Should Marijuana be legalized for Medicinal Purposes?
Legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes has been an extremely controversial topic, one that has it supporters who have long fought the opposition. Although marijuana has been used for thousand of years to provide relief from many health problems, it still remains an illegal drug in the United States. There are many doctors who support the effectiveness of the use of marijuana as treatment for many medical conditions. People who oppose the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes would claim that legalizing the drug would lead to abuse of the drug for recreational use. This is important claim for the opposition. However, after looking at all the information that has been gathered in regards to this topic, the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes would be more beneficial to the United States for many good reasons.
The drug, first cultivated at least 5000 years ago, began its life in China where it was used to make clothing, rope and the seeds were used to make oil for painting (Richardson 41). The medicinal uses of the drug can be dated as far back as 4000 BC where the Chinese people discovered its medicinal value. About 2657 BC, Shen-Nung, an emperor, recommended marijuana as a cure for several health related problems (Stwertka 5). In America, marijuana as medicine dates back to the 1800s. An article by Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar in the Journal of American Medical Association states that "between 1840 and 1900, European and American medical journals published more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of the drug known then as Cannabis Indica (or Indian hemp) and now as marihuana." At that time the drug was recommended to stimulate appetites and relax muscles (1875). Due to the taxation of the cultivation and consumption of the plant in 1937 by the Marijuana Tax Act, the medical history of the plant was almost forgotten (Grinspoon 7). The act required people who were using the drug for medical use to register and pay a tax on the drug of a dollar an ounce. This act eventually forced the drug to be taken off the pharmacopoeia (Grinspoon 8).
Eventual the drug resurfaced in the 1960s where it became associated with hippies and Woodstock and became popular for its recreational use. In 1970, increased concern over the usage of the drug initiated Congress to pass the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act (Grinspoon 13). This was to be the end of any form of legalized marijuana.
At the time that marijuana was becoming known as an illicit drug, two medical discoveries were being made. The first was the use of marijuana for the treatment of glaucoma and the second was the alleviation of the effects that chemotherapy had on cancer patients. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases...