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Marijuana Legalization


According to Redinger et al. (147) there has been a growing number of states and municipalities legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. However, marijuana is ranked as the most frequently used illicit substance globally. In the US, about 6500 people begin using marijuana every day (Nussbaum 1). Among the individuals 10% of users develop a cannabis use disorder. Additionally, marijuana is said to cause major side effects on individuals. However, advocates of the legalization of cannabis maintain that its prohibition has been ineffective as well as expensive policy that focuses to punish ethnic minority unfairly of a drug that is less harmful compared to alcohol (Hall 600).  Although marijuana is addictive, it should be legalized as it can be used effectively in medicine to manage different symptoms associated with chemotherapy and manage neuropathic pain. 

First, based on its history, marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes over the years. People have been using marijuana for healing before written word was discovered. It was first introduced in the Chinese medicine armamentarium around 4000 years ago (Lombardi 2). By 1800s its use had expanded to the US and Ireland as the doctors prescribed it regularly. Americans believed it was safe, hence, they recommended it to new moms to relieve teething pain among fussy babies. In 1842, William O’Shaughnessy conducted clinical trials that showed that the use of marijuana as a muscle relaxant and anti-convulsive was effective (Lombardi 5). First government survey of marijuana by the Ohio State Medical Society was carried out in 1860 (Lombardi 6). Its findings showed that it helped in relieving pain, bronchitis, venereal disease as well as postpartum depression. In 1915, Sir Willian Osler maintain that cannabis was the most effective remedy for migraines.

Although, marijuana’s use for medicinal purposes dates back to 2000 years ago, today it is categorized as a Schedule I drug in the U.S. However, most researchers that study the drug feel that it has been wrongly classified (Lombardi 10). They maintain that its label cannot be equated to its science. First, they argue that most compounds that are utilized in the studies for therapeutic purposes lack THC. It is a marijuana’s compound that make people high. It contains over 60 cannabinoids that interact with the central nervous system of the body thus offering relief from diverse conditions (Lombardi 12). Some researchers also maintain that there are different evidences that show that the drug is not addictive.

According to Goldstein (Goldstein 15) Marijuana is substance that can be used for various operations. In Europe the plant grew in the wild and individuals used it. About 500 to 1500CE the plant was prescribed by European healers for earaches, toothaches, labor pains and headaches among other ailments. Most parts of Europe have cool weather, therefore, marijuana from the cool areas does not have a huge amount of THC compared to those from hot areas. Therefore, there is a possibility that the cannabis used by the Europeans during the middle Ages did not make them high. Apart from using it for medicinal purposes they also utilized it to make rope, yarn as well as clothing (Goldstein 15). Fibers that were made from hemp had high quality and were salt-water resistant. Therefore, they were used to make sail-cloth and fishing net. Hence, it is evident that apart from being used as a drug the plant can be utilized for other purposes.

In the late sixteen centuries, the Europeans introduced their cannabis traditions to North America. The first draft of the US Declaration was written on hemp paper and the initial flag was made of hemp. The U.S.  embraced the use of hemp and it was considered as the country’s third largest crop after tobacco and cotton (Goldstein 16). During the mid-nineteenth, century, British scientists that were working in India realized the healing power of marijuana that grew in India. It contained more THC compared to that grown in European countries (Goldstein 16). In sub-Saharan Africa, cannabis was used for religious purposes as well as for medicine and magic. By 1880s marijuana plant had spread to different parts of the world including Mexico.  

Today, there is a growing number of patients using cannabis for medical purposes. However, although there has been an increased focus on the potential of marijuana as a medicine, there lacks enough scientific knowledge concerning its positive effects (Teigen et al. 1). The plant has more than 80 diverse cannabinoids and the most popular ones are the THC and CBD. There has been a growing interest in the contents of marijuana. It has attracted various scientific studies over the years. In the U.S., the use of cannabis for medical purposes was allowed in the 1990s (Teigen et al. 2). In 1996, California was the first state to allow legal access as well as use of cannabis for medical purposes (Bridgeman et al. 181). However, people were required to use under the supervision of physicians. Today, there is various medicines that contain cannabinoid (Teigen et al. 2). For instance, in Norway the only marijuana content sold is nabiximols. It is mostly used to manage multiple sclerosis.

