Healthcare Research Paper
What do the medical & psychological research articles say about the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating some conditions? Report on the main “pro” & “con” arguments regarding legalization of medical marijuana that are based on solid research. How has legalization of recreational marijuana worked out in Colorado? If you favor legalization of medical marijuana, what do you feel the restrictions should be, if any? If you oppose legalization of medical marijuana, what should be the penalties given to patients who use it anyway?
Medical Marijuana is the use of the whole unprocessed marijuana, cannabis plant, or its extracts known as cannabinoids to treat illnesses or mitigate their symptoms. Marijuana has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since this would require many clinical trials using human beings. Therefore, research not been conducted on a large-scale level which is a requirement for FDA approvals. So far, however, the plant has been found to contain chemicals that help to treat a range of diseases such as cancer and its symptoms such as appetite loss, chronic pain, nausea, and vomiting during chemotherapy.
For a long time, medical scientists have been developing cannabinoids in oil form with a particular interest in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Canabidiol (CBD). It should also be noted that the human body also synthesizes its own cannabinoids which are responsible for memory and cognitive functions, appetite, pain, senses, and time consciousness. THC-based medication is being used to decrease pain, inflammation, and muscle problems. It is also being used to treat mental illnesses and other cognitive illnesses such as epileptic seizures in children.
Moreover, there have been certain experiments using animal subjects which show that cannabinoids slow down the growth of cancer cells (Hart, Fischer & Ullrich, 2004; Sarfaraz & Adhami, 2008). Refined samples of THC and CBD increase the cancer-killing effects when used alongside radiation and other cancer treatments (Sarfaraz & Adhami, 2008). Previously, the diseases that have been largely untested in response to marijuana extracts such as HIV/AIDS, Alzheimers, Inflammation, seizures and addiction are now being focused on by researchers (Bayer, 2001; Eubanks, Rogers & Koob, 2006). Significant advancements have been made on the animal subjects used in clinical trials (Hyatt, 2006). This is indication of the high medical potential that the plant could be carrying.
Historical research and anthropology has also found evidence to support the fact that Cannabis was used for pharmaceutical purposes for many centuries (Sarfaraz & Adhami, 2008). A popular example is the cannabis that was found in a 2,700 year-old grave in Ancient Shaman (Sarfaraz & Adhami, 2008). Prohibitions were first imposed on Marijuana use in the United States at the beginning of the First World War when it was classified as a Schedule One drug alongside heroin. It was only recently that the drug put forward for more assessment and research. There have been numerous published research statements that have put motions forward to de-classify Marijuana as a Schedule One drug (Bayer, 2001; Eubanks, Rogers & Koob, 2006).
Cannabiniods have been found to have short-term effects such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting (Eubanks, Rogers & Koob, 2006). Its long-term effects have not been recorded on a large-scale basis, though a few suggestions on memory-related effects have been made (Sarfaraz & Adhami, 2008). The safety level of marijuana is therefore high owing to the inactive nature of most of its majority constituent elements such as CBD (Hyatt, 2006). This means that a marijuana overdose would not be fatal. Its active elements have been proved to have physiological effects to special groups of people including mental patients, adolescents, and pregnant women (Sarfaraz & Adhami, 2008).
The emergence of doctors and specialists who focus primarily on medical marijuana has contributed to the effectiveness of the use of cannabis. They have gathered enormous information on its effects and benefits to different patient groups, and therefore, they administer and supervise its use for maximum benefits. Findings indicate that its constituents are also useful treating other less pervasive diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, pruritus, Parkinson’s disease, Huntingtons disease, GI disorders, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (Eubanks, Rogers & Koob, 2006).
The legalization of medical marijuana will have many effects on varying dimensions in addition to direct health impacts. It will have an impact on medical research, classification of drugs, and global stand on the legal status of various drugs that are frequently abused. In terms of benefits, marijuana has been proven to provide significantly beneficial treatment for mental illness, pain, and cancer-related conditions and symptoms. Therefore, its legalization will open the use of these cannabis-based medications to offer treatment to a wide range of illnesses. On a broader level, it will also remove any restrictions on further and thorough marijuana research which has been slowed down by regulatory constraints. In addition, it will provide more opportunities for human trials which are necessary in FDA approvals and wide acceptance of this treatment. Legalization will also mean exclusion from prosecution and professional liability and subsequent loss of credentials owing to use of medical marijuana (Barkacs & Barkacs, 2010). Finally, legalization is beneficial since it gives credibility to marijuana specialists and researchers who have for a long time been overlooked and undervalued (Bock, 2000). Thus, they will be welcomed to international research forums that are focused on identifying the medical benefits of various cannabis varieties.
