The Instigator
Bodhivaka
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
DoctorDeku
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Marijuana Should Be Legal For Medicinal Purposes

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Bodhivaka
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/23/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,966 times Debate No: 28541
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (20)
Votes (2)

 

Bodhivaka

Pro

The full resolution of this debate is "Mariuana should be legal in the case that it is prescribed by a licensed, board certified physician and used strictly for medicinal purposes." I will be aruging in favor of the resolution. My opponent must argue that medicinal marijuana should be illegal.

Format:

(1) Acceptance
(2) Opening Statements
(3) Counter-Arguments
(4) Rebuttals
(5) Closing Statements

Rules:

(1) No forfeiting
(2) No plagiarism
(3) No semantics
(4) No arguing in the comment section

A violation of any of the above mentioned rules shall result in an automatic loss of conduct points.
DoctorDeku

Con

1. Introduction-
As agreed upon via PM, I will also clarify the burdens of both the Pro and the Con during this round!

a. The only way a vote can be justified for Pro is if they prove the resolution to be true. They hold the burden of proof, whereas the Con holds the burden of clash.

b. The Con has the burden in their refutations to argue that medical marijuana should be illegal. However they do not need to prove this claim to warrant a vote, they simply need to refute the Pro. This clarification exists to negate a 'balanced neg' approach to refutation.

c. The debate should judged first and foremost on a standard of comparative advantage; if at the end of the round both claims seem equal than the vote should default Con.

2. Conclusion-
I look forward to an entertaining debate and to my opponent's opening statements
Debate Round No. 1
Bodhivaka

Pro

"The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world." - Carl Sagan

Although there exist many benefits associated with the legalization of marijuana, including economic, moral, civil, and societal advantages, in this round I will attempt to build my case solely by focusing on only two primary contentions; namely, 1) the medical benefits of marijuana, and 2) the level safety associated with using marijuana.

Ultimately, the criteria of a good medication is one that can provide a worthwhile medicinal benefit without resulting in any unreasonable side-effects; I believe marijuana fulfills this criteria, and should therefore be legalized for medicinal use.

The Medicinal Benefits of Marijuana:

The legalization of medical marijuana would undoubtedly result in the relief of millions of suffering people who seek to find an escape from their significantly numerous ailments; in fact, various authoritative studies have consistently confirmed that Marijuana treats and prevents glaucoma, epileptic seizures, cancer, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle tension, muscle spasm, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, chronic pain, and various other medical problems [1] [2]. Marijuana has also surprisingly been observed to help consumers increase their lung capacity, as well as provide them relief from the symptoms that accompany treatment of hepatitis C [3]. These studies have been performed, reported, and confirmed by non-partisan medical organizations and universities [4]. For example, Business Insider has reported on the following findings related to the medical benefits associated with marijuana use:

Cancer:


"One chemical found in marijuana, called cannabidiol, prevents cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007. Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning of a gene called Id-1, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them spread through the body. The researchers studied breast cancer cells in the lab that had high expression levels of Id-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had decreased Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders [5]."


Alzheimer's:


"Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, a study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute suggests. The 2006 study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics found that THC, the active chemical in marijuana, slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques are what kill brain cells and cause Alzheimers [6]."


Multiple Sclerosis:


"Marijuana may ease painful symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in May suggests. Jody Corey-Bloom studied 30 multiple sclerosis patients with painful contractions in their muscles. These patients didn't respond to other treatments, but after smoking marijuana for a few days they were in less pain [7].
"

Arthritis:

"Marijuana alleviates pain, reduces inflammation, and promotes sleep, which may help relieve pain and discomfort for people with rheumatoid arthritis, researchers announced in 2011. Researchers from rheumatology units at several hospitals gave their patients, sativex, a cannabinoid-based pain-relieving medicine. After a two week period, people on Sativex had a significant reduction in pain and improved sleep quality compared to placebo users [8].
"

Of course, this isn't to say that there are no negative side-effects of Marijuana -- there are; however, the negative properties of cannabis pale in comparison to its positive ones. In any case, it's no secret that the vast majority of legal medications possess at least one or many negative side-effects themselves.

Therefore, despite the potential downfalls of marijuana, I submit that its abundant positive properties make it a justified candidate for legalization, especially considering the fact that many other legal medications possess similar or even worse side-effects [9].

Marijuana Compared to Alcohol and Tobacco:

One of the most perplexing realities surrounding the illegalization of medicinal marijuana is the fact that many other legal substances and are much more dangerous, particularly alcohol and tobacco; for example, http://www.saferchoice.org... provides the following comparisons between alcohol and marijuana:

1) People die from alcohol overdoses; there has never been a fatal marijuana overdose
2) Alcohol use damages the brain; marijuana use does not
3) Alcohol use is linked to cancer; marijuana use is not
4) Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana
5) Alcohol use contributes to aggressive and violent behavior; marijuana use does not
6) Alcohol use contributes to the likelihood of domestic abuse and sexual assault; marijuana use does not


Furthermore, the following comparisons can be drawn between marijuana and tobacco:

1) Over 400,000 people die every year from tobacco; no one has ever died directly from the use of marijuana [10]
2) Tobacco causes cancer; marijuana does not [11]
3) Marijuana is not as harmful to the lungs as tobacco smoke [12]

Therefore, considering the fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal for recreational use, I submit that marijuana should certainly be legal for medicinal use, especially considering the fact that alcohol and tobacco are significantly more dangerous.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] http://health.howstuffworks.com...
[2] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid
[8] Ibid.
[9] http://www.opposingviews.com...
[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.

