Debate Rounds (3)
12 December 2014
Marijuana for Medical Purposes.
Charlotte Figi was a patient in Colorado, she began having seizures soon after birth and was having up to 300 a week even though she was on seven other prescription medicines. Medical marijuana calmed her brain and limited her seizures to two or three a month. Right there is an example of how medical marijuana can greatly help people with whatever sort of problems or diseases they have. All states should allow the use of medicinal marijuana, but only for medical use.
Many people already believe that the legal use of medical marijuana should happen. The partnership at DrugFree.org found that " 70 percent of respondants support the medical use of marijuana, 40 percent of respondants supported the legalization of marijuana all together" (Hargis). This shows that people believe it should be available, and they know how it could help people. Those who do not support it may believe that it is dangerous and should not be legal. What they might not realize is that " some 50,000 people each year die from alcohol poisoning and 400,000 people die from tobacco each year, but marijuana is a non-toxic drug that cannot cause death by overdose " (Hargis). Therefore it is actually fairly safe, and would not cause death. For these reasons of people believing it should be legalized and that is fairly safe, states have been making the change or been thinking about it.
States have already been legalizing and many people are accepting the change. " Illinois is the most recent state to legalize medicinal marijuana, making a total of 20 U.S states and the district of Columbia that allow its medical use" (Hargis). Now that more states have been allowing its use it has gotten more controversy and more states have been looking into allowing it. Although states have been allowing its medical use, some people would believe that it would be abused and used for other purposes than medical uses. This would be true in some instances but " it does not have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications," wrote Gupta, " a neurosurgeon who has been studying marijuana for 12 or 13 years" (Hargis). Since states have been making the change of allowing it now people with diseases or disorders to get help.
Allowing the use of medicinal marijuana could very well help people with disorders and diseases. It would allow them to be helped with whatever they might have. " It is specifically used to alleviate pain such as damage, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders" (Also) a powerful appetite stimulant, which is beneficial for patients suffering from dementia, HIV and AIDS" (Hargis). Along with actual real examples of how it has helped people like with Charlotte, medicinal marijuana can help people. There are many possible reasons that people would disagree with allowing the use. For example people may think that it would be at great risk for abuse and death from overdose, although it is not true. " Someone dies in the U.S every 19 minutes from prescription drug overdose"but as much as I searched I could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose" Gupta says (Hargis). Also seen from earlier marijuana is a non-toxic drug that cant cause death by overdose. If medical marijuana would not cause death and could really help people it should be allowed.
All states should let marijuana for medical purposes be aloud, but only for the use of helping someone. Medical marijuana could actually help people with medical problems. In many cases it could even save lives. Many people already believe that it should be legalized and may states have already made the change. Although there may be chances of abuse, it would not cause death from overdose. If this change allowing its medical use would help people, why should it not be allowed? Making the change could make a big difference in the lives of people who need it. All states should think about this change and allow it to be used to help or even save lives.
Hargis, Cydney. "Medicinal Cannabis in an Era of Change." Global Information Network. 10 Aug. 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
"Pot for Medical Purposes? Sure. For Getting High? No." USA TODAY. 30 Oct. 2012: A.10. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
You have argued that medical marijuana has been shown to alleviate seizures. However, one could argue that this is not the case. Seizures are caused by a range of factors , and various medical or physical treatments are used, to alleviate the various symptoms associated with seizures . Further to this, considering your case alone, there may be a range of different environmental factors at play that has alleviated the cause of Charlotte"s seizures. How do we know that it was medical marijuana specifically that caused her seizures to go? As humans are often exposed to a range of different environments, there may have been another environmental factor at play that has alleviated her symptoms. In saying that, there may be a correlation between medical marijuana use and lower rates of seizures but as there is no extensive clinical studies exhibiting this phenomenon, your example can be seen as a special case.
Now, you have argued that medical marijuana is not toxic. Let us consider the definition of toxic. "Toxic - containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation", as per Webster dictionary. From this, we can consider the term toxic to refer to the possible chemical composition of marijuana that can cause either of death or serious debilitation. However, there have not been any extensive clinical studies pertaining to the toxicity of marijuana that I have been able to find. Hence, there is no scientific basis that marijuana is "fairly safe and would not cause death", if we were to think of the toxicity of marijuana. However, the dangers of marijuana, if we were not to consider the toxicity of marijuana but the physiological aspects of marijuana in affecting an individuals body are quite apparent. One study has noted that the effects of marijuana generally affect individuals differently . That is to say, individuals with a personality structure that is considered weak generally have a more adverse effect to marijuana, than individuals who are considered having a more stable personality structure. Hence, marijuana tends to have a more pronounced psychological effect on different users, which can cause the user to be more prone to dangerous actions.
Countering your argument that many people believe that medical marijuana use should happen, isn"t that a generalisation? For instance, various socioeconomic statuses within America use marijuana at different rates. Generally, higher socioeconomic status individuals use marijuana less than individuals who are of a lower socioeconomic status . As well as this, the proportion of individuals belonging to each socioeconomic status in America, and in its associated states, generally vary. Hence, from what I have gathered, your referenced study (Hargis) has not utilised an extensive interview process. As well as this, due to the fact that they haven"t necessarily gathered information from various states in America, they have introduced a selection bias, skewing their results. I would argue that the information you have provided, while relevant, does not necessarily represent the many people throughout the states in America, and as they have not detailed the demographics of their respondents, how do we know for sure that the respondents represent a range of different socioeconomic or ethnic backgrounds? From this, more extensive surveys are needed to truly find the opinion of the average American, free from selection bias or negative skewing.
Lastly, why should states allow marijuana use be only for medical purposes? What is stopping the general public from using marijuana for recreational purposes? Generally, as has been exhibited in society already, marijuana can be obtained via unscrupulous methods and through this, more often than not; marijuana is used in a recreational manner. If marijuana were to be legalised for medical use only, then essentially the illegal drug trade can claim that the marijuana they are selling is for medicinal purposes, thereby going through an apparent loop hole and there isn"t theoretically a possible method for authorities to refute this claim.
From all this, I argue that medical marijuana should not be legalised. The primary reasons being that there have not been any extensive clinical studies associated with the toxicity of marijuana. As well as this, there has not been any extensive interview processes into deciding the public"s opinion of medical marijuana legalisation, removing selection bias. Further to this, by legalising marijuana for medical use only, you are essentially freeing the illegal drug trade to claim that their marijuana, intended for recreational users, is medicinal marijuana, thereby creating a loop hole within the legal system.
1 - Nlm.nih.gov, (2014). Seizures: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov... [Accessed 17 Dec. 2014].
2 - Better Health Channel, (2014). Epilepsy - Better Health Channel. [online] Available at: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au... [Accessed 17 Dec. 2014].
3 " Smith. David, Mehl. Carter. An Analysis of Marijuana Toxicity. Clinical Toxicology. 1970: 101-115
4 " Lemstra. Mark et al. A Meta-analysis of Marijuana and Alcohol Use by Socio-economic Status in Adolescents Aged 10-15 Years. 2007:172-177
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