To legalize or not?: The Marijuana Dilemma

To legalize or not?
To legalize or not?

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To legalize or not?: The Marijuana Dilemma

The debate for and against the legalization of marijuana remains highly contested and may be around in the long run. The federal government, for instance, champions the view that seeks to criminalize marijuana as the basis for increased criminal offenses (Bakalar et al. 1995). On the contrary, the proponents of marijuana usage allege that the positive effects outweigh the negatives.

Thus far, the two extremes have been so passionate in supporting their perspectives with concrete arguments.  Despite the heated debate surrounding marijuana, it is only fair to support the school of thought that seeks to decriminalize the use of marijuana for health reasons. In this paper, I will support the argument that marijuana should be made legal on medical grounds.                                                                                                                                            

By August 1999, states such as Alaska, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington have passed statutes to decriminalize marijuana use for medical reasons. This has seen more than 20 states pass laws that legitimize marijuana usage for medical therapy. Terminally ill patients have benefited widely from these passages. Nonetheless, many people in states that stand opposed to the marijuana use have been dying in their numbers. Ironically, does it, therefore, mean that states in which marijuana has been made legal are mindful of people’s welfare than those that criminalize the substance?

To legalize or not?: The Marijuana Dilemma

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One of the leading factors, why marijuana should be legalized, is due to endorsement by medical experts. In a previous survey conducted by American Society of Clinical Oncology, for instance, 1,035 members provided extraordinary views. About a half of the physicians indicated that they would prescribe marijuana only if it were legalized while 40% reported that they have already prescribed to patients.

If doctors are prescribing marijuana, then it is evident that it is effective when it comes to treatment of certain illnesses. Furthermore, the majority of physicians believe that marijuana is an appropriate anti-emetic. This is of great importance due to severe dehydration associated with emesis or commonly known as vomiting. Medical experts are permitted to recommend narcotics as pain relievers like ephedrine widely known to lead to death in the case of an overdose; nonetheless, they are not allowed to prescribe marijuana even it has not proved to cause death (Kassirer, 1997).                                                                      

Scientists have demonstrated that marijuana is effective in treating terminally ill patients as a result of its active ingredient or THC chemical. Cancer Patients have learned that marijuana is considerably effective in reducing adverse effects of chemotherapy. Again, multiple sclerosis that is associated with painful muscle spasms, and vertigo that make life unbearable.

Some patients allege that marijuana is effective in reducing this pain (Gorodetzky, 1997). Although, there are medications for relieving multiple sclerosis pain, the majority prefer marijuana to reduce their suffering. This is because such medications lead to severe adverse effects, which are not evident with marijuana. 

While science has provided a way of making synthetic THC, promoted as Marinol, it’s very costly and seems to lead to significant levels of anxiety and depression (Kassirer, 1997). Other adverse effects of synthetic THC include severe dizziness and unstable gait. Much as these negative effects can be challenging to handle, doctors should prescribe a pill for relieving such effects.                                                                                                                                                                                         The application of marijuana for medical reasons is a highly debated topic fueled by divergent opinions. These different views stem from the controversy concerning the utilization of an illegal drug for medical reasons. While many people oppose the medical use of marijuana, the other side of the divide has strong proponents who support the use of marijuana for curing chronic diseases. 

For hundreds of years, marijuana has been used to ease the pain. With this in mind, modern doctors and scientist think that those opposed to the use of marijuana, are either ignorant or blatantly overlooking the value it presents to the medical world.  People suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS acknowledge the fact that marijuana drug offers them the much-needed therapy (Gorodetzky, 1997).


Bakalar, James B., M.D., Grinspoon, Lester, M.D (1995). “Marijuana as Medicine: A Plea for Reconsideration”, Journal of the American Medical Association, 21 June: Vol.273 No 23

Gorodetzky, Charles (1997). “Marijuana”, Grolier Interactive Encyclopedia, CD-ROM, Gwynne, Peter, “Medical Marijuana Debate Moving Toward Closure”, The Scientist, 31 Mar. 1997: Vol.11 No 7

Kassirer, Jerome P., M.D. (1997). “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana”, the New England Journal of Medicine, 30 Jan. 1997: Vol.336 No 5

To legalize or not?: The Marijuana Dilemma

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