DoctorDeku

Con

While I agree with my opponent that there are a number of potential benefits of legalizing marijuana, it is my intention to argue that the negative impacts outweigh the benefits.
Furthermore as this is a debate concerning the medical benefit of marijuana, we must only deal with marijuana on a medical level.

First; Marijuana is harmful and dangerous-
Making this claim almost seems like a cliche when proponents tend to advocate how 'safe and nonaddictive' marijuana is in the first place, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. According to the Heritage foundation while citing senior research fellow Charles Stimson "The scientific literature is clear that marijuana is addictive and that its use significantly impairs bodily and mental functions. Marijuana use is associated with memory loss, cancer, immune system deficiencies, heart disease, and birth defects, among other conditions."[1]
But in a liberal society harms to individual health shouldn't be grounds to make something illegal right? Well as it turns out marijuana is a gateway drug, but not in the stereotypical sense. From the Rand Foundation[2] "...marijuana trafficking is linked to a variety of crimes, from assault and murder to money laundering and smuggling. Legalization of marijuana would increase demand for the drug and almost certainly exacerbate drug-related crime."
[1] http://www.heritage.org...
[2] http://www.rand.org...

There is no medical benefit to benefit to marijuana, it's only topical. Marijuana is only an anesthetic[3][4]. It numbs a person's pain while doing relatively little to help cure the disease itself. There are other drugs which can serve this same purpose while maintaining a lower risk level of the drug being stolen or sold. Alternatives include; Propofol[5], Halothane[6] and Enflurane[7]. None of which have the same judgement impairing effects of marijuana
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://health.howstuffworks.com...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Second; Marijuana is not a long term solution-
Long term usage of marijuana impairs the body's ability to fight off infections in the lungs by debilitating the body's Lymphocytes (White Blood Cells)[8]. At this realization, one can only see the irony of advocating marijuana as a solution for those suffering from lymphoma who are suffering from the loss of their white blood cells in the first place.
[8] http://www.drugabuse.gov...

The long-term use of marijuana also has substantial negative impacts on education. Studies[9][10] have shown that long-term marijuana usage harms user's short term memory, making it difficult to retain information and perform complex tasks. They also found the long term use resulted in lower scores when taking tests or other academic assessments. The reason behind this was because unlike alcohol, whose debilitating effects go away after the period of intoxication has passed, marijuana usage has residual effect on cognitive abilities
[9] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[10] M. T. Lynskey
[11] Harrison G. Pope and Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, The Residual Cognitive Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use in College Students, 275 jama 521"27 (1996).

Marijuana has even been linked with paranoia and schizophrenia[12][13], sometimes irreversibly so. Researchers declared that "...The primary psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, known as THC, activates cannabinoid receptors, which are found in many brain areas...." "...the effects on individual brain regions were subtle, but brain waves across the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were completely disrupted. These two brain areas are vital for memory and decision-making..." "More recent studies suggest that THC given intravenously to healthy volunteers can induce several psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia, so the authors believe that THC studies be used to model broader aspects of the disease, not just cognitive dysfunction."
[12] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[13] http://psychcentral.com...

The conclusion here, is that marijuana is neither a sustainable treatment for any disease nor is it a particularly ethical prescription for any physician to give their patients. The only recognized medical benefit of marijuana is pain reduction and there are better (cheaper too) alternatives there.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 2
Bodhivaka

Pro

Before I begin my rebuttal, I would like to firstly thank my opponent for his rather swift reply, especially considering the fact that we are approaching one of the most beloved holidays of the year. I hope I will be able to exhibit the same courteous speed as my opponent throughout the duration of this debate.

Concerning the contentions presented by DoctorDeku, he has raised various alleged side-effects of marijuana, some of which are true, most of which are false, and all of which I hope to address; therefore, I shall attempt to tackle each alleged side-effect one by one:

Heart Disease:

The claim that marijuana causes or contributes to heart disease is simply incorrect. In fact, http://www.pubmed.gov... has reported that "a large cohort study showed no association of marijuana use with cardiovascular disease hospitalization or mortality [1]."

Immune System Deficiency:

Just as heart disease, the claim that marijuana use results in immune system deficiency is unsupported by any conclusive evidence. A review by Dr. Leo Hollister states that "the evidence [on immune suppression] has been contradictory and is more supportive of some degree of immunosuppression only when one considers in vitro studies. These have been seriously flawed by the very high concentrations of drug used to produce immunosuppression. The closer that experimental studies have been to actual clinical situations, the less compelling has been the evidence [2]."

Moreover, http://www.norml.org... has stated:

"The immune suppression issue was first raised in research by the notorious cannabophobe Dr. Gabriel Nahas, but a flurry of research by the Reagan administration failed to find anything alarming. The recent discovery of a cannabinoid receptor inside rat spleens, where immune cells reside, raises the likelihood that cannabinoids do exert some sort of influence on the immune system.2 It has even been suggested that these effects might be beneficial for patients with auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, not a single case of marijuana-induced immune deficiency has ever been clinically or epidemiologically detected in humans [3]."

Birth Defects:

Again, there is no conclusive evidence demonstrating that marijuana use results in birth defects. As http://www.norml.org... states:

"While experts generally recommend against any drug use during pregnancy, marijuana has little evidence implicating it in fetal harm, unlike alcohol, cocaine or tobacco. Epidemiological studies have found no evident link between prenatal use of marijuana and birth defects in humans (National Academy of Sciences Report, pg. 99). A recent study by Dr. Susan Astley at the University of Washington refuted an earlier work suggesting that cannabis might cause fetal alcohol syndrome [4]."

Schizophrenia:

Currently there are differing opinions among the scientific community as to whether or not marijuana can result in psychotic symptoms later in life. For example, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Dr. Jason Schiffman reported in an article published in Psychiatric Research that "The onset of schizotypal symptoms generally precedes the onset of cannabis use. The findings do not support a causal link between cannabis use and schizotypal traits [5]."

