For thousands of years, medical marijuana has been used to heal. The herb was recognized as having medicinal properties in ancient China, India and the Middle East, as well as America. The medical use of marijuana was pioneered by Queen Victoria and her physician. Before the passage of the Stamp Act in 1920s and other marijuana laws, the herb was used in America. Patients suffering from asthma, A.I.D.S., cancer, and other ailments today praise the virtues marijuana use.
Marijuana or Cannabis Sativa, as it's scientifically called, is a herb that can be grown wild in mild climates. Many Asian countries have included medicinal cannabis on their healing herb lists long before teens and activists of counter culture tried it. Chinese were the first to use medicinal marijuana. Emperor Shen-Nuan documented medicinal marijuana's therapeutic benefits in the 28th Century B.C. Emperor Shen-Nuan wrote about its benefits for treating constipation, rheumatism and other ailments.
What is It Used For?
There are many ways to use medical marijuana. Some doctors use medicinal marijuana to make liquids for consumption. Some health professionals believe pot is more effective when it's eaten. The other way to get the healing properties of medical marijuana into the body is by smoking. Some doctors use marijuana to crush it and make a poultice or an ointment.
California is currently ground zero in the fight for marijuana legalization. Californians have established a number of medical marijuana shops since Prop 215 was passed. In many locations across the state, there are also marijuana vending machines. California residents are legally able to obtain medical marijuana at any dispensary in the state by obtaining a California medical marijuana card or a Cannabis Club card. Californians must have their marijuana evaluated by a medical marijuana doctor before they can obtain a card.
California makes it easy to open a medical marijuana dispensary. California has a number of medical marijuana evaluation centers that can issue medical marijuana licenses. Although decriminalizing medical marijuana is a significant step, many marijuana activists vow to make weed legal in California. Many people are in favor of medical marijuana. Members of the marijuana legalization movement are confident that they will succeed.
Amendment 2, or the right to medical marijuana, would allow the legalization of medical marijuana under certain conditions. Registered marijuana treatment centers would be open to patients and caregivers who have been issued a license by a doctor (Ballotpedia 2014. A medical marijuana license is not available to everyone. A person must have a diagnosis of a "debilitating medical conditions" like cancer, HIV, or glaucoma. The Florida Department of Health would regulate medical marijuana. It would also issue identification cards, and create procedures for treatment centers. The following sections will cover the pros and cons, as well as how the poor can get it if they don't have the means to pay. I will also discuss my personal feelings about Amendment 2 and legalization.
There are many health benefits to medical marijuana, including the relief of chronic pain from an illness or stress relief after a busy day. Research has shown that medical marijuana can be used to treat certain symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and pain caused by cancer or AIDS. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta stated that marijuana has a low potential for abuse and that there are legitimate uses. Gupta also stated that marijuana sometimes works. Arthritis is a common condition that affects older adults. There is no cure for this disease. However, marijuana has been shown to be effective in relieving the symptoms. Rheumatology stated in 2006 that CBM (cannabis-based medicine) produced statistically significant improvements on pain movement, pain at rest, and quality of sleep. While there are many legitimate benefits to medical marijuana, some people still disagree with this view and feel that legalizing medical marijuana would be detrimental to society.
Supporters of Amendment 2 and legalization of marijuana argue that it could lead to an increase in crime. Bishop Ron Allen stated that marijuana would lead to more crime and poverty in Berkeley. He explained that research shows that marijuana has the exact same effects on the pleasure center in the brain as heroin or crack cocaine. (OpposingViews 2014.) Mason Tvert, who is a supporter of marijuana, disagrees with Allen. He claims that Allen doesn't know what he is talking about, and that marijuana has been shown to be less addictive and toxic than other drugs. "The truth is that medical associations all over the country, and more than 80 percent of Americans believe marijuana can help seriously ill patients (Opposing views), states Tvert. The University of Texas at Dallas conducted a study that found legalizing marijuana could reduce robbery, homicide and other crimes (Ferner 2014).
Another problem with marijuana is its potential to become a gateway to other dangerous drugs like heroine or cocaine. According to the Eagle Forum, "The body's THC levels are constantly changing so pot smokers often use other drugs to get high (ProCon 2014). Sue Rosche, President and Founder of National Families in Action, says that the issue received extensive media coverage. California's teens heard the message and their marijuana use has increased by almost one-third since then, from 6.5% up to 9.2%, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. It is still on the rise: 1997-6.8%; 1998-7.4; 1999-8.4%. Even if marijuana use continues to rise, and it is legalized in some states, how will poor families get it if it's not affordable?