There are various ailments that can be managed using marijuana. For instance, in Norway medical cannabis is use to relieve chronic pain. About 30% of adults in Norway are affected by prolonged pain (Teigen et al. 3). It is also considered as a leading cause of long-term sick leave as well as disability. Nevertheless, there are no enough studies that show the effectiveness of the drug in managing chronic pain. Therefore, there is a high chance that its effectiveness maybe overshadowed by the negative effects of the drug (Teigen et al. 2). Additionally, marijuana is used to manage symptoms that are linked to cancer. The treatment of cancer involves intense as well as aggressive chemotherapy that mainly leads to nausea and vomiting. However, there is no enough evidence on its use therefore, there is a lot of evidence showing its effectiveness.

A report by Becker (N.p) shows that the use of cannabis has been effective in managing diverse ailments. For instance, based on the report the use of marijuana was considered to be effective in managing chronic migraines. One of the patients maintained that she had a hard time managing Crohn’s disease as well as chronic migraines. She tried different powerful drugs; however, they did not give her any relief. However, following the use medical marijuana she was able to manage her condition and live a normal life. There are also various cancer patients that maintain that the drug has been successful in managing their conditions and relieving pain.

The report shows that different patients that had used the drug effectively, testified to ensure that it was legalized (Becker N.p). Most of the patients maintained that they feared if the drug was legalized, they could be arrested for using it. Additionally, some patients were concerned that their children could be taken away from them if they were found using cannabis. Such dilemmas show the controversies surrounding its use for medical purposes.

Moreover, in the UK there was a case of a mother whose medicinal marijuana was confiscated at the airport. The medicine belonged to a 12 years-old boy who was suffering from epilepsy (Spark N.p). After his hospitalization in a London hospital, his mother tried to sneak some cannabis oil from Canada, however, it was taken at the Heathrow Airport. The mother decided to campaign for the law that legalized its medical use to help children like Billy. Under the UK law, Cannabis is said to have no medicinal purposes. Hence, it cannot be prescribed by the doctors. The case, is considered as a wake-up call for legalization of marijuana for medical purposes in the UK.

In Canada, there is a growing use of cannabis for medicine purposes. For example, in 2015, 68% of individuals maintained that the regulations needed to be relaxed (Leyton 75). There is also a high number of individuals that use marijuana in Canada. Approximately 20% to 26% of Canadians aged 15 and 25 years have used the drug at least once over the past year. 40% of people in the country have been using it for a life time. There has been a growing use of marijuana in other countries over the years.

There are different ways that cannabinoids are taken. For instance, they can be inhaled or taken orally. Also, there is rectal route, sublingual administration as well as they can be used as eye drops. Its functions depend on how it is administered. First, its inhalation leads to maximum plasma concentration within a few minutes (Bridgeman 186). It also leads to psychotropic effects within a few seconds or minutes. The effects are felt after 15 to 30 minutes. When taken orally, the effects are quite different in terms of the time that one feels them. Psychotropic effects are felt within 30 to 90 minutes (Bridgeman 186). The maximum effect is reached within two to three hours. The effects last for around 4 to 12 hours; however, this depends on the dose that an individuals has taken. As the legal landscape is changing, it is important to keep in mind that the diverse approaches of administration have significant public health implications.

Despite its legalization, it is important for medics to ensure that they are involved in the administration of marijuana. However, the involvement of the physicians depends on the state. First, they are required to understand the laws that guides its legalization. In case, they are administering the drug in areas where its use is legal, they have to follow certain steps (Redinger et al. 148). They need to understand that it is categorized as a Schedule I drug. Hence, they need to follow the guidelines stipulated by the FDA. Today, there are three cannabis-based products allowed by the FDA. They include dronabinol, nabilone as well as Epidiolex.

Dronabinol is approved to be used by adults in treating anorexia linked with weight loss in patients that suffer from Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. On the other hand, Dronabinol and nabilone are allowed to be used by adults to treat nausea and vomiting linked to cancer treatment (Redinger et al. 148). It is mainly used among patients who have failed to respond to other drugs. There are various products that are linked to cannabis, however, there are only a few which are permitted by FDA. Epidiolex is the only prescription product oil that is allowed to use in the U.S. It is allowed in treating 2 types of epilepsy in children.