Many other medical professionals also express sincere doubt concerning the link between marijuana use and psychotic symptoms [6]; therefore, the evidence is not at all conclusive enough to establish my opponent's point.

Paranoia:

As I said in my round 2 post, I agree that marijuana does possess some undesirable side-effects -- paranoia is one of them; however, given the significant advantages marijuana presents, I submit that such a side-effect presents only a minor disadvantage; individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether or not such a side-effect renders marijuana unreasonable for personal medicinal use.

Memory Loss:

Short-term memory loss is also another minor downfall of marijuana use; however, marijuana also ironically helps prevent Alzheimer's [7].

Cancer:

In my research, the only thing I could find which supported the claim that marijuana causes cancer was the fact that inhaling smoke while using the substance can potentially cause lung cancer; however, there are many alternative ways of consuming marijuana which do not involve smoke -- as such, I believe this point is moot; moreover, as I stated in the previous round, there exists an abundance of evidence to suggest that marijuana use actually helps prevent the spread of various cancers.

As to my opponent's assertion that marijuana cannot be employed for long term use, as it "impairs the body's ability to fight off infections in the lungs by debilitating the body's Lymphocytes," the same answer applies; to my knowledge, such a consequence of marijuana use is only the result of smoke inhalation. Alternative methods of cannabis consumption make my opponent's point invalid.


Marijuana is only an Anesthetic:

As I believe I've clearly demonstrated in my last post, there exists numerous authoritative studies which have been conducted both by medical institutes and universities alike that have discovered and documented a multitude of medicinal benefits resulting from marijuana use.

Moreover, the sources my opponent provides to support his assertion that marijuana only serves as an anesthetic are completely irrelevant. His first source only explains what an anesthetic is -- to my knowledge, marijuana is not mentioned at all.

Moreover, the second source my opponent provides doesn't at all state that marijuana is only an anesthetic; rather, it asserts that marijuana helps with pain, muscle spasm, muscle tension, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, and loss of appetite; therefore, the sources use by my opponent only help to strengthen my position.

Marijuana is Addictive:

According to Psychology Today, the most unbiased studies conducted on the subject of marijuana reveal that only about 9% of users will develop a serious addiction [8]. This number is extremely insignificant, especially considering that many legal prescription medications are known to be addictive [9]. Individuals should be entitled to evaluate the risks and make a personal choice concerning any medication, including marijuana.

Marijuana is a Gateway Drug:

No conclusive evidence has ever been presented to demonstrate the claim that marijuana serves as a gateway drug. In fact, http://www.norml.org... states:

"There is no scientific evidence for the theory that marijuana is a 'gateway' drug. The cannabis-using cultures in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America show no propensity for other drugs. The gateway theory took hold in the sixties, when marijuana became the leading new recreational drug. It was refuted by events in the eighties, when cocaine abuse exploded at the same time marijuana use declined. As we have seen, there is evidence that cannabis may substitute for alcohol and other 'hard' drugs. A recent survey by Dr. Patricia Morgan of the University of California at Berkeley found that a significant number of pot smokers and dealers switched to methamphetamine 'ice' when Hawaii's marijuana eradication program created a shortage of pot. Dr. Morgan noted a similar phenomenon in California, where cocaine use soared in the wake of the CAMP helicopter eradication campaign. The one way in which marijuana does lead to other drugs is through its illegality: persons who deal in marijuana are likely to deal in other illicit drugs as well [10]."

Therefore, considering all of the above information, I again submit that marijuana is a safe, non-addictive drug which should be legalized for medicinal use.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[2] http://norml.org...
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org...
[6] Ibid.
[7] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[8] http://www.psychologytoday.com...
[9] http://www.drugabuse.gov...
[10] http://norml.org...
DoctorDeku

Con

I will begin my refutation by responding to the arguments of Marijuana compared to Alcohol and tobacco, and henceforth move on to refute the more pertinent medical argument.

Alcohol and Tobacco-
Quite simply put, the resolution deals with medical marijuana - not recreational. My opponent's argument concerning marijuana's relative safety compared to alcohol and tobacco is really irrelevant; that's like making the claim that doctors should utilize heroin as a cough suppressant, much like what was done prior to 1910[14] because heroin is safer than eating glass sharps.
Glass shards aren't medicine, and neither are alcohol and tobacco.
[14] http://www.businessinsider.com...-

Concerning the medical arguments,
Pro also uses only three different sources for his medically related arguments; HowStuffWorks, Business Insider and Opposing views -- one of which is a blog. Accordingly when debating empirics, con has the preponderance of evidence working in his favor for his more varied sources and for citing articles more directly from the source.

Medical Benefits-

Cancer-
The article my opponent cites for marijuana preventing the spread of cancer is actually taking the original study out of context. The cited business insider article references an article from the Huffington post which references the original study, stating[15] "...cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid with a low-toxicity profile, could down-regulate Id-1 expression in aggressive human breast cancer cells. The CBD concentrations effective at inhibiting Id-1 expression correlated with those used to inhibit the proliferative and invasive phenotype of breast cancer cells."
The evidence was neither conclusive, not did it cure cancer; it only slowed down breast cancer cells in isolation. Furthermore, cannabidiol isn't in marijuana, it's a compound which is created using cannabis; the chemicals can be isolated and made in the absence of marijuana.

