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Should Marijuana Be Used For Medical Options?

755 words - 4 pages

First it is important to state what marijuana is. It is a dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, and leaves of the plant Cannabis sativa. It’s also the most widely used illegal drug in the United States. THC, the active chemical in marijuana, works by binding to cannabinoid receptors, which are concentrated in areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. THC stimulates the brain to release dopamine, a chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure and relaxation. This chemical is also accountable for reducing pain, stimulating appetite, and many more properties. This, however, does not come without some negative side effects. The debate on medical marijuana argues whether or not the benefits outweigh the consequences.
The first use of marijuana as medicine was reported over five-thousand years ago. India, China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and South America used marijuana as medicine long before the United States. In 1545, the Spanish brought marijuana to the new world. It became a main commercial crop and was considered to be a source of fiber. It was not until 1851 that America officially recognized the medical value of marijuana. That year we added the drug to the third addition of US Pharmacopeia (an official public standards-setting authority for all prescription and over-the counter medicines). During the next fifty years, over one-hundred medical journals on the medicinal value of marijuana were published in the US and Europe. American physicians began to prescribe the drug regularly for conditions such as incontinence, venereal disease, and skin rashes. The herb could even be found at certain drug stores for the relief of menstrual cramps and migraines.
Soon the recreational aspect of marijuana became popular among musicians, artists, and people in show business. The US federal bureau of narcotics launched a campaign to depict marijuana as addictive and dangerous. The campaign worked, and by 1937, twenty-three states had outlawed marijuana. That same year the marijuana tax act was put into effect, the first federal restriction on the drug, which made it illegal to use marijuana except for medical purposes. The act also imposed a series of paperwork requirements for medicinal use, therefore physicians soon stopped prescribing the drug. In 1970, medical marijuana was finally outlawed by the...

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