California's City of Berkeley recently announced a new law that requires marijuana dispensaries to donate 2% of their cannabis proceeds to low-income individuals starting in August next year (OpposingViews). If they decide to legalize marijuana, this could be a good law for other states such as Florida. The donation law allows poor people to access the marijuana they require. It is sold in California for at least $400 per ounce. This price represents the street value of medical marijuana plant-form. Other forms, such as extract or liquid, may be more expensive. State regulation ensures that people with severe medical conditions, such as those affecting the elderly, have access to medical marijuana.
Is Marijuana Legalization a Game of Fire?
Patients with medical conditions can legally obtain marijuana. There are some benefits to this.
Legalizing marijuana for recreational use is an entirely different idea and has many people concerned. Lobbyists for legalization of marijuana argue that legalisation will allow the production and sale of marijuana to be outsourced from drug addicts, drug cartels, and other clandestine groups and instead put it in the hands of licensed manufacturers and retailers. This will allow taxes from marijuana sales to be directed towards the public health system and education system, which is far better than the current situation in which only drug dealers profit financially.
Legalizing marijuana for recreational use has many downsides. Legalization sends a message that marijuana is acceptable to young people. It will be much easier for minors, even though marijuana will only be available to adults over 21 years old. Teens can find older friends or siblings to buy marijuana for them, just like alcohol. However, young people can already purchase legal marijuana.
So what's the problem with Marijuana?
Statistics show that marijuana is a gateway drug to heavier drugs. However, marijuana can also be harmful to your physical and mental health. It can cause fatigue, increase the risk of developing heart disease and cancer, especially lung cancer (if smoked), and cancer of lymphatic system and oral tumours. Research has shown that smoking marijuana is more dangerous than smoking nicotine. Most people know about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Psychologically, marijuana can trigger mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The damage it can do to the developing brain can be devastating.
Normal brain development involves significant brain changes during the adolescent years. Healthy brain function and growth requires support through healthy eating, adequate sleep, and other favorable lifestyle factors. Consider what happens if the brain isn't getting the right nutrients for normal growth or is exposed to neurotoxic substances like marijuana (or any other drug).
The Northwestern University Feinberg School for Medicine in the US found that cannabis-using adolescents have brain abnormalities. This is because they are younger than the average person when they start using the drug. One of the most common brain damages is changes in the working memory, even after the person has stopped using cannabis for two years.
Research has also shown that addiction can quickly develop, especially in teens. It often leads to a loss of motivation to learn; a reduction in vision and ambition for their career goals and a decrease in concern about one's health. There are many long-term health risks associated with marijuana use, including cancer and mental health issues. Regular users can become walking zombies if they are only focused on their drug use. Teenagers who are dependent on cannabis are more likely to feel angry or discontent when they don't have the drug for a while. They are also at higher risk of becoming antisocial and losing friends.
Because the drug is stronger, addiction is more common today than in years past. Teenagers who start smoking marijuana at parties might soon find themselves addicted and begin to smoke it every week. Many teenagers who are addicted to marijuana smoke it multiple times per day in order to feel normal. This type of smoking has a profound effect on their brain development, their heart and lungs, their ability to learn and their finances. They either have to steal or find work to pay for it.
Even those who decide to quit smoking cannabis can't repair irreversible brain damage caused by regular use during critical brain development phases. Dr Paula Riggs, a psychiatrist, cited statistics from long-term New Zealand research that looked at adolescents who smoked cannabis regularly. Over 38 years, the research found a 6--8 point decrease in IQ among regular marijuana users. This can have a lasting impact on their lives. Executive functioning, which is essential for planning, organization, memory, and other brain functions, has been shown to be affected by marijuana use. Executive functioning allows you to connect the dots between what you've learned in the past, how it applies to your current situation, and what you should do.
Regular use of marijuana can alter brain circuits in a very negative way. You don't need to be a rocket scientist or a psychologist to see the effects this could have on brain development and ability to achieve success in life. The brain's development is affected by marijuana. A brain that is focused on learning may have far more success than one that has been exposed to mind-altering drugs. This could have serious consequences for the rest their lives, even if they quit smoking. Research shows that regular marijuana use in teenage years can increase the chance of being unemployed in adulthood. At best, it results in an ex-cannabis user or cannabis user only being able find sub-standard work that is far from what they dreamed of doing.