Meanwhile, as I show in my constructive, marijuana is not a long-term solution. It doesn't cure anything, it acts as an anesthetic while impairing mental function[9][10][11] and reducing the body's ability to fight off infections by killing T-Cells (white blood cells)[8].
[15] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Alzheimers-
Again, following the article provided by my opponent will lead you to an article hosted by the Huffington Post[16] which details that marijuana serves as an anesthetic - not as a treatment for the disease. So then putting aside the fact that there are plenty of other anesthetics a person could use, we see that the article details an extensive list of side effects from marijuana usage.

"Smoking marijuana can increase a person's heart rate for up to three hours, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Marijuana also contains carcinogens (possibly 50 percent to 70 percent more than cigarettes), making smoking potentially harmful to RA patients, who may already suffer from lung problems.[16]"

"Hazards of these products can include things like bacteria and mold, which would be illegal to sell in regulated food items. Some products may also be prepared in kitchens that aren't licensed, may not adhere to refrigeration schedules, or may be made with allergens like peanuts, but not labeled as such.[16]"

"Dr. Mbakwe is uncomfortable with the lack of control and regulation of medicinal marijuana. She says other medications, like methotrexate, treat the autoimmune disease at the root of the problem, and in turn can control pain and inflammation in combination with pain medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ... On the other hand, while marijuana may help with pain symptoms, it does nothing for the disease progression or organ damage, Dr. Mbakwe says. [16]"
[16] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)-
The Business Insider Article again links to another news media site (this time Reuters[17]) for it's content. The Reuters article stated that marijuana treats the topical symptom, such as spastic movement of those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Not the disease itself. In fact Dr. LaRocca, VP of research and policy at the national MS society had this to say ""But smoking marijuana does not appear to be a long-term solution, because of the cognitive effects," he told Reuters Health.
People with MS are already at some risk of "cognitive changes," LaRocca pointed out, so the potential for lasting effects from long-term marijuana smoking is a concern."
[17] http://www.reuters.com...

Arthritis-
Business Insider links to the Huffington Post again and as with all the other arguments my opponent, the Huffington post[18] details how marijuana is used as an anesthetic; not as a treatment of the disease proper.
Dr. Mbakwe was quoted again, so extend the negative impacts I talked about when refuting my opponent's Alzheimers argument.
also; " Dr. Mbakwe says. 

'If we mask these [symptoms] by giving them marijuana and giving them euphoria, the disease progression will keep getting worse and things like organ damage and severe problems will still occur,' she notes.[18]"

"Another problem that Dr. Mbakwe encounters is that, even though she doesn"t recommend marijuana to her RA patients, she has many who use it for pain, and she says these patients often have a tendency to abuse narcotics. 

'Most patients looking for this have other chronic pain issues and are likely on other controlled substances," Dr. Mbakwe says. "It can be difficult to see who has a tendency toward abuse potential.'[18]"
[18] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

At this point, I would like to remind the voters that I used my opponent's own sources to point out these negative impacts; this evidence was readily available to my opponent and he chose not to cite it in his constructive. All of my opponent's cited evidence points to my prior stated argument that marijuana provides no benefit to a patient except an anesthetic one.

Meanwhile the negative include: carcinogens, weakened immune system, impaired cognitive functions and unsafe production to name a few. not of the alternatives that I've mentioned have these negative implications.

In conclusion, using such a dangerous substance solely as an anesthetic when other more viable alternatives[9][10][11] exist is irresponsible and should not be allowed to happen.

I urge a vote for Con, and look forward to the next round!
Debate Round No. 3
Bodhivaka

Pro

My opponent raises various criticisms against my arguments, particularly concerning the medical benefits of the substance; he also presents contentions against the relativity of my alcohol/tobacco argument; therefore, I shall attempt address all such arguments herein.

Alcohol and Tobacco
:

As my opponent rightly states, using the dangerous effects of alcohol and tobacco alone to advocate the medical legality of a particular substance is certainly insufficient to make my case; however, the point I am trying to make is that given marijuana's medical advantages, it should be a legal medical substance, especially considering that alcohol and tobacco are legal for recreational use.

Obviously if my opponent effectively demonstrates that marijuana possesses no legitimate medical benefits, then his point is valid; however, seeing as how my position advocates the medically advantageous nature of marijuana, my argument should stand to be considered.

Medical Benefits of Marijuana:

Cancer:

Here my opponent asserts that my original source took medical information out of context; however, I believe such a claim is simply incorrect. The medical article from which my source asserts the beneficial effects of marijuana on cancer states that "CBD [cannabidiol] represents the first nontoxic exogenous agent that can significantly decrease Id-1 expression in metastatic breast cancer cells leading to the down-regulation of tumor aggressiveness [1]."

Given such information, it's perfectly accurate to claim that marijuana, which contains cannabidiol, provides beneficial effects for individuals suffering from cancer; moreover, contrary to what my opponent claims, CBD is indeed found in marijuana; in fact, it constitutes about 40% of its extracts [2].

Moreover, as I've stated before, marijuana doesn't just help with breast cancer; rather, THC (a primary chemical found in marijuana) also helps destroy brain cancer cells [3], and research has provided immensely compelling evidence of marijuana's ability to reduce up to 50% of tumor growth in common lung cancer, as well as prevent the spread of the cancer significantly [4]. All of these studies have been conducted and confirmed by esteemed and authoritative universities, including Harvard, UCLA, and the University in Madrid, Spain.

Not only does this information provide convincing evidence of marijuana's ability to prevent and treat cancer, but also puts my opponent's assertion that marijuana only serves as an anesthetic in serious doubt.

Alzheimer's:

Here my opponent again claims at marijuana is only an anesthetic, and asserts that the substance has no beneficial effects on individuals suffering from Alzheimer's; however, contrary my opponent's claims, marijuana has been found to inhibit amyloid plaque (a primary pathological marker) much more effectively than other currently medically approved substances. In fact, a study conducted by Scripps Research Institute and published in the Journal of Molecular Pharmaceutics states that THC is a "considerably superior inhibitor of [amyloid plaque] aggregation [5]."

