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In recent years, the debate on the legalization of marijuana has been conducted rigorously, with the contrasting point of views presented by the researchers. Many perspectives can be taken into consideration, and sometimes the perspectives illustrate the contrasting features of the advantages and disadvantages of marijuana. Unlike the myths that are presented to us today, it is not what like the myths has told us. Like any myth, Marijuana has its true facts, uses, properties, and history that is concealed with the piles of misrepresentation, misconception, and misunderstanding. According to Solomon, Cannabis Sativa or most commonly marijuana is a plant that is cultivated in order to get the use from its leaves and flowering tops.
Historical Usage of Marijuana
If we look into the history, Cannabis is used throughout history by Chinese, where its earliest usage origin can be traced back to "Shen Nung Ben Ts'ao King". The origination of this document can be traced and ascribed to the Emperor Shen Nung who according to historians have lived around approximately 2,800 BCE. Within this document, the volume is given the vast explanation attributed to the marijuana plant and herb uses regarding medicine. In “Ma” the section that is revolved around the usage of marijuana, a great amount of detail is given on the purpose and preparation of the herb. Unlike smoking, they used every plant part and presented its usage.
As an example from the document, the cannabis plant flower was used in relieving open wounds and menstrual cycle, while the marijuana seeds were approved for usage of internal purposes like relieving from aconite poisoning, constipation, post-partum difficulties, vermillion poisoning, and obstinate vomiting. Although the warning is given in this document about the excessive use disadvantage of the cannabis herb. Marijuana which is also known as hemp is a source of fiber, medicinal products, birdseed, and rope. Philippine in fact once provided marijuana with rope to the US before the supply line of this plant transportation is cut by the Japanese. However, in the year 1937, usage of marijuana was banned as it was misused by the peoples.
Myths Surrounding Cannabis Use
Whenever the word marijuana comes into our mind, our thought goes to addiction, drugs and ruined lives. However, the good side of marijuana is buried in all these mythical concepts. Marijuana is used for a long time in order to treat people with pain sicknesses. Most of the diseases that are treated by the use of marijuana are ascribed to the people with terminal illness or illness attributed to pain. Examples are arthritis, glaucoma, and cancer. Apart from its uses in the medical field, the plant is also surrounded by the myths regarding its adverse psychological effects. Unlike most of the popular beliefs, marijuana is not highly addictive. Users of marijuana are not the hardened criminal persons and the link between the use of marijuana and the committed crimes by criminals has no direct relationship. Similarly, the basic structure of the human personality is not altered by marijuana. It can be prescribed as a medical drug. As compared to its risks, its medicinal benefits are outweighed.
Uses of Marijuana
Many of the researchers have told that the usage of marijuana in a medical fraternity can treat many of the diseases like multiple sclerosis, nausea, glaucoma, and arthritis. Even in the therapy of cancer, where patient's health is in a critical position, usage of marijuana is recommended for the disease symptoms therapy. According to several studies, in glaucoma the marijuana usage dampens the intraocular pressure, thus treating the disease. Any method of its administration produces positive outcomes except its direct eye application. Similarly, rheumatoid arthritis can be treated using this drug. The condition of rheumatoid arthritis arises when the tissue in the joints of a person is attacked by their own immune system. It has been concluded by the American for Safe Access (ASA) that pain is actually be relieved and the symptoms are reduced by the application of cannabis. Most importantly, it has been stated by the ASA that, as compared to most of the pain killers, marijuana has few dangerous side effects. Modern research has shown that cannabis use could still be implemented for even more treatments then as discussed with a wider clinical innovation range. The marijuana medicinal features root it to be neuroprotective or pain killer due to the pain inflicted because of damage of nerves. Over 60 international and U.S. institutions of health support the medicinal marijuana usage under the supervision of a physician.
Modes of Usage
Unlike most of the treatment modes, marijuana has a fast mechanism of action. Firstly, cannabis can be used in several ways. Most of the people thought that there is only one way to consume marijuana i.e. through inhalation. Although it is the most common method it is dangerous because throat and lung cancer could be developed by the inhalation of marijuana. Today new methods have been developed by the science for the people who want to use marijuana for medical use. Oral method is one of such methods that are applicable. Without the side effects that can harm our lungs, cannabis can be administered by the physician orally by mouth. As stated earlier, this method circumvents the lungs and directly goes into the intestine and stomach, where it gets absorbed. Another method that could be administered is to take the plant by the patient by way of the tincture. This method makes the cannabis more potent, without the risks as stated previously. In addition to that, salve can be made through medicinal marijuana. The salve thus made can be directly applied to the skin to ease the joint pain. Finally, administration of marijuana can be done through the method of intravenous.
