Assignment Research essay draft 2
Sanjay Gupta, award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN once said, “every nineteen minutes somebody dies of a prescription drug overdue. It doesn’t happen with marijuana” (Gupta, 2014). Marijuana is a drug made from the dried leaves and flowering parts of the hemp plant. It is one of the most strictly classified illegal drugs in the United States. Dr. David Smith mentions, “in the late 1930s the Federal Narcotics Bureau spearheaded an all-out attack on marijuana… as a result marijuana was mislabeled a narcotic and very strict legal penalties were imposed on those who used or sold the drug” (1). This research will discuss marijuana in terms of medical use, Charlotte’s Web, and the legalization of medical marijuana.
Marijuana in its medical term specifies that, “the intoxicating constituents of hemp are found in the sticky resin exuded by the tops of the plants, particularly the females. Male plants produce some resin but are growing mainly for hemp fiber, not for marijuana” (Smith 11). Back in the early twentieth century, cannabis was purposed to be useful as a medicine for many disorders and symptoms. Marijuana was used in ancient times. “the first evidence of the medicinal use of cannabis is an herbal published during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Chen Nung five thousand years ago” (Grinspoon and Bakalar 3). Even when marijuana was used as a medicine back in the twentieth century, it was not rigorously scientifically tested because of laws and production limits. Now, medical marijuana is categorized by ways of delivery and common medical uses.
Methods of delivering medical marijuana differ. These include smoke, vaporizers, edibles, and concentrates. Researcher Mallory Loflin discusses in her research that, “the most common means of administration is through inhalation. The process of burning plant material and inhaling its smoke, however, raises obvious worries about respiratory safety” (2). Smoking marijuana cigarettes can harm the people through second hand smoke, not only the smoker is harmed. Vaporizers on the other hand offer a less harmful way of delivery than smoking. Vaporizers heat the plant without burning it, thereby releasing the extract of cannabis in a vapor. “Those who use vaporizers report that they experience less respiratory irritation when using vaporizers compared to a traditional burning technique” (Loflin 2). An obvious way to reduce potential risk associated with smoking cannabis would be to use an alternative method for delivering cannabinoid medicines, namely edibles and concentrates. Hash cookies are baked goods made using medical cannabis. One is not usually able to tell the difference between regular pastries and those containing drugs before consumption, but they tend to have a slight greenish tinge with marijuana, and they often emit a faint odor. A mild flavor can be detected if sufficient quantities are used.
Medical uses of marijuana vary. Medical cannabis is proven to help relieve the process of chemotherapy. In a study on a cancer patient who started using medical marijuana before chemotherapy, Grinspoon, M.D. mentions, “he used marijuana before every treatment, and we were all much more comfortable during the remaining year of his life” (27). Grinspoon continues, “a major advantage of cannabis as an aid in cancer chemotherapy is it’s relatively low cost” (41). Not only is marijuana used to treat symptoms of chemotherapy, it is also used in assisting many patients who are diagnosed diseases such as Glaucoma, AIDS, Chronic Pain, Migraine, Depression, and Epilepsy. Richard Brookhiser, senior editor of National Review reports, “AIDS patients who have the wasting syndrome report that marijuana gives them an appetite again. Glaucoma patients find that it arrests the deterioration of their eyes” (39). However, many of the sick people in the late 1990s who got their hands on medical marijuana and used it to relieve their symptoms ended up facing the law and some of them ended up in jail. “Any sick person who wants to use marijuana to help himself has to break the law” (Brookhiser 39).
Marijuana is also discussed relative to Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte’s Web is named after Charlotte Figi, born October 18, 2006 whose story has led her to be described as, “The girl who is changing medical marijuana laws across America” (CNN 2013). The Web is a high cannabinol (CBD), low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis extract, which means that the extract used in curing Charlotte and many other children has very low amounts of the addictive portion of marijuana yet it is very concentrated in the “relaxing” portion. It is produced by the Stanley Brothers in Colorado. It does not make the consumer high which was typically associated with marijuana that included high amounts of THC. Charlotte’s parents and physicians say she experienced a reduction of her epileptic brought on by Dravent Syndrome after her first dose of medical marijuana when she was very young. Dravet Syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy. Seizures caused by the syndrome are not controlled by any medication. These seizures start before the age of one. Charlotte’s Web was featured on the 2013 CNN documentary “Weed”. In the documentary Charlotte was filmed while was monitored for a certain time period by her doctors and the results were very noticeable. Her seizures were reduced and she was pretty much enjoying her daily life just as soon as she started on her regular dosage of The Web.
Although medical marijuana seems very important to many people yet the legalization process seems very difficult. Synthetic cannabinoids are available as prescription drugs in some countries as for example: dronabinol and nabilone. “Recreational use of cannabis is illegal in most parts of the world, but the medical use of cannabis is legal in certain countries, including Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain” (procon.org, 2016). In the United States, federal law outlaws all cannabis use, while twenty five states and the District of Colombia no longer prosecute individuals for the possession or sale of medical marijuana, as long as the individuals are in compliance with the states medical marijuana sale regulation. “As of May 17, 2016. 574 physicians have registered for the NYS Medical Marijuana Program, and 3,841 patients have been certified by their doctors” (health.ny.gov 2016). This program allows patients who suffer from serious conditions to get certified by their physicians in order to have access to medical marijuana legally.
In conclusion, marijuana reconsidered might be useful to many people in need. Marijuana isn’t only the addictive. With modern technology scientist are working on breaking down this mysterious herb and studying its’ positives and negatives and how it might affect one’s life. My goal in life is to always find the light at the end of the dark tunnel. To always bring out the positive from what everyone labels as a negative. I believe that medical marijuana may bring hope and relieve to many people. Therefore scientist working on finding the long-run effects of medical cannabis will be able to change the equation between marijuana and its negative, addicting role in society. Marijuana in terms of medical marijuana, Charlotte’s Web, and legalization may be safer that prescribed drugs.
Grinspoon, Lester, and James Bakalar. Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine. New Haven: Yale UP, 1009. Print.
“New York State Medical Marijuana Program.” New York State Medical Marijuana Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2016.
Richard, Brookhiser. Marijuana. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1999. Print.
Young, Sandra. “Marijuana Stops Childs Severe Seizures.” CNN. Cable News Network, 07 Aug. 2013. Web. 25 May 2016.
“23 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC- Medical Marijuana procon.org.” Procon.org Headlines. N.p., 14 Mar 2016. Web. 25 May 2016.