Marijuana was first used for medical uses when a man by the name of W. B. O’Shaughnessy observed the treatment of various disorders with marijuana in 1839. The drug was widely used until the first decades of the 20th century. Marijuana helped symptoms and conditions like labor pain and asthma. Doctors did not prescribe the drug by smoking, but if they had realized that the relief came faster by inhaling the drug they may have prescribed it by smoking. As years passed and the technology got better doctors found a new drug called aspirin. Physicians liked this drug because it was easily taken in a pill shape and was much more reliable.
In 1937 in the United States the Marijuana Tax Act was passed. By this time the use of marijuana had already declined, but the Act made prescribing marijuana so awkward that doctors stopped prescribing the drug all together.
In the early 1970s a group of young patients who were being treated for cancer found that marijuana was much more effective than conventional medicines for relieving patients with such intense nausea and vomiting. This word spread and patients with glaucoma started to use marijuana to relieve their pain. Also people with the AIDS virus and people who suffered from HIV found that marijuana was the most useful and least toxic drug for their life-threatening symptom. More than 30 symptoms have been treated with marijuana.
There is much question on why marijuana isn’t used as a medical drug today. Aspirin, which has mostly wiped out the use of marijuana, now costs more than 7,000 lives annually in the United States alone. But marijuana has never killed anyone who had used it for medical uses. And people that use the drug marijuana for medical uses say it provides a better quality of pain relief and lifts their spirits. It is unlikely that whole smoked marijuana will ever be an official medicine.
People have tried many times to have it become a drug but the FDA or Federal Drug Administration still says no. The reason it cant be made a medicine is because if they approve it then every one in the world could grow it for what ever reason since you cant put a patent on the drug since it is from a plant. The only way that marijuana would be used medically is if the government funds a program to distribute the drug.
Marijuana is grown by the federal government in Mississippi and they provide marijuana to seven patients under an IND or investigational new drug program. But the government will not distribute the drug to thousands of people. If the marijuana was legalized then farmers would have to enclose their fields with a security fence. If the drug was provided through the pharmacy it would be hard to maintain facilities well enough to keep the drug fresh, and the drug would cost a lot making it hard for some people to get it. The legalization of marijuana would make it tempting for people to by the drug on the streets and grow it them selves if the cost were too high.
A solution is being proposed in what is being called the pharmaceuticalization of marijuana. The solution is that there will be prescriptions to individual patients of cannabinoids and analogs. Cannabinoids and analogs are more useful than whole smoked marijuana under some circumstances. Cannabinoids occasionally are more useful than marijuana because they can be given to a patient intravenously. For example many people go unconscious after banging there head and are unable to take a pill so the cannabinoids can be injected into a person. A new analog called dexanabinol is shown to protest brain cells from damage and can be given intravenously.
The federal government stopped supplying marijuana to patients in 1991 and told them to take Marinol, which is an imitation substitute for marijuana that can cost up tp $30,000 a year and is less reliable and less effective. A Harvard university survey found that one half of cancer doctors would prescribe marijuana to some of there patients if it were legal. If marijuana is legal for medical use that doesn’t mean it is legal for non-medical use. I think this is what people are most afraid of.
Today doctors can prescribe powerful drugs like morphine and codeine to patients. It doesn’t make sense that they cant do the same for a the less powerful drug marijuana. In California there is a case going on trying to legalize marijuana called proposition 215. Proposition 215 would allow seriously and terminally ill patients to legally use and cultivate there own supply of marijuana if and only if they have the approval of a licensed physician, but proposition 215 does not permit non-medical use of marijuana. It also does not permit anyone to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Polls show that a majority of Californians support proposition 215 and it could become a reality.
People against proposition 215 say that since there is no written prescription required even children could be smoking marijuana legally. They also believe that if there is no FDA approval and no consumer protection then it should not be legal. Law enforcement and drug prevention leaders say no to legalizing marijuana and proposition 215. Many say that homegrown pot and hand rolled “joints” are not medicine. Proposition 215 could also give drug dealers excuses for having marijuana.
I think that marijuana is a perfectly safe drug if used with care. I think that it definitely should be available to people with a serious illness. I don’t think that people should be able to grow it by them selves at home but the federal government should supply it to the patients. The patient should have to have a physician’s approval and the patient should have to have the marijuana sent to them so the pharmacies don’t have to worry about keeping the drug fresh and so there is less chance of the drug getting on the streets.
Legalizing marijuana could also be a risky move because there is the chance that the drug will get in the hands of someone who will abuse the use and incorrectly take the drug for the wrong reasons. Or there is the chance that the drug could get on the streets and people could be using marijuana illegally. Some people mainly kids may get the wrong idea and think that marijuana is ok and perfectly safe to take even if they don’t have a medical problem. These are the reasons why marijuana should and shouldn’t be legalized.