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English 3 Block G April 18, 2001 ii Outline Thesis: The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes should be legalized by the United States government due to marijuana s numerous medicinal uses, it s relative safety as a medication, and the many possible threats of continued prohibition. I. Introduction A. Quote: Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat. The government should change marijuana s status from that of a Schedule I [prohibited] drug to that of a Schedule II drug and regulate accordingly. Dr.
Jerome Kassirer, editor, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997 B. Facts: 1990 survey 44 % of oncologists have suggested their patients smoke marijuana to ease nausea. C. Thesis: The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes should be legalized by the United States government for the many reasons stated below. II. Medical Uses A.
Ease nausea of cancer chemotherapy B. Remedy for migraine C. Lowers intraocular pressure from glaucoma iii D. Appetite stimulate in wasting syndrome of HIV E. Muscle relaxant in spastic disorders F. Anti-convulsant III.
Safety A. Little effect on major physiological functions B. No know lethal overdose C. Less addictive and subject to abuse than other drugs used for muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics D. Does do more damage to lungs than tobacco smoke, but far less is used E.
Ratio of lethal to effective dose is 40, 000: 1, far safer than many other drugs 1. Alcohol = 4 - 10: 1 2. Secobarbital = 3, 500: 1 IV. Threat of prohibition A. Marijuana is now Schedule I-prohibited B.
A Schedule II able Dr. to legally prescribe it C. Worse part of using marijuana for medical use is chance of being caught D. Legalizing marijuana can lead to further studies-more advantages discovered E. Prices would be lowered for patients iv F. Less chance of the patients buying marijuana to get sold dangerous material G.
Survey shows 73 % of American citizens believe marijuana should be legalized in some way for medical use Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use? this is a question many scientists and some government officials have been asking themselves quite recently. Marijuana has been shown to immensely help patients taking chemotherapy to easy many medical problems. Dr. Jerome Kassirer, the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine gives he opinion that, Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat. The government should change marijuana s status from that of a Schedule I [prohibited] drug to that of a Schedule II drug [legal with restrictions] and regulate accordingly (JAMA 1).
Many of today s top physicians, scientists, and doctors agree with Dr. Kassirer s views. A 1990 survey distributed to oncologists (doctors specializing in the field of cancer and tumors) shows that about 44 % of the doctors suggested to their patients that the patient illegally smoke marijuana to ease the side effects, specifically nausea, of chemotherapy (2). The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes should be legalized by the United States government due to marijuana s numerous medicinal uses, its relatively safe side effects, and to protect marijuana from future prohibition. First of all, marijuana is proven to have several medical uses.
Its most prevalent medical use is easing the nausea from chemotherapy, which is becoming one of the most common types of treatment for cancer (Medical 2). When marijuana is smoked, it induces a tremendous craving to eat, commonly referred to as, the munchies, in slang terms (Schleichert 17). Patients and physicians claim it is this period that helps the patient to eat and keep food down. Due to this effect, its appetite stimulation, marijuana is also used by HIV patients that suffer from wasting syndrome (Medical 2). Another beneficial effect marijuana has is that it can reduce intraocular pressure in the eye and helps ease the pain suffered by patients with glaucoma. In some cases, the marijuana has even eliminated the intraocular pressure completely, greatly helping the patient (Marijuana 1).
Since the pressure behind the eye lens is the cause of the optic nerve to fail in glaucoma patients, the marijuana s effect of reducing the pressure decrease or can even eliminate the loss of vision, helping and even almost curing the patient (1). Many doctors also acknowledge marijuana as a remedy for chronic migraine headaches and menstrual cramps (Brookhiser 1). These nuisances are often thought to not be too serious, but many people struggle with them for large periods of their life. The legalization of marijuana could help these people live normal lives.
In addition, marijuana helps patients cope with numerous other diseases, disorders, or pains. Some of these include multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and spastic disorders (Medical 3). Marijuana is a proven muscle relaxant, reducing muscle spasms and seizures. In some rare cases, the muscle spasms and seizures have been eliminated completely due to the effect of the marijuana (Brookhiser 2). The second major reason that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal use is that marijuana has been shown to be a relatively safe drug when used under close supervision of a physician. Studies have shown that marijuana is much safer than most prescription drugs available today.
The ratio of effective dose to lethal dose exemplifies that is much safer than many of the legal drugs available (JAMA 2). In this example, the higher the ratio, the safer the drug. Marijuana has a ratio of approximately 40, 000 to 1. Secobarbital, a sedative used to treat convulsions, has a ratio of 3, 500: 1 (3). Secobarbital is a legal drug that has a much greater risk of a fatal dosage than marijuana does, but its legal. This statistic alone should be enough to consider making marijuana.
