F. Should the use of medical marijuana be allowed?

Even though marijuana use has some irrefutable negative effects on health, for some people its benefits outweigh its drawbacks. Smoking marijuana has been demonstrated to have a negative impact on the lungs over time, while studies also show a link between marijuana and impaired learning and memory functions. But for some patients—especially those with terminal conditions—the alleviation of suffering in the short-term trumps concerns about marijuana's long-term effects on health. I've personally seen the benefits medical marijuana can truly bring to patients, and it's truly remarkable. ~JC

America is struggling to regain its footing amidst the economic crisis. The nation's debt has spiked incredibly as various banks and automobile companies had to be bailed out. It has been calculated that every 45 seconds, a person is arrested for the illegal use of marijuana. It costs a considerable amount of money to keep these offenders in prison. Needless to say, this isn't helping our country's economic crisis either. However, if marijuana were to be legalized the federal government could tax it. As a result, an influx of money would circulate and help to re-stimulate the economy. It has been proven that the recreational use of marijuana has not resulted to be harmful to anyone else outside the user (who willing chooses to take the drug him or herself). If anything, the law crackdown on marijuana has harmed outside parties more. One must consider the effects of having loved ones or family members (even more devastating) being sent to jail. Tobacco, alcohol, and all other illegal drugs combine to take the lives of 515,000 people annually. Subtract 515,00, and that is how many people marijuana kills annually. BR

In regards to medical marijuana, it is an ailment for all sorts of diseases and conditions. By itself, it can reduce vomiting, nausea, and a loss of appetite. These are the common side effects of chemotherapy to treat cancer, caused by a drug that ACTUALLY KILLS PEOPLE (nicotine). Marijuana can even decrease the amount of muscle pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis. Shouldn't we be morally obligated to enforce laws that allow the use of an otherwise illegal substance, in order to improve the lifestyles of the many suffering Americans? The solution is right if front of us, but the ignorance is just as strong. Marijuana does NOT lead to experimentation with other drugs. Marijuana does NOT cause brain damage, but alcohol does (and is legal), nor does it cause damage to the immune system. It does not destroy brain cells or invoke us with violent behavior. Really, the only negative is that it does is cause short-term memory loss. In very rare cases, long term smoking can cause bronchitis, but the odds are stacked against that ever happening. The reasons for legalizing marijuana completely and utterly outweigh the arguments of who oppose it. It's time for a reality check. Please, do what benefits us as a country, rather than holding us back, wake up, and support the legalization of marijuana. BZ

Re: The topic in question is the legalization of medical marijuana, not recreational marijuana. Arguments made should be based on sound facts as well personal opinions, not misguided stipulations. Whether or not marijuana is a "gateway drug" is still an unanswered debate with extensive research in support of and against the theory. Though there is no well conducted research that shows the long term effects of marijuana on the brain, it is not correct or safe to assume that there are none. There is, however, significant evidence of lung damage in marijuana smokers that is comparable to and sometimes even more extensive than that of tobacco smokers. Marijuana contains many carcinogens and the practice of smoking of it can lead to cancer as well as COPD and a host of other lung problems. -DS

Re: Re: No kidding? I chose to write about both.

The widespread legalization of marijuana is certainly a debatable issue with both pros and cons, however the legalization of medical marijuana is a policy that the United States should doubtlessly adopt. Patients weak from AIDS and anorexia use medical marijuana to put on needed weight. Cancer patients smoke pot to dispel the nausea they get from chemotherapy, and doctors recommend it for epilepsy, arthritis, migraines and glaucoma. Synthetic forms of THC such as Marinol are ineffective substitutes because they often put patients to sleep before they start to eat, defeating the purpose. If regulated properly, medical marijuana can be a very useful tool for doctors without having a negative impact on the rest of society or compromising the law. -DS

