The Instigator
Pro (for)
6 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Resolved: In the United States, medical marijuana ought to be legalized.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/5/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,422 times Debate No: 12248
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)




Thank you to whomever accepts this debate, and I wish you the best of luck!

Define: medical marijuana-any cannabinoid used to improve the health of sick patient
ought-is desirable
legalized-not against the law

1. Current medical practices leave too many people in pain, and leave them little options to make their condition sustainable.

According the the CDC(1), there are over 450,000 people in the United States with HIV/AIDS. Such patients have had little hope in receiving treatment that will make their condition sustainable. When a patient has HIV/AIDS, they tend to lose weight at a dangerous pace, because they can hardly keep any food down due to their condition. The most common problems are diarrhea and nausea. Most antiretroviral drugs on the market can cause these symptoms to worsen. The international AIDS organization AVERT(2) reports, "Diarrhea is a common side effect of many antiretroviral drugs – especially protease inhibitors. Other possible causes include HIV, other infections and antibiotics. Sometimes an antiretroviral drug causes diarrhea for only the first few weeks; in other cases this side effect lasts for as long as the drug is taken... Almost all antiretroviral drugs, as well as many other medications, can cause nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. Although this side effect can reduce appetite, it is important to keep eating when possible, and to replace lost fluids and electrolytes (as with diarrhea)." Professor Mark Cichocki, an HIV/AIDS educator at the University of Michigan cites a table(3) that goes through over 20 common AIDS medications, which range from $263.85 a month to as high as $1164.35 month. AIDS medication can be extremely expensive, as MSNBC(4) reports that an average AIDS patient will spend over $600,000 in their lifetime on treatment, or $25,200 a year. Seeing as current AIDS medication not only runs the risk of being counter-productive by making symptoms worse, but can also cost a large fortune to the patient, there is a definite need to change the current path of AIDS treatment.

2. Empirical evidence proves that medical marijuana has obvious health benefits that make it a viable alternative to current medication.

Investigators at Columbia University(5)(6) published clinical trial data in 2007 showing that HIV/AIDS patients who inhaled cannabis four times daily experienced substantial increases in food intake with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance. They concluded that smoked marijuana has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive patients. In another study in 2008, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (7) found that marijuana significantly reduces HIV-related neuropathic pain when added to a patient's already-prescribed pain management regimen and may be an "effective option for pain relief" in those whose pain is not controlled with current medications. Mood disturbance, physical disability, and quality of life all improved significantly during study treatment. Despite management with opioids and other pain modifying therapies, neuropathic pain continues to reduce the quality of life and daily functioning in HIV-infected individuals. Cannabinoid receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems have been shown to modulate pain perception. No serious adverse effects were reported, according to the study published by the American Academy of Neurology (8). Such findings conclude that medical marijuana has the potential to combat pain and other symptoms that current medications do not, while at the same time not having the horrible side-effects that current antiretroviral drugs create. Former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders(11) also confirms its effectiveness over mainstream medications by advocating, "The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS -- or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day." Finally, medical marijuana is also proven to prevent AIDS patients from losing necessary weight. Dr. Donald Abrams (12) concluded from his study, "Patients receiving cannabinoids [smoked marijuana and marijuana pills] had improved immune function compared with those receiving placebo. They also gained about 4 pounds more on average than those patients receiving placebo."

3. Keeping medical marijuana illegal only worsens the situations of severely ill patients.

Patients who may be seeking out medical marijuana are incriminated for trying to better their health. Kelly Ross Ph.D. complains, "It is tempting to say that today we don't have laws like the "fugitive slave laws." That would be a serious self-deception. The prisons are full of people who have done nothing wrong, except be in possession of a "controlled substance" that the federal government, at least, has no authority under the Constitution to "control." People dying of cancer or AIDS have been arrested and jailed just for growing and smoking marijuana, the only thing that enables them to eat, take their medication, and stay alive." As Ross shows, many AIDS patients don't even have the capacity to take the medication that they have. Taking medical marijuana along with their other medications may be their only hope at survival. Another former Surgeon General Dr. Jesse L. Steinfeld(10) noted, ""It [medical marijuana] should be an option for patients who have it recommended by knowledgeable physicians." However, incriminating the use of it requires patients to seek it out the black market, without any guidance from a trained physician or doctor. Therefore, they are not instructed on dosage amounts, frequency, or duration of medication. By forcing patients to take their health into their own hands, they may not be getting the right help they really need.

Thank you, and I wish best of luck to the neg.