This information again refutes my opponent's claim that marijuana is only an anesthetic, as well as effectively demonstrates that individuals suffering from Alzheimer's do in fact experience medically beneficial effect as a result of using marijuana.

My opponent also raises contentions concerning the fact that marijuana results in increased heart rate, as well as the fact that it contains up to 50-70% more carcinogens than tobacco; however, what my opponent has failed to mention is that no one has ever been reported to have died directly from marijuana use [6]; as such, my opponent has failed to establish that these side-effects present any real potential danger for users of the substance. Moreover, in 2006, a research team from UCLA found that marijuana did not exhibit any apparent risk of raising the chance of lung cancer in users [7].

Multiple Sclerosis:

Here my opponent contends that for individuals suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, marijuana doesn't actually treat the disease itself; but rather, one of its symptoms (spastic movement). Unfortunately, I don't see how this is a valid point when arguing against the position that marijuana should be legalized as a medical substance. Is my opponent asserting that medications which treat symptoms should not be legal for medical use? Surely he doesn't believe that there are no such things as medications which seek to treat the symptoms of diseases, rather than the diseases themselves.

My opponent also raises further contentions concerning the "cognitive effects" which may result from marijuana use; however, as I've already stated my previous rounds, the evidence is not at all conclusive that there is any correlation between marijuana use and negative cognitive side-effects.

Arthritis:

Again, how is the fact that marijuana can't heal every single aspect of an ailment a valid argument against it being legalized as medical substance? Simply because marijuana works as a pain-killer in the case of arthritis (not as an end-all solution) is no reason to say that it shouldn't be legalized for medicinal use, especially considering the positive effects which have been reported as a result of marijuana use from people suffering from arthritis [8].

Negative Side-Effects Associated With Marijuana:

Carcinogens:

As I've stated before, there are many ways to consume marijuana which do not include smoking it; therefore, this argument is moot. Moreover, as I mentioned earlier in this round, a research team from UCLA was unable to identify any apparent risk of increased chances of lung cancer in people who used marijuana.

Immune-System Deficiency:

My opponent again raises the contention that marijuana presents risks to an individual's immune system; however, I have already addressed this claim in the previous round. Allow me to quote myself:

"Just as heart disease, the claim that marijuana use results in immune system deficiency is unsupported by any conclusive evidence. A review by Dr. Leo Hollister states that 'the evidence [on immune suppression] has been contradictory and is more supportive of some degree of immunosuppression only when one considers in vitro studies. These have been seriously flawed by the very high concentrations of drug used to produce immunosuppression. The closer that experimental studies have been to actual clinical situations, the less compelling has been the evidence.'"

I also provided an interesting quote from norml.org last round on this matter. I encourage my opponent to read it again.

Impaired Cognitive Functions:

Many legal medications result in impaired cognitive functions, especially in various types of sleeping medications. As a report on pubmed.org states, "iatrogenically induced cognitive deficits are common with pharmacological therapy [9]."

Unsafe Production:

Unsafe production is the result of lacking regulation. With marijuana fully legalized as a medical substance and regulated by the food and drug administration, such a problem would no longer present a problem; therefore, I submit that my opponent's point is moot.

I am not saying marijuana has no side-effects at all -- most medications do. But the benefits of marijuana far outweigh its faults.

Given this information, I encourage voters to vote in favor of the resolution.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...
[4] http://www.sciencedaily.com...
[5] http://www.scripps.edu...
[6] http://www.webmd.com...
[7] http://www.webmd.com...
[8] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

DoctorDeku

Con

I thank my opponent for his refutations and I thank the voters for reading.

Heart Disease-
The article my opponent links and quotes in refutation does not lead to a source where the content of his quotation can views. Whereas the Heritage foundation clearly shows that heart disease comes with prolonged exposure to marijuana. Furthermore even the American Heart Foundation[19] backs this claim with even more evidence on the matter.
[19] http://www.heart.org...

To claim marijuana has no effect on the heart is the height of irresponsibility.

Immune System Deficiency-
I would like to point out the my opponents cited source for his immune system argument, Norml.org, is a source with the express purpose of legalizing marijuana. Furthermore he doesn't he link to the article he links to the site's homepage; whereas I have offered several qualified academic sources to suggest that long-term marijuana usage harms the body's T-Cells, especially in the lungs where blood is oxygenated.

It wasn't Dr. Nahas that I cited to show the effects of marijuana on the immune system, it was a collaborative study headed by Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA director. The study explicitly stated that[20]

"marijuana smoke does irritate the lungs and increases the likelihood of other respiratory problems through exposure to carcinogens and other toxins. Repeated exposure to marijuana smoke can lead to daily cough and excess phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illnesses, and a greater risk of lung infections. Marijuana also affects the immune system"
[20] http://www.drugabuse.gov...

Birth Defects-
Again my opponent cites the marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML; this evidence is biased and should not be preferred against the evidence the Con provides. Furthermore pregnant women should not partake of any manner of smoke related products. Marijuana can cause significant harm to a fetus just as cigarettes or alcohol can.

From Otis Prenancy,
"Marijuana contains about 400 different chemicals, and some marijuana cigarettes may contain other drugs or pesticides ... one study reported an increased risk for heart defects among babies prenatally exposed to marijuana.[21]"
[21] http://www.otispregnancy.org...

Finally I would like to point out to the voters that in my opponent's very own refutations he compares marijuana to the likes of alcohol and cocaine; I cannot stress this enough, but these are not medicine. Saying that marijuana is safer than cocaine is not a reason to use it in medicine. For recreational use, people should be able to do whatever they want; but in medical usage we shouldn't allow something because it's safer than cocaine.

