The Legalization of Medical Marijuana (Position Paper)

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For a long time, many countries around the world have been troubled by the debate about whether cannabis can be legalized. When making a major federal decision like this, certain political factors must be considered. Nonetheless, prior to America’s enlightenment, most civilizations in the country had harnessed the Cannabis sativa plant and used it for a variety of primitive medicinal procedures (Caulkins, Beau and Mark 37). Pacula, Rosalie, and Rosanna believe that with the potential legalization of cannabis, it is important for people to be aware of the risks it poses in everyday life (62). People’s awareness of marijuana as well as understanding the effects it can cause to the body, together with its health hazards will assist make best decisions and better choices which will ultimately affect daily lives of persons in the surrounding. Are individuals aware? Is the usage of marijuana advantageous to human health? Similarly, is it dangerous to well-being? Do the harmful effects derived from consuming marijuana outweigh the benefits it might bring to people’s wellbeing and body? According to Belyea, tthese are some of the pressing questions individuals need to respond to before making decisions (260). It is appropriate to highlight that the war against drugs is expensive and costly being battled in the community demanding a huge sum of resources (Carah 823). From Pacula and Rosanna perception, the key stakeholders involved in this struggle include; court, people purchasing illegal drugs, black marketers and the government (21). As a result, this paper seeks to create an understanding and awareness of marijuana, its harmful consequence on consumer’s health and body, as well as the reasons for being against the authorization of Marijuana. The study also aims to create a cognizance that when Marijuana is legalized, it will be a curse rather than a blessing to individuals’ lives as soon as it is incorporated in our daily existence.

A comprehensive description about marijuana (as well-known as herb, grass, pot and weed) is provided by Friese, Bettina and Joel as the dried stems, leaves and flowers of a Cannabis sativa (36). They also added that tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the most active ingredients found in Marijuana, is liable for its effect of mind-altering. The quantity of this THC ingredient in cannabis determines the rate at which it will affect the human mind. Consequently, Rylander, Carolyn and Abraham argued that Marijuana might range from 0.9 percent to 7.9 percent in THC, whereas hash may range from 6.9 percent to 13.9 percent in tetrahydrocannabinol levels (271). Smoking Cannabis sativa releases THC, which subsequently travels via the lungs, to the brain through the bloodstream where it fixes to cannabinoid receptors situated on the nerve cells (Carah 824). Additionally, these receptors are highly concentrated in regions of the human brain which affects time perception, sensory, coordination, pleasure, concentration, and memories which are all linked to the higher feeling.

Marijuana is commonly smoked by the use of a bong, pipe, forming a blunt or rolling joint. According to Phillips, marijuana can be consumed in food, which might postpone the onset results, and on the other hand, tend to last long (142). Ammerman et al. displayed an attractive idea that marijuana causes a harmless desire, proposing that the right to use it should not be considered illegal (773). They as well presented marijuana as one of the most used “prohibited” drug substance in the U.S. In contrast, from the viewpoint of Anderson, Benjamin and Danie, marijuana is a preferred leisure drug of Canadians, alongside tobacco and alcohol (499). Moreover, Anderson claims that Canada has the highest rates of marijuana usage in the globe (2371). He as well noted that marijuana has some medical benefits. Nevertheless, medicinal usage of marijuana has to be validated with more research and particularly from persons who have made use of it for medical purposes. Rylander, Carolyn and Abraham maintain that although several types of research have shown detrimental outcomes, some have not. For this reason, the concern of whether Cannabis sativa is harmful or not, remain a topic of debate (270). Furthermore, there is no sufficient proof to certify treatments with the marijuana to medical situations. According to Friese and Joel, marijuana appears to yield substantial medical advantages for numerous Americans conditions varying from glaucoma up to cancer, though these advantages have not yet been acknowledged enough on state levels (35). Consequently, medical usage of marijuana is a serious state controversy. Therefore, there exist a necessity for deep studies and investigations concerning the beneficial outcomes of marijuana in the body before it is legalized (Caulki, Beau and Mark 56). Research from Belyea investigating the authorization of marijuana showed that the Canadian state is launching a project to guide the government in what way to map its strategy in legalizing marijuana (261). He furthered that the nine-member project will be led by McLellan Anne who functioned as justice and health minister. Remarkable in this particular post is that amongst the eight participants, five are licensed doctors, indicating health is a primary concern (Kwak 1232). Therefore, it is suggested that the usage of marijuana has dangers linked to human health. Regarding this finding, the usage of marijuana must not be allowed because of its possible harmful impacts to its consumer’s wellbeing and health.