Even though medical marijuana has the ability to alleviate numerous debilitating symptoms, it should not be legal to use at this point in time. The main concern I see with medical marijuana right now is how it is administered to patients. While the long term effects of smoking marijuana are unknown at this point, I am certain that smoking marijuana cannot be solely beneficial to one’s health. Potential risks in the continuous use of marijuana could include cause lung and respiratory problems as well as addiction (much like the effects of smoking cigarettes.) Another risk factor possibly associated with marijuana may include impaired function of the brain; this is a short term effect of marijuana, so I can only assume it will have a greater, more devastating effect in the long run. In order to legalize the use of medical marijuana it is imperative that scientists create a drug which delivers the same rapid relief as marijuana. In order to accomplish this, medical professionals would have to create a drug which has the same properties as the THC, a cannabinoid in marijuana that has similar properties and effects of certain medicines. The THC patients receive by smoking marijuana produces positive effects such as reducing pain and anxiety but also creates the negative effect of feeling high (along with all the “unknown” long term effects stated before.) The use of medical marijuana would have to be highly regulated by both the FDA and medical professionals to make sure no patient is abusing the drug; this would include strict restricts on dosage as well as composition of the drug. While I marijuana does have the ability to help many patients, the United States is a long way off from the day were patient’s can go to a local drugstore a refill their prescription of medical marijuana. MKP

Medical marijuana should definitely be legalized. Studies have shown that it is effective at treating pain and nausea brought on by cancer and AIDS treatments. It can also help these people keep there appetite, because weight loss is a prevalent issue for them. It is also proven to help glaucoma patients and people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. A medication is a drug approved by doctors to treat certain conditions. Many doctors in states like California have already begun to prescribe marijuana for a plethora of conditions, so it is clear that marijuana is a legitimate medicine. In addition, it is also a very safe one. When compared to other, currently legal, medications, marijuana is unbelievably safer.
Rank – Drug – Type – Deaths 1998-2005
1 – Oxycodone – Prescription opioid painkiller* – 5548
2 – Fentanyl – Prescription opioid painkiller* – 3545
3 – Clozapine – Antipsychotic – 3277
4 – Morphine – Prescription opioid painkiller* – 1616
5 – Acetaminophen – Over-the-counter painkiller – 1393
6 – Methadone - Prescription opioid painkiller*/addiction medication – 1258
7 – Infliximab - Immune-system modulating drug – 1228
8 – Interferon beta – Immune-system modulating drug – 1178
9 – Risperidone – Antipsychotic – 1093
10- Etanercept – Immune-system modulating drug – 1034

Source: Moore TJ et al., Serious Adverse Drug Events Reported to the Food and Drug Administration, 1998-2005, Archives of Internal Medicine, Sept. 10., 2007; 167 (16): 1752-1759 —– (WXii, 24 March 20008)
If these dangerous medications are legal, than why isn't marijuana?

"While the long term effects of smoking marijuana are unknown at this point, I am certain that smoking marijuana cannot be solely beneficial to one’s health." -MKP
What drug doesn't have side effects? Many antidepressant drugs may cause thoughts of suicide. As long as side effects are thoroughly researched and documented, clinical drugs can and should be placed on the market. Morphine is currently given in hospitals as a pain killer. As shown above, the harmful effects of marijuana are shadowed by those of many other legal clinical medications. -DS

There are many beneficial reasons to support medical marijuana but there are also health concerns involved with its use. Studies show that the chemicals found in marijuana have been proven to treat nausea, vomiting, and pain. Underweight or radiation patients are often weak, have loss of appetite, and are in severe pain. The THC in marijuana blocks the adenosine receptors. The excess dopamine levels help to stimulate impulse therefore body activities. If legalized, medical marijuana could reactivate high metabolism and help control pain levels. Research also has shown that many patients are allergic to common medicines such as morphine or other pain killers. Could a doctor really sit there and watch them suffer in agonizing distress, knowing there is another way. To these patients, smoking marijuana has proven to have no external consequences and the pain was diminished. Marijuana is a very safe drug with low toxicity whose dosage can be monitored closely. On the other hand there are a few side effects that tag along with its use. Some of these include impaired vision, movement, balance, body functions, and short term memory lose. Even though smoking is the fastest acting drug intake method, it is still "smoking" and there are lung and heart issues that go along with it. Overall I think that medical marijuana should be legalized for all the potential it has at treating millions of suffering patients. On a more personal note my uncle did have AIDS. For many years he suffered excruciating pain before passing away. Scientific research has shown that AIDS victims suffering pain and loss of appetite have had high success rates combating those symptoms while on marijuana. I would want medical marijuana legalized so that people like my uncle would no longer have to suffer. (This is very personal information, whoever reads this please do not go around talking about it. Thank you) EL

