What is the Debate About Medical Marijuana Use?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2020
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Medical marijuana use is strongly debated. People should realize that this is not an argument about casual use of the drug, but is a debate about medical marijuana use to treat illnesses. Of course, some opponents to its medical use suggest that if all regions could get it legally prescribed, lots of people would use the drug casually instead of medically.

In places like the US, the drug was employed medicinally for several centuries, and thought to have curative properties for a number of conditions. This changed dramatically in the early 1970s when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified marijuana as a schedule I drug.

Such drugs are deemed to have no medicinal value, and from that standpoint there was no way to research drug benefits. This classification was, in large part, a response to deep concern regarding significant drug use occurring in the 1960s, which especially reflected the fear that marijuana was a gateway drug. These drugs presumably lead to heavier and more dangerous drug use.


In some countries marijuana is legal medically or at all times, and it is from these countries that research began to emerge suggesting medical marijuana use had benefits. In particular, its use to combat the nausea associated with AIDs or AIDs drugs and with chemotherapy began to point to very legitimate uses. There are now a number of suggested uses that inform the pro side of the debate about medical marijuana use, and proponents claim that the drug may help reduce inflammatory response, assist with chronic pain conditions, help with intestinal disorders, and increase appetite.

Proponents question whether marijuana is dangerous, and if so, counter that there are many dangerous and addictive drugs prescribed. These include RitalinĀ®, routinely given to children, and a variety of pain relievers. People supporting legalization include many traditional medical sources, including the American Medical Association, which is known as a more conservative physician group.

There are physicians and others who hold the opposite view in the debate about medical marijuana use. They express concern that marijuana has no legitimate use, that it will encourage drug abuse, that people will become addicted to it, and that they will be tempted to use harder drugs. Other arguments made by opponents to legalization or medical use include that smoking marijuana is injurious to the lungs. On top of that, there are now synthetic drugs that have similar chemical composition to marijuana, and these are safer substitutes.

The debate about medical marijuana use is not likely to end soon, though some regions have already legalized the drug as medicine. Proponents suggest that organizations like the FDA reclassify the drug so that clinical studies may take place to prove it worthiness or lack of usefulness. There may be some movement in this direction, but many are still opposed to making the drug legal.



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Post 2

@ Glasshouse -

I would like to add to your post. By diminishing the black market for marijuana you are effectively reducing the amount of money that governments are spending to prosecute drug offenders; specifically non-violent offenders caught on possession charges and low level dealers. I read an overview of a report by California NORML prepared for Oakland's Measure Z Oversight Committee.

About 10% of the states marijuana users use the drug for medicinal purposes. According to Jon Gettman, former national director for NORML, the U.S. Government spends $193 billion a year on its criminal justice system, 5.54% of that amount spent solely on marijuana arrests. If legalization of medical marijuana reduced arrest and conviction rates for marijuana

by the same 10% the country could save a little more than a billion dollars a year.

A half percent reduction in the criminal justice expenditures may not sound like much until you remember that this reduction is achieved by enacting a single law, and is in addition to the revenues created by taxation of the drug. The passage of a national medical marijuana law would allow the system to focus more resources on violent crimes. There are many arguments both for and against medical marijuana. Ultimately the decision on whether or not medical marijuana is socially, legally, morally, and ethically acceptable will be up to the taxpayer.

Post 1

You can't forget the debate over cannabis, either for medical use or completely decriminalized, as a source of revenue for the federal and state governments. Opponents of legalization say a marijuana tax will only lead to the same problems as alcohol taxes. Opponents claim that more money will be spent on the externalities associated with cannabis use than revenues received from taxation. Proponents refute this claim by pointing to the numerous studies that show there is very little risk for physiological dependence on cannabis. Proponents also point out that cannabis is not a leading cause of domestic violence, aggression, or other adverse behavior; essentially making the comparison of cannabis to alcohol invalid. Proponents also point out that legalization of cannabis will ultimately contribute to mitigating the problem of illegal immigration; in the process diminishing the presence of a black market for cannabis.

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