Schizophrenia and Paranois-
I will group these two arguments;
I will at this point respond the issue of empirically accountability civilly, but with urgency; My opponent has consistently make harsh empirical claims throughout this debate and linked to either an article from an unreputable or outright biased sourse; the refutation here comes from ProCon.org, and doesn't even link to a specific study.
This is not an academic source and shouldn't be accepted on the basis of the preponderance of evidence against my prior cited sources which do indeed show a direct casual link between marijuana usage and psychosis of the brain[13]

"This showed that the effects on individual brain regions were subtle, but brain waves across the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were completely disrupted. These two brain areas are vital for memory and decision-making, so the rats were no longer able to accurately navigate a maze. Both areas are also involved in schizophrenia."

Cancer-
This refutation is wholly unacceptable. I offer legitimate evidence to warrant the arguments on marijuana's link to cancer, and my opponent simply claims that this was not what he found in his research.

This argument is a drop from my opponent and should be directly extended.

Anesthetic-
By the preponderance of evidence my cited evidence shows that marijuana is indeed an anesthetic. Furthermore in my attacks of the Pro case I show by explicitly citing my opponent own sources that marijuana is only ever used in some regards to anesthesia; it numbs the body's pain which while it does relax the patient does nothing to treat their condition Look directly to my refutations of my opponent's arguments in the prior round.

I cite Dr. Mbakwe saying, [16]"...other medications, like methotrexate, treat the autoimmune disease at the root of the problem, and in turn can control pain and inflammation in combination with pain medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ... On the other hand, while marijuana may help with pain symptoms, it does nothing for the disease progression or organ damage"

be mindful that this evidence was provided by Pro, not me; it is legitimate ans shows that marijuana has not medical benefit beyond anesthesia.

Addictive-
My opponent sources don't lead to the cited article, they lead to the main webpages of NIDA and Psychology Today; there is not empircal or unbiased study to follow in order to solidify my opponent's claims.
Furthermore, a simply search of the NIDA website validifies my claim of addictiveness[22]. It states, "Long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction; that is, people have difficulty controlling their drug use and cannot stop even though it interferes with many aspects of their lives.[22]" and " ...marijuana accounted for 4.5 million of the estimated 7.1 million Americans dependent on or abusing illicit drugs.1 In 2009, approximately 18 percent of people aged 12 and older entering drug abuse treatment programs reported marijuana as their primary drug of abuse...[22]"
[22] http://www.drugabuse.gov...

quite frankly I'm not sure what my opponent is attempting to cite.

Gateway Drug-.
NORML.org is again being utilized here. This evidence is biased and should be rejected. Aside from that my original argumen concerning marijuana as a gateway drugs referred to it as such because made a gateway for other drugs to come into the country[2]; it has opened a gateway for drug trafficking and crime to prosper and run rampant.

This argument concerning crime was never addressed

Now at the end of this rebuttal three things remain clear;

- Marijuana is not a sustainable treatment for any manner of disease. The only function it serves in the medical community is an anesthetic one; even my opponent's evidence points to this truth. Any vote for the Pro would be irresponsible and place patients in harms way where there are plenty of alternatives to marijuana usage

- Pro's refutation (as well as advocacy, which we'll get to in the next speech) concern themselves with marijuana on a recreational level. Not a medical level. All of the negative impacts I have provided, both through my constructive as well as my rebuttals have been met with responses of marijuana's relative safeness compared to such recreational drugs as alcohol as cocaine. Comparative safety to the likes of cocaine does not warrant usage in medicine.

- The significant amount of harms associated with medical marijuana do not warrant it's sole usage as an anesthetic . I show such impacts as psychosis, immune system deficiency and heart disease which my opponent only meets with weak rebuttals from biased sources. These impacts must be acknowledged and we must be mindful of them; denying them for the sake of argumentation is irresponsible and could put lives at risk if voted on.

I urge the voters to consider these issues; marijuana may be viable as a recreational drug, but should not be used in medicine where patients entrust their lives expecting to be taken care of. There are reasonable alternatives to marijuana.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
Bodhivaka

Pro

It appears this debate has become principally focused on the medical benefits of marijuana as opposed to its potential dangers; therefore, whether or not I am able to sustain the resolution of this debate will depend primarily on my ability to demonstrate that marijuana's medicinal advantages outweigh it's downfalls.

Sustaining the Medicinal Advantages of Marijuana:

Cancer:

I have provided various authoritative research studies, all of which confirm marijuana's ability to prevent and/or treat a number of cancers, including breast, brain, and lung cancer [1] [2] [3]. As my sources state, such studies have been conducted by respected universities and esteemed researchers.

Multiple Sclerosis:

I have effectively demonstrated through authoritative research that marijuana helps individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis by decreasing spastic movement and pain [4].

Alzheimer's:

I have provided evidence that marijuana has been found to inhibit amyloid plaque (a primary pathological marker) much more effectively than other currently medically approved substances, thereby providing significant help for people suffering from Alzheimer's [5].

Arthritis:

By presenting authoritative research, I have demonstrated that marijuana possesses the ability to help arthritis sufferers with their pain [6].

Chronic Pain:

I have provided strong evidence that marijuana helps with pain in general, most importantly chronic pain [7].

Other Benefits:

I have provided research demonstrating that marijuana helps prevent and/or treat glaucoma, epileptic seizures, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle tension, muscle spasm, insomnia, and inflammatory bowel disease [8] [9].

