Beatriz Lama Pérez
Marjory Hutchinson
ENG – 190
9 December 1999

Legalization of Marijuana

For many years the use of marijuana for medical purposes has been an issue of controversial discussion. Many claim that marijuana is a drug that has proven itself to be of no medical value in the treatment of terminal illnesses. Those who feel this way, usually ignore the long history of marijuana’s medical uses; a history that goes back thousands of years ago. The drug has aided many people with the coping of terminal diseases. The use of marijuana as a medicinal herb has allowed many with no hope, to enjoy life more fully and lead rather decent life-styles. Marijuana has been erroneously classified as an addictive drug that causes unrepairable psychological side effects. This may be true if marijuana is taken in heavy doses and for recreational purposes. The real fact however, is that this condition could occur with the abuse of any drug, whether it is legalized by the Medical Board or not. If marijuana is abused, it is being used in an abnormal manner, therefore possibly leading to severe emotional reactions and personality changes. Marijuana should be classified as a non-addictive drug thereby being legalized for medical purposes. The use of marijuana, under medical observation and through proper doses, in fact will not create a drug-addict, but rather it will enhance and increase the chances of a better life style.
All throughout the different epochs of this world’s history, cannibis sativa and cannibis indica, more commonly known as marijuana, has verified to its users its medicinal powers. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most active ingredient out of the already known 460 compounds found in cannibis. It is present in large amounts and is extremely psychoactive (Grinspoon and Bakalar). The first known record of marijuana use for medical purposes was in 2737 B.C. by a Chinese emperor by the name of Chen-nung. He recommended it for the treatment of malaria, constipation, rheumatic pains, absent-mindedness, and female disorders. After Chen-nung discoveries, many cultures acquired the emperor’s knowledge and accepted the therapeutic benefits of the medicinal plant. For example, in India, “Cannabis has been recommended to quicken the mind, lower fevers, induce sleep, cure dysentery, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, relive headaches, and cure veneral diseases” (Grinspoon and Bakalar). Other places where marijuana began to make a big impact were Persia, Assayria, Greece, Africa, South America, Turkey, and Egypt. Within the realms of Western medicine, cannibis began to demonstrate its abilities from 1840 to 1900. During this time, doctors like William B. O’Shaughessy and R. R. M’Meems published hundreds of articles strongly enforcing the medical abilities of marijuana for certain discomforts (Grinspoon and Bakalar).
In 1860, physicians from the Ohio Medical Society began an extensive research in treating cannibis as a medicine. They found great uses of the drug for painful maladies: stomach pain and gastric distress, chronic cough, neuralgia, and psychosis (Grinspoon and Bakalar). In 1937, diligently persuing the prohibition of marijuana’s recreational social use, led to the repudiation of marijuana as a medicinal alternate. In 1978 however, the states began responding the pleas coming from seriously ill patients for the legalization of cannabis to aid their aching bodies. Many diseased people died waiting. Ever since, many have died and will continue dying, while the debating physicians are still dwelling in the courts of the United States trying to bring an end to the suffering of the patients.
Marijuana has an infinite number of uses. A recent discovery by a South Florida doctor says that after some experimentation, the placing of marijuana in a test tube with the herpes virus, killed the virus (Yates). Over the years and through historical references, a list of medical uses for marijuana submerged. Found on the list are treatments for anorexia, asthma, pain, peptic ulcers, alcoholism, epilepsy, depression, migraines, anxiety, inflammation, rheumatoidal pain, hypertension, and insomnia (Zeese 2). “Interestingly, relief of many of the symptoms marijuana was used for in these illnesses are many of the same symptoms that have been proven in modern research . . .This should not be suprising unless we want to assume that all of the experience of thousands of years did not have some factual basis” (2).
Marijuana’s wonderous therapeutic abilities have proven to be exceedingly useful for the medical patients undergoing cancer