5. Haney M, Gunderson EW, Rabkin J, et al. (August 2007). "Dronabinol and marijuana in HIV-positive marijuana smokers. Caloric intake, mood, and sleep". Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 45 (5): 545–54. doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31811ed205. ISSN 1525-4135. PMID 17589370.
6. Abrams DI, Hilton JF, Leiser RJ, et al. (August 2003). "Short-term effects of cannabinoids in patients with HIV-1 infection: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial". Annals of Internal Medicine 139 (4): 258–66. ISSN 0003-4819. PMID 12965981.
7. Ellis RJ, Toperoff W, Vaida F, et al. (February 2009). "Smoked medicinal cannabis for neuropathic pain in HIV: a randomized, crossover clinical trial". Neuropsychopharmacology 34 (3): 672–80. doi:10.1038/npp.2008.120. ISSN 0893-133X. PMID 18688212.
8. Abrams DI, Jay CA, Shade SB, et al. (February 2007). "Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial". Neurology 68 (7): 515–21. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000253187.66183.9c. ISSN 0028-3878. PMID 17296917.
9. Kelly L. Ross, Ph.D., Retired Professor of Philosophy at Los Angeles Valley College, 2000. "Jury Nullification and the Rule of Law." Accessed 9/8/09,
11. "Myths About Medical Marijuana," Providence Journal, Mar. 26, 2004
12. Donald Abrams, MD, et al. "Short-Term Effects of Cannabinoids in Patients with HIV-1 Infection," Annals of Internal Medicine Aug. 19, 2003


Thank you for making this debate.

1. All definitions are accepted.

1."Current medical practices leave too any people in pain, and leave them little options to make their condition sustainable."

R1. You only address those with HIV/AIDS. Why not those with headaches and sprains and chest pains? Why not the hypochondriacs who think they have AIDS/HIV. Why don't we give babies who are teething a little puff?

_where my opponent starts debating_
R2. well as long as we make them hungry and reduce their pain it should be legal let's no worry about the future lets not worry about how much pain they'll be in then, but hey just as long as we keep them from throwing here's a joint.
my opponent goes on to state the obvious of what marijuana does to the human body if a perfectly healthy person were to smoke marijuana the same thing would happen he would get hungry go into a high that reliefs pain and eventually die of lung cancer.
what is interesting is what the Dr. says " And it can do so with remarkable safety" apparently she doesn't know the side effects of marijuana the side effects examples are dysphoria, tachycardia, motor and coordination impairment, and introduction of contaminants and so on "The campaign to legitimize what is called 'medical' marijuana is based on two propositions: that science views marijuana as medicine, and that DEA targets sick and dying people using the drug. Neither proposition is true. Smoked marijuana has not withstood the rigors of science – it is not medicine and it is not safe." As you see can see I like to debate with quotes as well. Also There are no FDA-approved medications that are smoked. For one thing, smoking is generally a poor way to deliver medicine. It is difficult to administer safe, regulated dosages of medicines in smoked form. Secondly, the harmful chemicals and carcinogens that are byproducts of smoking create entirely new health problems. There are four times the level of tar in a marijuana cigarette, for example, than in a tobacco cigarette."
Wow someone who was doing drugs gained weight that's a first jk but seriously marijuana is proven to also when you used by anyone give you the munchies so it's nothing new that who's doing marijuana gains weight.
let me explain the side effects mentioned earlier
dysphoria- An emotional state marked by anxiety, depression, and restlessness.
tachycardia- 1. Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, which generally has a rate of 140 to 200 beats per minute, develops spontaneously, and stops and starts suddenly, but may recur

2. Atrial flutter, in which the atria beat at 240 to 300 beats per minute, although the actual pulse rate is much slower, because not all of these impulses are translated into contractions of the ventricles

3. Ventricular tachycardia, a very serious arrhythmia initiated in the ventricles, in which the heart rate is usually between 150 and 250

R3. "patients who may be seeking out medical marijuana are incriminated for trying to better their health" well they went against the law and they weren't bettering their health they were making it worse in the end after all is said and done marijuana is bad for you it kills you and lets be honest, most people who want it legalized are pot heads themselves and those who are getting "treatment" by smoking marijuana probably are already addicted to it and can't stop.

"by forcing patients to take their health into their own hands, they may not be getting the right help they really need."
the help they need is common sense they know that marijuana is illegal that it harms the body and are only using it for short term use since they are going to die they don't to feel pain and marijuana is the easiest drug to get a dying man in pain not getting help from his doctor apparently because that's what the pro is offering instead of medication actual pain relievers we give people a drug a gateway drug that kills is just as addicting maybe even more than tobacco. Imagine what were to happen if it was legalized tobacco companies would be all over it saying well if they're are getting for pain relief why can't we sell it for pain relief? maybe just for laughs tobacco companies will do what they always do and advertise marijuana with pictures at kids eye levels.