Arguments and Counter Arguments
Like all other topics that stir controversy, the debate about marijuana also has a side that takes a position against the use of marijuana. Firstly, it has been stated by the opposition that danger could be posed by the use of marijuana if it is inhaled or smoked. This danger includes stunted growth and cancer. In order to counter this narrative, the essays' author already stated that different methods can be used to administer marijuana. Fumes inhalation is not the only option that can be exercised. Use of cannabis can be done through oral and topical application. These methods eliminate the above-mentioned risks that lead to health issues. Another statement which is passed is that although cannabis is a naturally growing drug, the toxic chemicals are still the part of the plant that poses the dangerous side effects. The opposition claims THC to be the chemical which produces harmful effects in a person body. Most of those people opposing marijuana prescribe Marinol, which also contains THC. Though now a day, chemical and compound separation can be carried out from plants using modern technology. Lastly, it is claimed by the critics that abstinent effects can be caused by the use of marijuana. Numerous studies challenge this claim and state that there is no relationship between addiction and marijuana use. Morral (2002) in addition states clearly that use of marijuana does not lead to the usage of other consumption of drugs.
Along with its uses also some other things have to be noticed when the debate of marijuana legalization is concerned.
The mortality rate due to the consumption of Marijuana
It has been reported that no one has ever died due to the consumption of marijuana overdose. Most of the people think that if the amount of THC is increased in their system, then it would kill them. Ever since the use of marijuana has been known to human beings, not a single death has been recorded because of the overdose of marijuana. On another hand in the year 2010, from a drugs overdose, 38,329 people have died. Sixty percent of the deaths were caused because of the drugs that were prescribed. In 2010, almost 26,000 people had died due to issues related to alcohol usage.
American People Admitting the Use of Marijuana
Most of the polls that are involving the Americans showed that almost 40% of the Ameican population admits that they use marijuana at least once in their life. Marijuana is more pervasive with the passage of time every year despite it being less addictive effect than coffee. This is the reason that people are finding it safer to try marijuana than other drugs.
Marijuana and Other Legalized DrugsA study is conducted by the Lancet and which is also reported by the Economist in the year 2010 by the drug expert team in the U.K. They assessed the harms that are associated with the use of other drugs as well as marijuana and concluded that the harm that marijuana posed is less as compared to tobacco and alcohol. The pot negative stigma has made it look worse than other legalized drugs and since it is still considered to be illegal, the only fact that it is associated with the pothead culture is because to use it, people are willing to smoke it breaking the law.
Low Substance Abuse Risk
Contrary to the belief that marijuana is addictive, it is not addictive as one might think. The Chief Medical Correspondent of CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote recently in his essay that we are misled systematically on the consumption of marijuana. According to him, dependence on marijuana is around 9-10 percent in adults. While if we look at the tobacco, it makes 30 percent of its users addicted.
Gateway to Other Drugs
One of the most widespread and biggest arguments that are presented by the detractors of marijuana is that marijuana smoking will lead to the consumption of other drugs. It has been pointed out in the study presented by the "Scientific American" that people who first use marijuana before trying any other drug is not the causation but indeed a correlation. People who consume alcohol and use cigarettes also after some time use harder drugs. If this thing is kept into consideration, then it can be asserted that almost half the American population is involved in using more severe use of drugs because they have consumed marijuana.
In conclusion to the essay, different methods can be administered to consume marijuana. These methods include topical, oral, and usage through a tincture. Due to its numerous usage and chemical potency, the plant of cannabis sativa can treat several chronic and acute illnesses, such as arthritis, glaucoma, and cancer therapy. Also, numerous studies contradict the view of marijuana addiction and claim that it has not had any addictive symptoms. Finally, the implementation of marijuana use should be carried out because its risks are outweighed by its benefits.
Aggarwal, S. K., Kyashna-Tocha, M., & Carter, G. T. (2007). Dosing medical marijuana: rational guidelines on trial in Washington State. Medscape General Medicine, 9(3), 52.
Earleywine, M., & Barnwell, S. S. (2007). Decreased respiratory symptoms in cannabis users who vaporize. Harm Reduction Journal, 4(1), 11.
Morral, A. R., McCaffrey, D. F., & Paddock, S. M. (2002). Reassessing the marijuana gateway effect. Addiction, 97(12), 1493-1504.
Stone, D. (2014). Cannabis, pesticides and conflicting laws: the dilemma for legalized States and implications for public health. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 69(3), 284-288.
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