Addressing the Potential Dangers of Marijuana:

Cancer:

The only kind of cancer my opponent cites as a potential danger of marijuana is related to marijuana smoke. I've stated numerous times that such a point is moot, seeing as how marijuana need not be consumed through smoking. My opponent states that I have dropped this point, but I have done no such thing; rather, I have provided strong evidence to counter my opponent's claims.

Heart Disease:

As far as I could find, the source my opponent has provided says nothing of marijuana, only cocain. My opponent also states that my source link does not lead to the information I've provided, which is true; I'm not entirely sure what happened to my link and I apologize for the inconvenience -- the information can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov....

Again, my source states that "a large cohort study showed no association of marijuana use with cardiovascular disease hospitalization or mortality," thereby refuting my opponent's claim.

Immune System Deficiency:

Again, the assertion that marijuana poses threats to the immune system is simply not supported by the evidence. Dr. Leo E. Hollister, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Texas Medical School has reported in a research study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs that:

"The evidence [on immune suppression] has been contradictory and is more supportive of some degree of immunosuppression only when one considers in vitro studies. These have been seriously flawed by the very high concentrations of drug used to produce immunosuppression. The closer that experimental studies have been to actual clinical situations, the less compelling has been the evidence [10]."

Birth Defects:

My opponent criticizes my source for being biased, despite the fact that he has continually used heritage.org as a source (a website whose express purpose is to propagate conservative thinking).

My source quotes information reported from the National Academy of Sciences, which states that no evidential links between marijuana and birth defects have been found [11]. Although norml.org seek to legalize marijuana, it uses unbiased, peer-reviewed sources and research to accomplish its purposes.

Psychological Side-Effects:

Although I've conceded to the argument that paranoia is a potential side-effect of marijuana, I uphold my position that there is currently no conclusive evidence demonstrating a link between marijuana use and schizophrenia. As Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Dr. Jason Schiffman states in an article published in Psychiatric Research, "the onset of schizotypal symptoms generally precedes the onset of cannabis use. The findings do not support a causal link between cannabis use and schizotypal traits [12]."

Carcinogens:

Again, this is only a problem assuming one consumes marijuana through smoking. There a many ways to consume marijuana which do not include smoking, and therefore this point is moot.

Problems with Crime:

Any prescription drug faces problems with crime. Is my opponent asserting that a beneficial substance should be withheld from suffering individuals simply because criminals would do the same thing with it that they do with nearly all other prescription drugs?

Conclusion:

Marijuana is not a miracle drug. It does not heal everything, nor does it come without some undesirable side-effects; however, the simple fact of the matter is that most medications in general exhibit the same limited capabilities. The case I have attempted to make in this debate is that marijuana is just as suitable a medication as many other legal medicinal substances, and it therefore deserves to be considered as a serious candidate for medical legalization.

I believe I have provided compelling, peer-reviewed scientific evidence of marijuana's ability to treat numerous conditions while only presenting minor or otherwise reasonable side-effects; for this, I encourage the voters to vote Pro.

I further apologize for the relatively brief nature of this post (then again, perhaps you are thanking me for it :P). Seeing as how I am preparing to celebrate the new year, I have tried to keep this short; however, I believe I have managed to sufficiently communicate my case, both in this post and previous ones.

I would like to thank my opponent for his contributions to this debate. I greatly appreciate his arguments, and extend my utmost sincere gratitude to him for helping to make this an enlightening and intellectually stimulating debate.

Lastly, I would like to wish both my opponent, the readers, and the voters a happy new year!


________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[2] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...
[3] http://www.sciencedaily.com...
[4] http://www.reuters.com...
[5] http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[7] http://www.webmd.com...
[8] http://health.howstuffworks.com...
[9] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[10] http://web.acsalaska.net...
[11] http://norml.org...
[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
DoctorDeku

Con

In review of this debate from beginning to end, and with a mindful approach taken towards the burdens of both the Pro and the Con, I will use this round to crystallize the key issues and warrant a vote for the Con. I urge that the votes be mindful of the arguments presented in this round.

First, my opponent outlines in his first round of debate that he intends to uphold two areas contention to warrant a vote for the Pro. The medical Benefits of marijuana and the safety of marijuana. The second point of contention, the safety of marijuana, has has since been dropped; my opponent recognizes that there are explicit negative impacts to marijuana and that it is not a wholly safe drug as he originally claimed

This drop, signified by the drop of the alcohol and tobacco argument is the first reason to vote Con.

Next,
In my opponent's constructive to this debate he outlines four areas of suggested medical benefit that result for the usage of medical marijuana. These four areas are: Cancer, Alzheimers, MS and Arthritis. These are the only medical benefits that should be considered as any other medical benefits would have been new arguments; however in warrant these argument he cites only Business Insider and HowStuffWorks until the previous last round.
The means that the 'chronic pain' and 'other benefits' voter my opponent offers are illegitimate and should be stricken from the flow.

The Business Insider article expressly details that for Cancer, Alzeimers, MS and Arthritis marijuana serves as an anesthetic only, not attacking the core problems associated with this disease. As cited from MD Dr. Mbakwe in round 3, "Dr. Mbakwe is uncomfortable with the lack of control and regulation of medicinal marijuana. She says other medications, like methotrexate, treat the autoimmune disease at the root of the problem, and in turn can control pain and inflammation in combination with pain medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ... On the other hand, while marijuana may help with pain symptoms, it does nothing for the disease progression or organ damage, Dr. Mbakwe says. [16]"

Marijuana only relieves pain while causing substantial damage to vital organs. Marijuana is not a sustainable treatment as there are a number of viable alternative for anesthetic relief. These alternatives include Propofol[5], Halothane[6] and Enflurane[7], none of which have the same negative-effects of marijuana. This argument was never addressed.