Marijuana has adverse consequences to user’s wellbeing and health. To begin with, marijuana is highly addictive. It adversely affects social and academic development, and also affects psychomotor and cognitive functioning (Caulkins, Beau and Mark 38). Marijuana addiction creates health problems and drug dependence to its consumers as well as individuals who consume it for medical motives. Marijuana’s addiction might also result to psychological habituation and physical dependence (withdrawal and tolerance). Caulkins, Beau and Mark stated that persons who are habituated to marijuana might have problems to cut down or quit (50). Consequently, marijuana use can also result to withdrawal sign such as depression, loss of appetite, anxiety, physical exhaustion, and irritability. Likewise, it risks the public security as the consumer is more probable to carry out crimes. Pacula and Rosanna assert that marijuana usage is like alcohol use that might lead to mental impairment which affects learning, self-control, sensorimotor functioning and attention span (24). This displays the adverse consequence of cannabis to psychomotor and cognitive functioning which comprises perception and memory of time and motor coordination.

When an individual is under the effect of Marijuana, the consumer is prone to the vehicle collision on the road and can potentially harm unimpaired drivers and pedestrians. These cases expose how driving while under the influence of bhang is dangerous. As evidence, Choo maintained that most substantial evidence from a common health viewpoint is the effect of marijuana usage on the knowledge necessary for harmless driving as well as the significant rise of the peril of vehicle accidents (162). According to Havemann-Reinecke, around 10 percent of certified drivers aged 19 to 30 and 11 percent of people in grades between10-12 were reported to have driven for an hour under the influence of marijuana in the previous year (43). Similarly, Ammerman et al. highlighted that the rate of cannabis-impaired driving exceeds the rate of alcohol-impaired driving for both age groups (770). Such findings can make persons anxious about driving since there is no eidence of who is not and who is impaired. But, only 8.9 percent of individuals at mistake involved in vehicle accidents were realized to have been under the marijuana effect (Pacula, Rosalie and Rosanna 47). Even though the crash danger connected with liquor-impaired is significantly higher than that of marijuana‐impaired driving, it remains a severe concern. Vehicle accidents as a result of impaired driving are among the major contribution of marijuana to Canada’s government burden of injury and disease (Compton 210). There are also some probabilities that using cannabis in places of work will lower the ability to focus, perform work effectively that might result to job associated accidents.

Similarly, the usage of cannabis jeopardizes younger individuals. Immediately it is made legal, there will be easier access to marijuana to minors which can jeopardize their future and even their present lives (Room 348). Nevertheless, a study from Phillips showed that smoking at least four joints each week lead to a decrease in mental evaluation performance; people who had taken used marijuana often for no less than a decade did the worst (146). Medical research conducted by Rylander, Carolyn and Abraham demonstrated that long-term cannabis consumers were impaired 71% of the period on a choice-making assessment, compared to 54% for short-term consumers and 7% for non-consumers (273). Consuming marijuana at a younger age will as well affect the growth of their intelligence level in the brain that might lead to lower level performance and poor memory in school. Hayes and Mark purport that if educational performance is disturbed, absenteeism is highly evident thus poor academic attainment (1672). Again, there is a growing and strong body of proof that frequent marijuana use at adolescence stage can hugely damage a developing brain. Additionally, marijuana use is at a tender age is related to lower levels of academic attainment, reduced life gratification, high possibility of developing marijuana use disorder, as well as increased danger of evolving mental health difficulties (Pacula 10). This idea is also supported by Anderson, Daniel and Joseph who contend that teenager’s improved vulnerability to hostile long-term results from cannabis use is possibly linked to the point that their brain, comprising the endocannabinoid structure, undergoes active growth during adolescence stage (2370). Therefore, marijuana usage is extremely detrimental to people’s health specifically amongst younger consumers. In addition, because marijuana usage impairs severe cognitive functions, diverse learners could be impaired at a cognitive rate that is under their natural ability.

