variety of different ways. Many choose not to use marijuana because they

believe inhaling marijuana is the only way to get it into their body. They fear the risk of

damaging their lungs and decide not to use the drug at all. However, there are other ways to use

marijuana rather than inhaling it. One way is by using extractions, although extractions can be

smoked, they can also be used in foods or topically. An alternative way is edibles, marijuana is

easily consumed through edibles. Individuals usually choose edibles to be more discrete since the

food has no aroma and can be consumed anywhere. Last, but not least, is topical applications.

Topical applications allow users to put marijuana oils, salves, or compounds directly on their

skin. The above alternatives are a better selection considering that damaging your lungs is not a

healthy choice (Martin).

In addition to the previous paragraph, smoking marijuana has a speedier effect time than

edible marijuana does. Compared to edible marijuana, smoking marijuana has a ten-minute

reaction time. Edible marijuana such as gummy bears and brownies have a delayed impact

compared to inhalation. Consuming tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) orally takes roughly three

hours to reach its peak of intoxication. One package of gummy bears contains 100 milligrams of

THC, the suggested amount to ingest is anywhere from ten to thirty milligrams depending on

how familiar the user is with the drug. Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado it has been

required under law for it to be distributed in a childproof package. The childproof packaging is

necessary to ensure that infants and toddlers are not capable of protruding the package and are

able to refrain from becoming intoxicated from the drug since studies have yet to be done on
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children. Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use stated by Dwight Anderson

verbalizes that the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, John Walsh, distributed letters to all marijuana

stores that were detected 1,000 feet or less from schools. The attorney was required to do this

because it is illegal in most states for marijuana to be administered within 1,000 feet of a school,

Colorado included.

Dwight Anderson conducted a study to try and prove that the legalization of medical

marijuana has caused an increase in adolescences using the drug. He then found that medical

marijuana is now legally distributed to adolescences ranging from the age of seventeen and under

for insomnia, autism, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity

disorder (ADHD). However, the adolescence must have permission from a parent or legal

guardian. Therefore, it would be nearly impossible for adolescence to be administered the drug,

unless purchased off the streets illegally. A major concern about marijuana being obtained off the

streets is that it is nearly impossible for buyers to know the correct dosage of THC that the seller

claims are in the drug (Kleber and Dupont). After the study was carried out, Anderson found

that there was no correlation between the states that have legalized marijuana influencing

adolescence to use the drug.

A select number of individuals believe that marijuana is not an addicting drug, but

researches have proven this accusation to be incorrect. There have been studies where marijuana

was dispensed to non-addicted individuals that volunteered and over numerous weeks and began

to experience withdrawals when no longer administered the drug. Researches explained that the

withdrawals were relatively similar to a typical withdrawal. The volunteers experienced

insomnia, shaking, anxiety, along with other withdrawal effects (McKenna 105). Some other

myths that Mickey Martin discusses in his article on The Medical Effects of Marijuana and the
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Science Behind it, are the marijuana makes you, stupid, lazy, violent, limits individuals ability

to have children, and leads people to try hardcore drugs such as cocaine. All these long-term

effects are fortunately myths and do not happen when one smokes marijuana.

Overall, marijuana is still being studied and still has a long way to go till scientists know

its exact risks and abilities. Its chemicals, THC and CBD, are used therapeutically and is the

main causation of the legalization in so many states recently compared to what it once was. It is

strongly believed that marijuana is the future of medicine and one day will maybe be used for

more health care problems in the next decade. Therefore, medical marijuana should be legalized

for its pain relief and futuristic opportunities that may arise.
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Works Cited

Anderson, Dwight, et al. Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use. American Law

and Economics Review, vol. 17, no. 2, 2015, pp. 495-528.

Capriotti, Teri. Medical Marijuana. Home Healthcare Now, vol. 34, no. 1, 2016, pp. 10-15.

Cook, Jon, et al. Medical Use of Cannabis: An Addiction Medicine Perspective. Internal

Medicine Journal, vol. 45, no. 6, June 2015, pp. 677-680.

Kleber, Herbert, and Robert L. Dupont. Physicians and Medical Marijuana. The American

Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 169, no. 6, June 2012, pp. 564-568.

McKenna, Gerald. The Current Status of Medical Marijuana in the United States. Hawaii

Journal of Medicine and Public Health, vol. 73, no. 4, April 2014, pp. 105.

Mickey, Martin, et al. How to Use Medical Marijuana. Medical Marijuana 101. Quick Trading

Company, 2011. eBook

Mickey, Martin, et al. The Medical Effects of Marijuana and the Science Behind It. Medical

Marijuana 101. Quick Trading Company, 2011. eBook

Mickey, Martin, et al. Your Rights and Responsibilities. Medical Marijuana 101. Quick

Trading Company, 2011. eBook

Monte, Andrew, et al. The Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado JAMA, vol.

313, no. 3, 2014.

Thompson, Amy. Medical Marijuana. JAMA, vol. 313, no. 24, 2015, pp. 2508