Marijuana Should Be Legalized for Medicinal Purposes
How would most Americans react if the law allowed the use of heroin, LSD, or amphetamines for medical purposes? Many of us would react in disbelief mainly because of the effects of these powerful and addictive drugs. However, in Arizona the law permits the use of heroin, LSD, and amphetamines for medicinal purposes, yet the medicinal use of marijuana remains illegal in the United States ("Facts"). Because marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 drug under the federal Controlled Substance Act ("Issues"), physicians cannot legally prescribe it. The national debate on the effectiveness of marijuana as medicine is divided between those who advocate marijuana's medicinal value and those who dismiss the claim that marijuana poses any medicinal value. Although many regard the use of medicinal marijuana as a hoax, there is evidence to the contrary that helps to create a substantial argument as to marijuana's ability to provide effective relief from certain symptoms of disease. Patients of terminal or critical illnesses should be allowed, under the care and supervision of a physician, the option of using marijuana for medicinal purposes.
First and foremost, the medical value of marijuana is primarily a means of relief from the symptoms associated with diseases themselves and their treatments, not a cure. Therefore, its therapeutic values are not based on a particular disease, but rather the symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and anorexia caused by loss of appetite and chronic pain. The exact reason why marijuana relieves such symptoms is not known but most likely lies in its organic composition and ingredients. Marijuana is made up of over 400 organic chemicals, 60 of which are cannabinoids ("Clinical"). THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient, which is one of 60 cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are only found in marijuana.
Arguably, medicinal marijuana has proven to be most effective for the relief of nausea and anorexia associated with cancer and AIDS/HIV treatments. For cancer patients who not only go through the unimaginable pains and discomforts of the disease itself but also the process of treatment through chemotherapy, the option of using marijuana may prove to be helpful in relief of the symptoms. In an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Kate Scannell, M.D. wrote "From working with AIDS and cancer patients, I repeatedly saw how marijuana could ameliorate a patient's debilitating fatigue, restore appetite, diminish pain, remedy nausea, cure vomiting and curtail down-to-the-bone weight loss" ("Do"). Dr. Scannell concluded by claiming "...almost every sick and dying patient I've ever known who's tried medical marijuana experienced a kinder death" ("Do"). This example alone is worth allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana. If marijuana brings relief by easing the pain and suffering of just one patient, isn't that enough reason to legalize its use for medicinal purposes?