Even when it comes to serious overdoses, marijuana has been proven to be very safe. Up to today, there is no record of anyone ever fatally overdosing on marijuana alone (Bugliosi 49). Many people will try to dispute this fact, claiming this cannot be possible, but they are being misled. In many cases, other drugs or substances have been taken with the marijuana. These substances are the ones that actually caused the death. These other drugs are often put in the marijuana so the dealer can gain more of a profit while having to spend less on pure marijuana.
If legalized, only pure marijuana will be sold, with no other drugs interwoven. In fact, there are a very low number of serious overdoses with marijuana. This is quite amazing, since marijuana has been known to man for over 5, 000 years (JAMA 1). Without proper treatment, overdosing on most prescription and even most over-the-counter drugs can be fatal. Good examples of highly dangerous drugs that can be prescribed are morphine and codeine, both easily available but can be very dangerous (Medical 4).
Many of those that oppose the legalization of marijuana claim that marijuana is addiction and can cause physical and mental addiction that can lead to serious abuse of the drug. This argument is simply false and cannot be proven. Actually, marijuana is subject to much less abuse than most of the other drugs available today. The majority of the abused drugs are muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics, which have much stronger physical and psychological addictions than marijuana (Schleichert 68).
The one genuine risk in using marijuana is the damage done to the lungs. Marijuana does do more damage to the lungs than cigarettes on a one joint to one cigarette basis (JAMA 3), but this is not a clear comparison. Marijuana is smoked in much, much smaller quantities than cigarettes are, and not nearly as often. It is not uncommon for a cigarette user to smoke up to 2 or 3 packs a day, but to use this much marijuana in one day is completely unheard of; especially for medical purposes. Usually patients using marijuana use so little that damage to lungs is far less than that of even moderate to light cigarette smokers (4).
Finally, marijuana should be legalized because the threat of further prohibition can only make things worse. Marijuana is now a Schedule I drug, which means that it is strictly prohibited for any type of use, possession, or growth within the United States (Ackerman 1). This causes many problems for patients that could be helped greatly by the use of marijuana. Some may think that users of marijuana for medical reasons illegally are the culprits, but they are actually the victims. Without marijuana, many cancer patients that are subjected to chemotherapy become very nauseous and lose all will to eat and then their lack of food only worsens the person s health. By smoking marijuana, the feeling of hunger returns and the person can then eat to get the vitamins and nutrients that the person needs to help the body fight the cancer.
That person will eventually fight the cancer and then will need less chemotherapy. By receiving less chemotherapy, the person will then no longer need the marijuana, or at least need much less, and will work closer toward full recovery. Without the marijuana, this person would just continue to receive more chemotherapy and their health would deteriorate (JAMA 4). The only drawback is that currently the marijuana is illegal. As of now, the marijuana has to be purchased illegally, usually from a drug dealer whom may have put other drugs in with the marijuana or may have even given you fake marijuana that will not help you at all. If the marijuana was legalized, the government could regulate it and then people could receive the treatment they need to become healthy (Ackerman 2).
In conclusion, marijuana is a drug that could be very helpful to thousands of people, but will not be given a chance because it is categorized by authorities as a useless party drug. Most Americans feel that keeping marijuana prohibited is not giving it a fair chance. In fact 73 % of American citizens believe marijuana should be legalized in some way for medical use (Schleichert 38). Why is marijuana not legalized?
This is America, a free country. This occurs because Legislation is uneducated about the benefits of marijuana and has no interest to learn about it. Marijuana should be given an attempt just as several other dangerous drugs have been given. For marijuana s numerous medical uses, it s relative safety, and the threats of further prohibition; marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes (Schedule II) by the United States government.
Works Cited Ackerman, Elise. The latest buzz on hemp. 15 March 1999. Available web (18 February 2001). Brookhiser, Richard. Outlook: Lost in the Weed. Available web (18 February 2001).
Bugliosi, Vincent. Drugs In America: The Case For Victory. New York: Knightsbridge, 1991. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). Marijuana as Medicine: A Plea for Reconsideration. 1 June 1995. Available web (9 January 2001).
Marijuana. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. 1999 ed. Medical Use of Marijuana. Initiative Statute. 14 September 1996. Available web (9 January 2001). Schleichert, Elizabeth.
Marijuana. Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1996. 342
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