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Medicinal Marijuana

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Three thousand years ago. The Chinese emperor, Sheng Neng in traduced a number of pharmaceutical drugs, which included marijuana. Marijuana was particularly prescribed by the emperor for malaria, rheumatism, beriberi and amnesia (Earleywine, 2002). Marijuana subsequently spread from china to the nearby India. Marijuana is listed in the Indian holy text, Arthavaveda, as a holy plant capable of relieving stress. As Hindu sanctions were imposed on alcohol in the early years, marijuana remained a substance appropriate for the alleviation of anxiety in the society. It was later prescribed in India for fever, coughs and asthma. It was even tried on dandruff and leprosy but with little success (Roffman, 1982).

As new uses for medical marijuana developed back in china, its spread over the world continued steadily. Ancient Rome acknowledged marijuana as a pain reliever although with a warning that overconsumption could cause feebleness in the users. As Romans made their way into other countries, they continued to explore into the pharmaceutical properties of marijuana. They later recommended the juice of the marijuana seed for earaches, a treatment that has been proven to work. The Chinese founder of surgery combined marijuana with alcohol as an anesthetic (Earleywine 2002).

A fascinating discovery was that of the use of marijuana in childbirth. This was when traces of marijuana were marked on the archeological remains of a girl who evidently died in labor in the fourth century A.D. The marijuana seed was said to have eased the pain from the intrauterine contractions. Today, women from Vietnam and Cambodia take marijuana tea to reduce after-birth distress. Academic studies on fetal exposure to marijuana have brought up mixed results and countless controversies.

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Ethiopian archaeologists have dug pipes containing traces of marijuana dating back to the 1300s, implying that marijuana had reached Africa by the 12th century. Refereed to ass dagga in Africa, marijuana had a medical reputation that varied from tribe to tribe. While some tribes used marijuana for snakebites, others used it for child delivery, and even malaria, beriberi and anthrax (Earleywine 2002). A French doctor in the 17th century recommended it to cure horses of colic, increase appetite and even treat burns.  He also recommended that marijuana could be used to aid mood disorder, a debate that was brought on and off until the late 1970s, and as the debate raged on, marijuana made its way into the Americas.

Marijuana roots were initially recommended in America for inflamed skin. The oil extracted from marijuana plants was multipurpose as it was used to treat many complications ranging from coughs to sex related diseases (Barr 1998). Only a few American medical practitioners recommended marijuana as a drug. This is primarily because marijuana was not easily accessible, but as the demand grew; it became more and more accessible. Discoveries continued to be made about medicinal marijuana, but none of it was a cure. Marijuana was only initially used to ease the pain and nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy and other ailments.

Today, the primary barricade to using marijuana as a drug is legal authorization. As it stands, marijuana is categorized a schedule 1 drug, implying that it has little or no approved medical value, and doctors cannot prescribe it. Many physicians have, however, challenged this classification, citing the low cost of marijuana and its potential efficiency. Marijuana was illegal in all of the fifty states of America, but today nine states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Connecticut is one of the states that have appreciated the medicinal value of marijuana. Medical marijuana laws in Connecticut fall into three categories: physician’s right to prescribe marijuana, therapeutic research programs, and the reclassification of marijuana as schedule 2 drug (Savage & Bailey 2003).

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Many studies over time have demonstrated medical marijuana to be a safe, non toxic form of medicine that can be used in the treatment of some of the most destabilizing ailments like multiple sclerosis, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma among others. In the University of California at San Francisco, scientists in their research found out that marijuana deadens pain in rats through interaction with the area of the brain that is activated by morphine. They came to the conclusion that cannabinoids, found in cannabis sativa (Marijuana), are a form of a potent analgesic that can deliver instant pain relief. Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health report that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) which are non psychoactive components in marijuana protect brain cells from the damage that is often associated with stroke. During a stroke, the brain’s blood supply is cut, and these components (THC and CBD) act as antioxidants, preventing the brain cells from being exposed to toxic levels of a fatal brain chemical known as glutamate. They also report that medical cannabis holds great medical value in the treatment of brain injuries and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Mentally ill sufferers of the bipolar disorder and scientists made the discovery that marijuana is capable of improving this medical condition. It is also highly capable of reducing the side effects of drugs that are used in the treatment of the condition. Around 35% of patients suffering from bipolar disorder cannot tolerate standard medication and marijuana is used to relieve them. Marijuana is used to help the terminally ill people to lead a better quality life. This is simply because marijuana provides rapid relief from the suffering to patients, thereby improving their comfort and mental outlook, maintaining their human dignity, hence they suffer less.

If marijuana was to be legalized, it would provide patients with a quality drug to help in alleviating their pain. Legalizing it would make its usage controllable, and with its ingredients well known, it would help the experts determine the appropriate healing quantity.  Legalization of cannabis sativa for medical purposes is necessitated by the need to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to invest in integrated research the healing properties of marijuana.

The state incurs twofold expenses in the decriminalization of marijuana as firstly, the state pays for all the restrictive apparatus caused by the de4criminalization of marijuana. On a second note, the citizens do not receive the appropriate medication and end up wasting money on less efficient treatments. Sufferers and their caretakers are being criminalized by the current policy, being forced to obtain marijuana from underworld traders for relief from their conditions. This marijuana may pose risks as it is not pharmaceutically checked, but this would change with the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana, relative to other drugs like nicotine and caffeine among others, ranks lowest for withdrawal symptoms, tolerance and the potential of addiction. It ranks only high in the degree of intoxication, and is close to caffeine in the degree of reinforcement.

In helping AIDS patients, marijuana, as it is well known as an anti nauseant, reduces the nausea that accompanies the condition. It also reduces the vomiting by AIDS patients, and increases their appetite. In alleviating glaucoma, marijuana helps in relieving the internal eye pressure of glaucoma, thereby relieving the pain which helps to slow down or even stop the condition at times. Cancer medication is known to have numerous side effects, and these can all be effectively relieved by marijuana. Studies have proven that marijuana even slows down some types of cancer. Multiple sclerosis causes muscle pains, tremors, unsteadiness and spasticity, effects that can be relieved by marijuana. Marijuana has also been known to prevent epileptic seizures.

The federal policy that criminalizes the use of marijuana and prohibits physicians from prescribing marijuana to their patients seems to be completely misguided. If morphine should be prescribed to relieve extreme pain, why not marijuana, which has been found to be more effective? Though marijuana may have long term effects on the patients, or even cause serious addictions, the issues are not relevant to patients whose primary goal is to alleviate the pain they are experiencing currently. Numerous state laws have been passed allowing medical practitioners to prescribe marijuana to their patients, and opinion polls continue to show that the public indeed does favor the use of medical marijuana. It is high time that federal authorities got their facts right, and remove the prohibition laws of the medicinal use of cannabis sativa on seriously ill patients, and leave it to the physicians to decide whether the drug should be used on a particular patient or not. Medicinal marijuana should be reclassified from a schedule 1 drug, which makes it an additive with no medical use, to a schedule 2 drug, which makes it an additive with an appreciated medical use.

Marijuana, I agree, is not completely harmless, and anyone using it for medical purposes should be well informed of the side effects of using it. Statistics do show a correlation between marijuana use and early death, which cannot be said of other drugs (Roffman 1982). There is no reason why our government should prohibit thousands of Americans suffering from AIDS, chemotherapy nausea, glaucoma, chronic pain migraine and epilepsy from using marijuana and leave them suffering, as marijuana has been proven to alleviate most of these ailments.

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