My opponent hasn't offered any actual proof as too marijuana being legalized for in his 1st argument he just spouts off a few facts in his 2nd he makes flawed arguments and uses doctors who have been in investigated for using marijuana we can see why they're advocates for it and in his 3rd argument............. I'll just leave it at that I await my opponents rebut
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you to my opponent and I look forward to seeing how this progresses in future rounds.

In response to my contention one which states, "Current medical practices leave too any people in pain, and leave them little options to make their condition sustainable." My opponent claimed, R1. "You only address those with HIV/AIDS. Why not those with headaches and sprains and chest pains? Why not the hypochondriacs who think they have AIDS/HIV. Why don't we give babies who are teething a little puff?"

My response:

1. Although I focus primarily on HIV/AIDS because this is the medical condition in which medical marijuana is most needed, there are also a plenty of other reasons why medical marijuana would be extremely beneficial to health.

Dr. Ethan Russo(1), Senior Medical advisor at the Cannibinoid Research Institute and Professor of the University of Washington makes a list of many diseases/sicknesses/disorders/illnesses/symptoms in which medical marijuana would provide relief including, "migraines, neuropathic pain, post-amputation pain, neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, nausea of cancer chemotherapy, AIDS wasting, motion sickness, menstrual cramps, glaucoma, etc."

So even though I focus on HIV/AIDS, there are also plenty of other illnesses that medical marijuana can treat; including the headaches and chest pains you talk about.

2. Even if we only used it for HIV/AIDS patients, I proved that there was close to half a million people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, so even if we only use medical marijuana for HIV/AIDS it is still sufficient to affirm.

3. Medical marijuana would be available by the prescription or permission of a doctor, so hypochondriacs would need to be clinically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, making your argument insignificant.

4. Unless you can prove that medical marijuana will be used to treat such minor cases like teething, I'm going to disregard your argument.

Conclusion: I defended that current medical practices are inefficient and we require a need for a change. My opponent never refuted my arguments explaining that current medical treatments are much too costly, like the fact that the average AIDS patient will spend over $600,000 in their lifetime on treatment. My opponent also never refuted my AVERT evidence that proved that current AIDS treatment can actually make symptoms worse for the patient. Therefore, we can conclude that there is a problem inherently wrong with the present system, and that there is a real need for change in the status quo.

In respose to my contention two which claimed, "Empirical evidence proves that medical marijuana has obvious health benefits that make it a viable alternative to current medication." My opponent argued, "my opponent goes on to state the obvious of what marijuana does to the human body if a perfectly healthy person were to smoke marijuana the same thing would happen he would get hungry go into a high that reliefs pain and eventually die of lung cancer." He states that my claims are "obvious", and never refutes that medical marijuana won't cause people to gain necessary weight. So please extend this evidence. He argues however that a person will die from lung cancer if they take medical marijuana, but I want to make a few points clear.

1. There has never been a single reported case of lung cancer tied to marijuana. Ever. Harvard Professor Lender Grinspoon notes, "[T]here is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk. Although cannabis has been smoked widely in Western countries for more than four decades, there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana. I suspect that a day's breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day's dose -- which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint -- of marijuana." So the harms my opponents claims don't exist.

2. Even if there were some hypothetical health defect that marijuana caused, I'm advocated for the general use of people who are terminally ill. So therefore, their death is non-unique.

My opponent goes on to cite a quote claiming all of marijuana's "harmful effects". A few things to note.

1. He offers no qualification for his evidence. He doesn't even cite where he got it from. Therefore, there should be no reason to believe that his "quote card" is even true. He could have gotten it from anywhere.

2. His evidence can already be viewed with a critical eye because he claims that marijuana contains harmful chemical and carcinogens, even going on to cite that the 4x the amount of tar compared to a cigarette is harmful to health. I already proved with my Grinspoon analysis that there are no ties to lung cancer and marijuana, so his "science" is completely false.

3. He also goes on to state that because the FDA never approved a "smokable drug", we shouldn't approve medical marijuana. This only proves how innovative medical marijuana is, reaching a milestone in which medical treatment has never been able to achieve before. The fact that the FDA has never approved a drug in smokable form only creates new hope that medical technology is venturing into new ground. But even if we accept the claim that "smoking marijuana is bad," there are other alternatives in which marijuana can be taken. There are pills, it can also be prepared as a butter, oil, tonic, or even inhaled through a vaporizer. So even if "smoking it" would be bad, there are other ways in which marijuana can be taken.

