Please enjoy this well written expository essay on Medical Marijuana by University of Phoenix student Thesya L. Johnson for her Com/150 – Effective Essay Writing course.
Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young (1988) mentioned in his conclusion and recommended decision from a previous petition “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance” (Docket No.86-22, p. 68). Yet, it is now 2010 and medical science still asks for a rescheduling of the plant as a whole to be reduced from a schedule one substance into a schedule two.
When a drug is considered a schedule one through the federal government, it is to state the claim the drug has potential for abuse, it has no medical use nor is it safe to use under medically supervised conditions. To express an example of hypocrisy, it should be noted there are currently six United States citizens using medical marijuana through the federal government and are issued 300 joints per month. The joints issued are paper rolled and the patients are required to smoke them. They are not permitted to administer the drug to themselves through any other process such as – vaporizers, treats or pipes.
Though medical marijuana may suffer the approval from the federal government, patients and physicians alike (in certain states) have a better chance of receiving treatment or prescribing treatment to certain approved conditions; legal according to state. To give one a head start the current accepted states are – “Alaska; Colorado; California; Hawaii; Maine; Michigan; Montana; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; Oregon; Rhode Island; Vermont; Washington” (ProCon.org, 14 Legal Marijuana States).
If a person is a patient in one of the named states seeking treatment of medical marijuana, being familiar and knowing the medical condition is very important. It is recommended to research the condition, research state laws, and research rights as a patient. A patient may find seeking such treatment is a long, complicated process twisted around the pole of politics.
After a patient has completed the research and feels comfortable with knowledge attained, he or she may want to first discuss it with a primary physician. The patients primary physician may or may not comply with the notion. It could be: the primary physician agrees but does not feel comfortable prescribing such a treatment due to the controversy in politics. It could be: the primary physician disagrees with marijuana being used for medical treatment. Then again, the primary physician may completely agree, refer the patient to a specialist for diagnosis and the patient may finally receive the needed medical treatment for the approved condition.
Once a patient receives a prescription, the next big step is finding where to purchase. Some states have compassion clubs/clinics which may require filling out a form and having the physician sign it, or a written statement from the physician stating the diagnosis for prescription. Even so, the patient should know the federal government still has every right to step in and shut these medical dispensaries down. A patient may also find one’s self seeking a dealer (sometimes a more difficult route).
The recommended “safest” way for a patient to fill the prescription is to grow it. “Safe” being it omits the middle man and the patient can be sure the product is pure. Again, if a patient is to choose this method, more research will be required for achieving knowledge according to state in how much a patient is allowed to grow. There are many things to consider; how many plants may grow at one-time, how much the plants yield and how much the patient is allowed to possess of that yield at any given time.
The patient will also need to consider which may be the most effective method of administering the treatment. Vaporization is highly recommended, though the tools to do so are slightly expensive. A person could expect to spend nearly six hundred dollars on a vaporizer however; using such a tool eliminates the harmful side effects that are said to be caused from smoking and promotes a smoother inhaling experience.
If the patient happens to be a child, most parents select a way much more discrete than others. The child may not even be aware that he or she is consuming any medication at all. This method is through baked goods; usually using the supplied marijuana to make cannabutter and using it as a substitute for regular butter or other oils called for in recipes such as – brownies, cookies and fudge.
Another way the patient may consider taking the drug is smoking. So far, smoking is said to be the most effective way to take this treatment for a more immediate result. However, with smoking come harmful side effects for respiratory illnesses such as lung inflammation, among many other ways it could affect the defense system of a person’s lungs including cancer.
There is one completely legal alternative the patient may consider to the controversial madness of receiving medical marijuana in its natural form. The US FDA- approved drug available is referred to as Marinol; a synthetic development of THC mixed with sesame oil and put inside a gel capsule. The gel capsules are prescribed through different dosages that range from 2.5mg to 10mg and are to be orally ingested.
Though Marinol is the only completely legal form of treatment; in most cases, it is the least effective way for a patient to be treated. For example: In comparison to Marinol only containing one cannabinoid THC, natural marijuana contains many other cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids, which are said to add to the medicinal value.
To highlight some of the commonly accepted conditions are those with cancer and multiple sclerosis. For cancer patients, the prescription is commonly used to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. However, according to researchers at Harvard University (2007) “The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread” (Science Daily). Also, two years prior, Paul Armentano, the Senior Policy Analyst of NORML [The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws] (2005) quoted in his article “Cannabinoids possess … anticancer activity [and may] possibly represent a new class of anti-cancer drugs that retard cancer growth, inhibit angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells” (Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry).
For those with multiple sclerosis (MS, a disorder of the central nervous system), marijuana is normally prescribed to aid in matters such as – bladder control, balance, muscle spasms, tremors, and vision. There have also been testimonies from patients whom normally transport around with a wheel-chair, stating when they smoke marijuana they are able to walk completely on their own. However, there are no clinical studies to the proof of the reported testimonies but there have been clinical studies that have shown certain cannabinoids may prevent the advancement of MS by slowing down the neurodegenerative process.
On the more controversial side of patients who may be in need of this treatment, are those with autism and bipolar/manic depression. Using the expression “more controversial” for the reason it is not commonly prescribed for these conditions and appears to generate additional negative feedback from the public view and physicians alike, especially concerning the use of treatment on children.
According to Susan Stevens Martin (2009) “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of scientifically validated treatments. The use of medical marijuana to treat autism has not been tested and could be dangerous for children” (ABC Good Morning Show). Yet on the other side of the story, a mother spoke out on behalf of her autistic child Joey and the claim feeding her son marijuana infused brownies recommended by his psychiatrist saved his life. Joey previously had been on 13 medications and after starting the treatment of medical marijuana, most of the medications were no longer needed, dropping in numbers to only three.
Similarly was a case of an eight year boy with bipolar/manic depression, along with many other disorders. The mother, knowing her son was already on several medications for his disorders and after receiving a letter from officials, warning if she didn’t get her son under control within 30 days he would be taken from home and put into the care of the county, found her-self desperate for a working remedy. Her desperation led her to pediatrician Dr. Mike Alkalay, who believes marijuana helps calm the brain. When she contacted the doctor and he prescribed medical marijuana for her son, she found results within the first half hour of his first treatment. The mother claimed for the first time in her son’s life he smiled and said he felt happy.
Child Protective Services stepped into the picture. They charged the mother with being unfit for administering marijuana to her son. They claimed she put him at risk. The judge dismissed the case. In conclusion, it brings the question what is the risk? Is it the fact the federal government lists it as a schedule one drug? Is it the fact the American Academy of Pediatrics only recommends scientifically validated treatments? Is it the possible side effects? Do not most medications come with possible side effects?
Even though the federal government may choose not to coincide with state laws and decide to keep marijuana listed as a schedule one drug, it still remains there are Physicians, Patients, Advocates and others involved through medical science that hardily disagree with the claim “marijuana has no medicinal value.” Those involved with medical science claim it rests on the National Institutes on Drug Abuse. Scientists and Advocates alike say if the NIDA would allow science to perform the studies needed, scientific validation of marijuana’s medicinal value would no longer be in question.
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