The usage of this substance lowers the user’s quality of life. As soon as a person becomes addicted, the consumer turns out to be preoccupied to his/her usage of cannabis drug, rather than developing the value of living as a result of its addicting outcome to the body. Equally, user addiction to marijuana becomes more detrimental to his/her health (Bradford 40). Thus, entire areas of an individual’s life come to be affected. From the viewpoint of Williams, the victim might be incapable of getting a job and can lack the inspiration to follow life’s visions (482). Consequently, the user will be unable to support his family or himself. Furthermore, an argument from Parry about the legalization of cannabis maintains that marijuana has a bigger effect on consumers’ psychological health both long term and short term use (399). This argument is further backed by Rylander, Carolyn and Abraham who stated that impacts of Short-term usage of this substance include difficulty of solving a problem and thinking, impaired memory, reduced physique movement, changed sense of time, altered senses and changes in moods (272). Conversely, the long-term impacts of cannabis consumption include learning functions, impaired memory and reduce thinking (Schuermeyer 146). All these consequences can last for a longer duration in user’s lifetime or even permanent. Equally, other adverse consequences comprise cardiovascular disease, stroke, congenital disabilities, infertility, and destruction in the immune structure Pacula also mentioned that marijuana is connected to the growth of respiratory difficulties such as lung cancer, bronchitis, emphysema and respiratory obstruction (9).

On the other hand, Schuermeyer argues that legalization of marijuana will rise government revenue through imposing taxes and dramatic decrease in the levels of theft and crime (147). Though, researchers reinforced by stronger medical proof mentions that increasing revenue and collection of taxes will exist at the expense of human health (Hayes and Mark 1670). The effects and consequences of marijuana, create severe health difficulties and a good number of them finally lead to death. This fundamental notion for marijuana legalization of gathering tax is as well portraying false image (Parry 400). Even though selling marijuana lawfully will bring revenue through taxation; however, it will be unsuccessful to shield the social expenses that cannabis places on the government. For example, augmented likelihoods of anxiety, lower rates of productivity, increased probabilities of accidents, sand distress situations amongst individuals are the social charges to be incurred by the public that is considerably higher than the commercial revenues received by the state (Anderson, Benjamin and Danie 498).

In conclusion, marijuana has a harmful consequence on consumer’s health and body thus should not be legalized. As medicinal cannabis usage still requires further studies and more validation, there is as well no sufficient concrete proof that it may be used as medicine. Similarly, there are still many ongoing consultations and arguments on the legalization of cannabis. Therefore, this indicates that some dark regions still need to be investigated. However, there are some questions which are still left unanswered. Recommendations from different stakeholders and agencies are required to explore marijuana’s impacts in people’s lives particularly to health. On the other hand, whatever the outcome of such negotiations, marijuana should not be legalized since life is so precious. As soon as life is destroyed, the curing will be a painful and a long process or worse still, it might result to user’s death. Even if there could be benefits of making marijuana legal in the nation, the dangers and harms of legalization, reinforced by medical proof affecting health and social difficulties, are significant and, therefore marijuana use should not be permitted. Additionally, the perils of marijuana still outweigh the advantages of legalizing it. It is more of a curse than a blessing.

Works Cited

Ammerman, Seth, et al. “The impact of marijuana policies on youth: clinical, research, and legal update.” Pediatrics 135.3 (2015): e769-e785.

Anderson, D. Mark, Daniel I. Rees, and Joseph J. Sabia. “Medical marijuana laws and suicides by gender and age.” American journal of public health 104.12 (2014): 2369-2376.

Anderson, D. Mark, Benjamin Hansen, and Daniel I. Rees. “Medical marijuana laws and teen marijuana use.” American law and economics review 17.2 (2015): 495-528.

Belyea, David A., et al. “Marijuana Use Among Patients With Glaucoma in a City With Legalized Medical Marijuana Use.” JAMA Ophthalmology 134.3 (2016): 259-264.

Bradford, Ashley. “The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Risky Behaviors and Educational Attainment in US School-Aged Youth.” 2015 Fall Conference: The Golden Age of Evidence-Based Policy. Appam, 2015.

Carah , Jennifer K., et al. “High time for conservation: adding the environment to the debate on marijuana liberalization.” BioScience 65.8 (2015): 822-829.

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Choo, Esther K., et al. “The impact of state medical marijuana legislation on adolescent marijuana use.” Journal of Adolescent Health 55.2 (2014): 160-166.

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Kwak, Alice. “Medical Marijuana and Child Custody: The Need to Protect Patients and their Families from Discrimination.” Hastings Women’s LJ 28 (2017): 123.

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Schuermeyer, Joseph, et al. “Temporal trends in marijuana attitudes, availability and use in Colorado compared to non-medical marijuana states 2003–11.” Drug and alcohol dependence 140 (2014): 145-155.

Williams, Arthur Robin, et al. “Older, Less Regulated Medical Marijuana Programs Have Much Greater Enrollment Rates Than Newer ‘Medicalized’Programs.” Health Affairs 35.3 (2016): 480-488.

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