On the other hand, there are some disadvantages as well. Firstly, the legalization of medical marijuana has led to its increased use for recreational purposes. It has also encouraged other nations to take steps in legalization of all aspects of the use of drug. For some countries, most of them in the developing world, there is a worrying increase of marijuana and substance abuse on levels so high that they interfere with the country’s productivity index (Caulkins, 2012). Many of these countries have limited marijuana specialists, and its negative effects outweigh the positive ones (Caulkins, 2012). Many drug companies have also explained that the profiling of marijuana as a Schedule Two or Three drug will encourage the re-classification of other drugs that also have a few medical advantages (Schiefelbein, 2011). Finally, it may lead to complacency in professional and institutional environments due to legal protection. Omission of drug tests that contained a marijuana component will encourage the use of other drugs in these environments.
On November 7, 2000, Colorado voters approved Amendment 20 allowing use of marijuana for patients with medical consent and approval (Belenko, 2000). People were allowed to cultivate a maximum of six cannabis plants and to possess up to two ounces of the product. This legal development was followed by the Colorado Amendment 64 enacted in November 2012 for adults aged twenty one and above. It allowed persons to grow up to six cannabis plants, to possess all the marijuana derived from the plants legally, and to carry up to one ounce legally while travelling. It also allowed citizens to legally give up to one ounce as a gift to a person of the legal age. Public consumption remained illegal, as well as driving under marijuana influence. Authorities are keen to observe and implement laws regulating marijuana use especially in public.
Moreover, visitors and tourists are permitted to purchase and use marijuana while in the state. Although there was an expected societal disaster following the legalization, the negative impacts have not been as great as earlier projected, and this is largely because of the public consumption prohibition. The hours of operation for marijuana stores have also been mandatorily been set to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The business’s hugest drawback is its cash nature since banks which are federal regulated do not support this industry. The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado has pushed other states into evaluating how they regulate its use, leading to the easing off of the intolerant attitude towards legalization.
In the United States, twenty three states have legalized the use of marijuana for legal purposes. What began as a move by several states voting to legalize cannabis and then the decision being overturned has since evolved with some states even legalizing its recreational use. Regulations and policies mainly issues to do with the cultivation, dispensing, and verification of the need for its use by patients (Belenko, 2000). Some of the States that have legalized marijuana are experiencing a booming marijuana business (Gerber, 2004). Thus, it should be legalized to provide the health and medication rights to all citizens. In addition, this will lead to the expansion of research and perhaps finally make breakthrough discoveries in cancer treatments.
In the growing of marijuana, the Colorado regulations restrict six plants per person in their privacy. Such restrictions should be monitored closely to prevent a situation where people have more supply to the point of beginning to seek commercial benefits from it. Moreover, the distribution of the plant should be made transparent. Since pharmacies are regulated by federal laws and are thus unable to carry marijuana medication, they are sold through local dispensaries which are allowed to stock it.
Finally, there is a need to develop a system of identification of medical patients to certify their doctor’s marijuana prescription. Many people have been riding on this recent legalization to acquire the drug it on legal terms even when it is not prescribed despite the presence of a patient registry. For states that have only legalized medical marijuana, the task of preventing exploitation of this freedom is huge. Perhaps this is the reason why some states have also legalized recreational use with certain restrictions to ensure the medical marijuana sector remains functional and transparent to serve its purpose (Hallfoush & Katapoulsh, 2004). Other countries like Canada have a detailed registration process not only the patients but also for licensed producers under the country’s Marihuana for Purposes Regulations (MMPR). Similarly, federal and state governments need to synchronize their agreements on legalizations for both medical and recreational use. This stand should reflect a level of tolerance for each other’s regulations and restrictions while still maintaining their own systems. In general, the governments’ primary goal and role should be the safety and wellness of the people it governs.
Legalization of medical marijuana has been a genuine battle for many specialists who have been engaging in research on the medicinal value. It only seems fair and right to give these researchers an opportunity to conduct qualitative research and broaden the scope of knowledge in this field. Legalization of marijuana should be handled with caution and openness in order to ensure that sobriety is maintained in other discussions such as legalization of recreational use. Different states need to identify and carefully evaluate their citizens’ views and develop their restrictions in a way that reflects people’s needs and priorities. In the international scene, many countries have also moved to embraced legalization and vigorous scientific research on its constituents and medical effects. This research has also led to the identification of many marijuana species with useful genes and elements that hold immense medical potential. Regardless of decisions that regulatory agencies make regarding legalization, research on marijuana should be supported locally, nationally, and internationally.
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