In round 4 my opponent expands the benefits of medical marijuana in treating breast cancer through the use of Cannabidol, but I show in round 3 that it only helps breast cancer and second that it can be produced artificially."[15]Clinically, there are still limited therapeutic interventions for aggressive and metastatic breast cancers available. Clearly, effective and nontoxic therapies are urgently required. Id-1, an inhibitor of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, has recently been shown to be a key regulator of the metastatic potential of breast and additional cancers. Using a mouse model, we previously determined that metastatic breast cancer cells became significantly less invasive in vitro and less metastatic in vivo when Id-1 was down-regulated by stable transduction with antisense Id-1. It is not possible at this point, however, to use antisense technology to reduce Id-1 expression in patients with metastatic breast cancer."

As for Alzheimers which my opponent states alzheimers cures, this isn't the case whatsoever; "[4]Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease" marijuana has been shown to slow the effects of alzheimers but not do away with them entirely.

This is the second reason to vote Con.

Next, I would like to address the issue of evidence. I have shown numerous times in this debate where my opponent has cited either uncredible evidence or where he miscites evidence. Norml.org is the biggest example of this bad evidence, but other examples include outright rejecting my evidence regarding Paranoia and Shizophrenia; even the evidence he cites in the prior round supports me here, stating "[]Findings suggest that regular cannabis users are significantly more prone to cognitive and perceptual distortions as well as disorganization, but not interpersonal deficits, than non-regular users and those who have never used."
[23] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Furthermore in offering his voters Pro never actually expands upon the reasons he is winning the arguments concerning Cancer, Alzheimers, MS and Arthritis. He simply claims that he has cited authoritative evidence to support his claims. These should be considered drops as these are appeals to authority that never actually cite the authority. Placing a link in a debate does not stand to warrant the arguments made.

This is third reason to vote con.

I thank my opponent for this debate, and all those who took the time to read it.
Debate Round No. 5
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by johnlubba 1 year ago
johnlubba
Trust me, Continued use of high grade weed is dagerous to the individuals mental health.
Posted by Bodhivaka 1 year ago
Bodhivaka
@wrichcirw,

As far as I am aware, all of the States which have legalized marijuana permit smoking it, haha :P

Also, thanks for voting! :)
Posted by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
Oh, forgot to add,

Thanks Bodhi for posting this debate. Very interesting.

Out of curiosity, do the current laws that do make pot legal for these purposes also allow smoking of pot?

I ask because I hate the smell, lol :D
Posted by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
1) Not a good sign if I have to make notes about round #1:
a) PRO can use a spell checker.
b) CON: "balanced neg' approach" - no idea WTF this is.
2) PRO: "to my knowledge, such a consequence of marijuana use is only the result of smoke inhalation." This is a very weak and unsourced assertion. Better to just not make it and use the space for something more productive. I believe this paragraph cost you 300-500 characters.
3) PRO: "reveal that only about 9% of users will develop a serious addiction..." wow, wtf...why are you arguing CON's case here?? The fact that your sources don't work doesn't bolster your case at all.
4) None of PRO's sources in round #3 link to information, only to a gateway sites.
5) CON: "My opponent's argument concerning marijuana's relative safety compared to alcohol and tobacco is really irrelevant." Good point.
6) CON: "All of my opponent's cited evidence points to my prior stated argument that marijuana provides no benefit to a patient except an anesthetic one." CON wholly discredits PRO's case here in round #3. Will await a substantive rebuttal.
7) PRO's sources much more substantive in round #4
8) CON: "he compares marijuana to the likes of alcohol and cocaine" Guilt by association, lol...
9) CON re cancer: "This argument is a drop from my opponent and should be directly extended." Not so fast. PRO had some sourced legitimate claims. Dodge by CON here does not help his case. Not only that, this alone is enough to justify the resolution. Pity.

Bottom line: PRO passes BoP with cancer and alzheimers. Marijuana has side effects, but so do most legal drugs.

Very well argued by CON, but the dodge on cancer was too much. Will award sources to CON because PRO was exceptionally sloppy in round #2, #3 re sources. Will give conduct for this reason to CON as well.

TIE.
Posted by 16kadams 1 year ago
16kadams
I agree with pro, but this is unrelated to the debate: NORMLS advocacy for marihuana use will eventually harm society.
Posted by DoctorDeku 1 year ago
DoctorDeku
My internet is messing up one me.
Posted by DoctorDeku 1 year ago
DoctorDeku
I have to run to town to cash a check, but I'm going to start on my round as soon as I get home!
Thanks for the patience.
Posted by Bodhivaka 1 year ago
Bodhivaka
Haha, no problem :P

And Merry Christmas :D
Posted by DoctorDeku 1 year ago
DoctorDeku
Ah, alright gotcha :-).
I'll try to respond as soon as possible. I just got back from my grandparents house and I'm kind of exhausted. To be honest I likely won't touch this debate again until tomorrow (these 8000 character rounds are killer XD).
Posted by Bodhivaka 1 year ago
Bodhivaka
DoctorDeku, Ibid is a Latin phrase meaning "the same place."

Basically, it means that the source is the same one as the one before it.

For example:

[1] Wikipedia
[2] Ibid.

The Ibid. means that the source is also from Wikipedia :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Jarhyn 1 year ago
Jarhyn
BodhivakaDoctorDekuTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Convincingness: PRO argued that medicinal marijuana is no different in character than other medicines. CON argued that marijuana is an anesthetic, and thus has conceded the debate, as anesthetics are medicines, particularly in chronic conditions. PRO's sources source all their claims, and PRO demonstrated the unreliablity of CON's sources.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 1 year ago
wrichcirw
BodhivakaDoctorDekuTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments, well argued by CON but not well enough.