Legalizationof Medical Marijuana
Tomany people, marijuana is a recreational drug. However, the use ofmarijuana is not limited to recreation. Marijuana is also used in thehealth care field in the form of medical marijuana. Medical marijuanarefers to the use of unprocessed raw plant or certain extracts totreat certain diseases or symptoms (Newton, 2013). A fine case inpoint of this is the use of medical marijuana to treat neuropathicpain in diabetics. The legalization of medical marijuana is acontentious issue in many countries and states. Medical marijuana isreliable and effective and thus its use should be legalized butstrictly regulated to avoid its abuse.
Comparedto most pharmaceutical drugs available in the health care markettoday, marijuana provides chemical and toxin free treatment and at acheaper price (Minamide, 2007). The other area that medical marijuanabeats conventional medicine is the wide range of diseases andconditions it can treat. Marijuana is effective in treating diseasesthat weaken the human immune system such as HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’sand multiple sclerosis. Other health problems that medical marijuanacan treat include pain, inflammation, mental disorders and seizures.
Legalizingmedical marijuana poses a serious dilemma for health careprofessionals and policy makers. The debate arises on whether thedrug should be used in plant form or only THC (tetrahydrocannabinol),the active chemical in marijuana, should be used. Each of these formsof medical marijuana has its fair share of benefits and drawbacks.Legalizing the use of marijuana in plant form gives much room andopportunities for abuse (Minamide, 2007). Anybody who has access tothe plant may use it even if they do not need it for health reasons.This is likely to increase its recreational use at the expense of itsmedical use. The option of using THC comes with the challenge ofproduction cost and affordability. Extracting THC from the marijuanaplant is a complex process that requires much skill, manpower, andmachinery. Due to the high production cost, the cost of THC is mostlikely to be high and beyond the reach of many people.
Severalissues have been advanced to water down the legalization of medicalmarijuana. Even in states and countries where it is legalized,medical marijuana has many rules and regulations that govern it.These issues raise considerable about its legalization. For instance,the legal amount that a patient should possess at any given timeleads to arrest, and prosecution of patients found with more theallowed quantities. The sale of medical marijuana to minors is alsoanother issue that comes up. The other challenge is the cultivationof the drug in states where it is not legalized since cultivatingmarijuana in such states even for medicinal use is a crime punishableby law.
Onevaluating the effect the legalization of medical marijuana wouldhave on society, the issue of cultural, religious and personalbeliefs about marijuana come to light. Even if medical is legalized,it may still be opposed by people based on the negative perceptionthat is associated with marijuana use (Minamide, 2007). Thelegalization of medical marijuana is a contentious issue that dividespeople into many grounds. For instance, if a certain society viewsmarijuana as a terrible drug that causes harm to its users. In such asetup, even if legalized, the society would still marijuana use as anunacceptable act and are most likely to oppose its legalizationirrespective of its medical benefits.
AsNewton (2013) agrees, medical marijuana has numerous health care usesif properly used. It is effective in treating many human diseases andconditions including mental disorders and Alzheimer’s. Itslegalization would come as a big boost to the healthcare sector.However, several issues such as religion and culture impede itslegalization and subsequent acceptance if legalized. These challengesneed to be adequately mitigated to tap the benefits of legalizingmedical marijuana fully.
Minamide,E. (2007). Medicalmarijuana.Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Newton,D. E. (2013). Marijuana:A reference handbook.Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.