Although medicinal marijuana has been criticized due to it being smoked as a method of consumption, numerous states are already legalizing it. Every treatment will have its downsides, but if you are desperate to try marijuana as a last resort, then the side effect won’t matter. What many people do not realize is that the harm done by smoking can be reduced by ingesting the drug in an edible form. Marijuana has been proven to treat nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. It has also been known to relieve more severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis, cancer, and Tourette’s syndrome. A more recent study even shows that THC may prevent the formation of deposits in the brain related to Alzheimer’s, and the reduction of tumor growth in lung cancer patients. I believe that people with less severe diseases should be able to freely choose to take marijuana if they are warned of the possible dangers. Yet, I feel that for terminally ill patients and people it would help to reduce tumors and growths in, it should be legalized. EM

The constant debate over whether medical marijuana should be legal or not has be going on since marijuana was shown in a series of tests in the 90's to alleviate the pain and side effects of deadly diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDs. This is of course is a touchy subject due to lack of knowledge regarding the drug. Some may argue that use of "ganja" may be further detrimental to the health of already sick patients. On the other hand marijuana may take the terminal victims out of the depressing their world of approaching death. When trying to answer a complex question as this one must turn to the cold hard facts of science. The smoke of marijuana which not only contains THC (the main chemical in marijuana that causes dopamine levels to increase causing euphoria) but 2,000 other chemicals, these chemicals are dispersed by the lungs throughout the body. The effect of these chemicals on the body have not been sufficiently tested to be in my mind approved for medical use. I believe that although no one has died from the use of marijuana, the long term effect of the drug as a whole is still not understood and should not be prescribed to very fragile patients at this time. In conclusion i think that marijuana in the future after extensive testing and proved safe can be used for medical use to help those suffering from painful diseases and conditions.
MP (source used: http://abcnews.go.com/US/BreakingItDown/Story?id=837512&page=1)

The Institute of Medicine's 1999 report on medical marijuana examined the question whether the medical use of marijuana would lead to an increase of marijuana use in the general population and concluded that, "At this point there are no convincing data to support this concern. The existing data are consistent with the idea that this would not be a problem if the medical use of marijuana were as closely regulated as other medications with abuse potential." The report also noted that, "this question is beyond the issues normally considered for medical uses of drugs, and should not be a factor in evaluating the therapeutic potential of marijuana or cannabinoids."
In the Institute of Medicine's report on medical marijuana, the researchers examined the physiological risks of using marijuana and cautioned, "Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a variety of effects. However, except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications."

According to Consumer Reports the issue over if marijuana is safe is not even a question. The use of the marijuana would be for AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis patients. There are obvious benefits from using it, like relieving stress, certain pains, nausea, vomiting, and other harsh drugs that need to be taken for an illness. There has been little evidence to show that it is a notable health risk. It would be subscribed so the daily intakes wouldn’t be to an extreme, and even if it is abused the percentage of marijuana addicts is very low. Marijuana also has less toxins than many other drugs that doctors prescribe. Therefore, the evident benefits from medical marijuana would really overshadow the alleged risks. CM

In my opinion, the use of medicinal marijuana should be permitted under law, if and only if, the intake is monitored by a caretaker and the marijuana is ingested rather than smoked. Patients suffering from nausea and unbearable pain from illnesses such as AIDS or cancer patients should be allowed to ingest the drug to solely relieve the pain. Studies from the ‘90’s have already shown that marijuana can alleviate these symptoms. Of course, the issue with medicinal marijuana has nothing to do with how it can help the patients, but rather has to do with the risks caused by the chemical delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the plant responsible for producing marijuana. THC is known to cause hallucinations and effect memory, concentration, perception, movement, and overall messes with the brain. If patients would be permitted to take medicinal marijuana, I think that they should not be allowed to smoke it, as thousands of chemicals will be inhaled with the marijuana smoke. There is no doubt that marijuana can absolutely help alleviate a patient’s pain, and I believe that the consequences will be greatly reduced if marijuana is ingested in monitored amounts. CS

