Medical Marijuana
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Medical Marijuana

Medical MarijuanaIs there really such a thing as medical marijuana? There has been much debate in the media about the use of medical marijuana (using marijuana as medicine). Under U.S. law since 1970, marijuana has been a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that the drug, at least in its smoked form, has no commonly accepted medical use.

In considering the possibility of medical marijuana, it is important to distinguish between whole marijuana and pure THC or other specific chemicals derived from cannabis. Whole marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, some of which are clearly harmful to health. THC, manufactured into a pill that is taken by mouth, not smoked, can be used for treating the nausea and vomiting that go along with certain cancer treatments and is available by prescription. Another chemical related to THC (nabilone) has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating cancer patients who suffer nausea. The oral THC is also used to help AIDS patients eat more to keep up their weight.

Scientists are studying whether marijuana, THC, and related chemicals in marijuana (called cannabis/cannabinoids) may have other medical uses. According to scientists, more research needs to be done on marijuana's side effects and potential benefits before it can be recommended for medical use.

What are the cons of medical marijuana legalization?

  • A marijuana cigarette (joint) contains 50%-100% more tar than that of tobacco.
  • A study involving college students found that the heavy marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing, and using information. These findings suggest that the greater impairment among heavy users is likely due to an alteration of brain activity produced by marijuana.
  • Chronic heavy use may lead to lasting behavioral problems such as loss of motivation and paranoia, and physical problems such as impairment of lung function, and weight gain due to the appetite enhancing effects associated with marijuana use.
  • Immediate effects after someone has smoked marijuana may include: loss of restlessness, excitement, hallucinations, psychotic, paranoia, psychotic episodes, impaired coordination, impaired motor ability, mood swings, increased appetite, and impaired ability.
  • Legalization of medical marijuana would not cut down on all crime; alcohol still causes family disputes, rape, robbery, reckless driving, and murder.
  • Long Term effects of marijuana may include: the loss of brain cells, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, energy loss, slow confused thinking, apathy, and blood vessel blockage.
  • Marijuana can be a gateway drug, which means it can lead to the use of many other harmful drugs--Children ages 12-17 are 85 times more likely to use cocaine
  • Marijuana has been linked with teen violence, suicide, crime, and unsafe sex-HIV transmission.
  • Marijuana may produce a mild physical dependence that causes minor withdrawal symptoms when discontinued, including nausea, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.
  • New harvesting methods made marijuana 20x more effective than it was 30 years ago. It can be laced with other drugs and the smoker won't even know.
  • People may experience adverse effects from medical marijuana use such as anxiety and paranoia. The anxiety can range anywhere from mild anxiety to complete panic.
  • Physical effects of marijuana may include diarrhea, cramps, weight loss or gain, and impaired sex drive
  • Research has shown that babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies display altered responses to visual stimuli and increased tremulousness which may indicate problems with neurological development. Marijuana exposed children have also been found to have more behavioral problems and to perform tasks of visual perception, language comprehension, sustained attention, and memory poorly. In school, these children are more likely to exhibit deficits in decision-making skills, memory, and the ability to remain attentive.
  • Smoking marijuana by adolescent user can disrupt their emotional development, delay puberty, and can delay the monthly cycle in females.
  • Smoking one joint is equal to smoking 7-10 cigarettes.
  • Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may experience the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may include: daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to use marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of lung tissue injured or destroyed by marijuana smoke.
  • The chronic use of pure resin (hashish) has been associated with mental deformation and criminality.

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