4. My opponent provides no emperics to prove that marjuana causes dysphoria, tachycardia, etc. But even if we accept it as true, he doesn't provide the number of cases reported, probability of developing it, or even possible treatments. Without this, we cannot know the scope of the issue, and cannot be weighed to the benefits of 450,000 people with HIV. So unless my opponent can prove this in his next speech, the benefits still outweigh the harms.

Against my final contention which proves, "Keeping medical marijuana illegal only worsens the situations of severely ill patients," my opponent argues things like, "marijuana is bad for you it kills you," and "most people who want it legalized are pot heads themselves."

My response:

1. My opponent never gives one instance in which marijuana has resulted in death. So unless he can prove this which he cannot, he only asserts claims with no evidence to back him up.
2. My opponent never provides proof of the "AIDS patients to pot-head" ratio, so accepting this point is ridiculous.
3. My opponent argues that "that's what the pro is offering instead of medication", but in my Ross evidence I provide in my case I prove that for many patients taking marijuana is the only thing that allows them to take their medication in the first place.
4. My opponent claims that marijuana is a "gateway drug", but this isn't true. Former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders(3) explains, "Much of their [US drug-policy leaders] rhetoric about marijuana being a 'gateway drug' is simply wrong. After decades of looking, scientists still have no evidence that marijuana causes people to use harder drugs."
5. To my opponents claim that we should, "Imagine what were to happen if it was legalized tobacco companies" Tobacco companies are legal so I don't see your argument...

Thank you for your time and please vote PRO.


1. Russo, Ethan MD "Chronic Cannabis Use in the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program: An Examination of Benefits and Adverse Effects of Legal Clinical Cannabis", The Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Jan. 2002
2. Grinspoon, Lender MD Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School "Puffing Is the Best Medicine," Los Angeles Times May 5
3. Elders, Joycelyn MD The Globe and Mail, Dec 14, 2002.


whatisx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


TheOrangeOfYonatan forfeited this round.


whatisx forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by TheOrangeOfYonatan 7 years ago
thank you very much. i was worried you weren't going to post. i didn't mean to freak out. i'm looking forward to this debate. :)
Posted by TheOrangeOfYonatan 7 years ago
Please don't drop this round...
Posted by ChuckHenryII 7 years ago
Not to be a pain or anything but aren't you debating/arguing the very topic that you think shouldn't be debated?
Posted by kronosq 7 years ago
There should not even be a debate on this topic anymore.
There never should have been one to begin with.
The prohibition of cannabis, in any way shape or form, is one of the most disgraceful violations of personal freedom in this fact, I consider every marijuana related arrest to be a crime against humanity.
The very idea of punishing someone for having or using some flower buds...and punishing them in such horrible beyond repugnant.

It's time we stopped seeing the cannabis issue as something to debate or discuss as a course of rhetoric or pros and cons, and just see it for what it really is: a repugnant violation of human rights the likes of which this country should be ashamed of.

The mere fact that we sit and point fingers at other nations for wrongfully imprisoning and punishing their citizens for speaking out against their government, or not following what we consider to be unjust laws, whilst we, the supposed land of the free, go on to fine, incarcerate, and brand as criminals for life anyone who is unfortunate enough to get caught with a mildly intoxicating plant in their pocket is a disgrace beyond words.

The argument for prohibition is based upon nothing but questionable junk science, empty rhetoric, myths, quarter-truths, and flat out lies. But the most dangerous thing that it ignores is the fact that even if cannabis were all of the things that it erroneously claims it to be, none of that justifies that anyone should have to fear civil punishments for having it. Laws are supposed to protect people, not destroy their lives.

My sincere hope is that one day people will cease with the idea of debating this topic like its some sort of civic issue like casino gambling and instead come to the moral realization that this is purely a matter of human rights; and like other disgraceful actions of our past such as Jim Crowe and Japanese internment camps, will want to put an end to it immediately as a moral imperitive.
Posted by TheOrangeOfYonatan 7 years ago
and yes, it is in the context of the US.
Posted by TheOrangeOfYonatan 7 years ago
Yes, we can either argue that it be moved to at least schedule 2, or on the state level. I didn't intend for this to be a state v. federalist issue. I just want the debate to center around whether it would be in the US' interest to legalize. Either in the majority of the states, or in all states. Basically an "on balance" debate. Whoever can win that overall it would be a better or worse idea should win. But if you accept i'm sure you can take it whatever way you want to within reason.
Posted by Sam_Lowry 7 years ago
Also could you specify exactly what you mean by legalize? Is this in the context of the US? Move it from Schedule I to Schedule II? Or full across the board medicinal legalization on the state level?
Posted by Sam_Lowry 7 years ago
I would play Devil's Advocate, but from what I've seen con tends to utterly loose drug arguments regardless of the quality of debate. If no one takes this I'll give it a shot.
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