Even though medical marijuana has some potential to help with some diseases, I don't think that it should be legalized in the country. If marijuana was legalized, people could take advantage of it and use it for recreational purposes and think its safe. With the different forms of marijuana there are different advantages and disadvantages. For example, smoking it delivers all the plants natural compounds, but the amounts of active ingredients may be varied. If one choses to consume it in pill form it is difficult to control doses and contains only one of the active compounds (THC). Patients also feel more of the negative effects rather than the positive effects. In the long run, doctors and scientists are still unsure about what potients the marijuana may have, which makes doctors very skeptical. AB

If legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, that would probably raise public safety concerns. There are public health and safety reasons for Congress to not legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. There are no generally accepted studies supporting that smoking marijuana is beneficial to one's health. Studies do indicate that THC can be useful for the treatment of some medical problems. Studies conclude that smoking marijuana is not recommended for any medical use due to numerous adverse medical effects. Even though marijuana can be use in medical purposes, but I feel like it is not a good idea for marijuana to be legalize. It could increases the risk of diversion of marijuana into illegal channels. WL

I believe that medical marijuana should be allowed for relief of pain such as symptoms of chemo therapy. Doctors should be able to offer it as an option for patients' to decide if they want to take it or not. In California, it has been used for years by cancer patients to relieve the side effects of chemo therapy. Medical marijuana use is only legal in California, once a person goes outside the state border it is no longer legally allowed to be used by the cancer patient. Marijuana lessens the side effects of chemo therapy, marijuana prevents the nausea, it keeps people hungry, and helps people sleep better; which is exactly what would help a person who has cancer. SS

14 States have agreed to legalizing medical marijuana:
I. Fourteen states have enacted laws that legalized medical marijuana:

Year Passed
How Passed
(Yes Vote)

ID Card Fee
Possession Limit
Accepts other states' registry ID cards?
1. **Alaska**
Ballot Measure 8 (58%)
1 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature)
Unknown *
2. **California**
Proposition 215 (56%)
8 oz usable; 18 plants (6 mature, 12 immature)**
3. **Colorado**
Ballot Amendment 20 (54%)
2 oz usable; 6 plants (3 mature, 3 immature)
4. **Hawaii**
Senate Bill 862 (32-18 House; 13-12 Senate)
3 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature)
5. **Maine**
Ballot Question 2 (61%)
2.5 oz usable; 6 plants
6. **Michigan**
Proposal 1 (63%)
2.5 oz usable; 12 plants
7. **Montana**
Initiative 148 (62%)
1 oz usable; 6 plants
8. **Nevada**
Ballot Question 9 (65%)
$150 +
1 oz usable; 7 plants (3 mature, 4 immature)
10. New Jersey
Senate Bill 119 (48-14 House; 25-13 Senate)
2 oz usable
9. **New Mexico**
Senate Bill 523 (36-31 House; 32-3 Senate)
6 oz usable; 16 plants (4 mature, 12 immature)
11. **Oregon**
Ballot Measure 67 (55%)
24 oz usable; 24 plants (6 mature, 18 immature)
12. **Rhode Island**
Senate Bill 0710 (52-10 House; 33-1 Senate)
2.5 oz usable; 12 plants
13. **Vermont**
Senate Bill 76 (22-7) HB 645 (82-59)
2 oz usable; 9 plants (2 mature, 7 immature)
14. **Washington**
Initiative 692 (59%)
24 oz usable; 15 plants

I agree with these states and think that medical marijuana should be legalized. There a plenty of positive things that can come out of this, such as relieving pain, relieving stress, nausea, vomiting, etc. There have been many studies on the side effects of marijuana and there is no hard, conclusive evidence that it is a notable health risk to individuals. That is my main point of view and argument: if there is no notable damage to the body, why should it be illegal for medical purposes? I can understand that it will be hard for law enforcement to crack down on medical versus recreational use of marijuana, but it shouldn't effect if marijuana can be used for legal purposes. Maybe the law should be changed so that patient with a prescription for medical marijuana has to use it under supervision of a doctor so it is less likely to confuse law enforcement. Either way, i think that medical marijuana should be legal. - CB