In this case, the states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes the physicians can be involved in its administration through recommending it or attesting that a person does qualify to take it as a drug (Teigen et al. 7). Therefore, the physicians play an important role in ensuring that the drugs are not misused. They have the medical objection to recommend the drug. Nevertheless, the physicians may have diverse approaches to describing the scientific evidence that allows the use of cannabis for medical purposes. They may also interpret its risks differently. According to Redinger et al. (150) physicians are uncertain concerning their obligations when it comes to patients requesting to assess medical marijuana for the first time. Therefore, it is important to have further discussion on the use of medical marijuana among hospital ethicist or ethics committee.

Although countries have been focused on legalizing marijuana, there have been various issues due to the negative attributes that have been linked to it. There has been growing controversies on its use. The controversies are mainly linked to the effects of the drug. For example, according to Leyton (75) chronic users of marijuana may show cognitive deficits. There is also a high possibility that about 15% of users may become dependent to the drug (Leyton 75). Heavy users may experience the side effects for weeks. In this case, people who take 11 joints every day and have been under the influence for 10 years may experience the adverse effects. Another effect of long-term use of the drug is that an individual may experience extended withdrawal effects. People who start taking marijuana as adolescents may be addicted to the drug.

It may also affect their brain development and lead to poor educational results. Therefore, they may be forced to drop out of school (Bridgeman 180). Additionally, individuals that have used marijuana for a long-time are likely to develop chronic bronchitis. They are also likely to develop chronic health disorders that are linked to psychosis. Persons may develop schizophrenia as well as some types of depression. However, it mainly affects individuals that are predisposed to the disorders. Other adverse effects among heavy users of cannabis include vascular conditions such as myocardial infarction (Bridgeman 180). A person may also develop stroke as well as ischemic attack.  Short-term users may experience short-term memory. Other effects among the individuals include impaired motor coordination, affected judgement as well as paranoia.

The opposers of legalization of cannabis have raised concerns of its adverse effects. They maintain that its negative effects may surpass its positive effects. They feel that there is a high chance that people will be addicted to the drug. They also maintain that its legalization may send the wrong message to children (Becker N.p.). The opposers also maintain that it would cause conflict between the state and the federal government. In this case, it shows that despite the growing use of marijuana for medical purposes, there are people who are reluctant about its legalization.

Mainly, the use of cannabis has been linked to anxiety and depressive disorders (Nussbaum et al. 1). Its use is linked to various psychiatric adverse effects. It is considered as the most preferred illicit substance globally. There is a growing number of individuals taking the drug for recreational purposes (Nussbaum et al. 2). Hence, based on the research it is evident that the use of cannabis is linked to both positive and negative outcomes. Therefore, it is important for the involved parties to ensure that its prescription is well monitored.


Although marijuana is addictive, it should be legalized as it can be used effectively in medicine to manage different symptoms associated with chemotherapy and manage neuropathic pain.  The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been in existence for more than 2000 years. There is evidence that shows that it can be used to manage chronic pain, symptoms associated with cancer and epilepsy. However, its use needs to be monitored by physicians. A person needs to get authorization to take the drug. Despite the growing legalization in various nations, there are various controversies linked to its use. For instance, some people feel it may lead to increased cases of addiction. Also, there are different negative impact of cannabis. individuals that have used marijuana for a long-time are likely to develop chronic bronchitis. They are also likely to develop chronic health disorders that are linked to psychosis. Persons may develop schizophrenia as well as some types of depression. However, it mainly affects individuals that are predisposed to the disorders.

Works Cited

Becker, Jo. “Residents Speak Out for Medicinal Marijuana.” Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2003,

Bridgeman, Mary Barna and Daniel T. Abazia. “Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology,

And Implications for the Acute Care Setting.” P. T., vol. 42, no. 3, Mar. 2017, p. 180,

Goldstein, Margaret J. Legalizing Marijuana: Promises and Pitfalls. Minneapolis: Lerner

Publishing Group, 2016. Internet resource.

Leyton, Marco. “Legalizing marijuana.” J. Psychiatry Neurosci., vol. 41, no. 2, Mar. 2016, p.

75, doi:10.1503/jpn.160012.

Lombardi, Lisa, and Joseph McCombs. Time: The Medical Movement. , 2020. Internet resource.

Nussbaum, Abraham M., et al. “Use and diversion of medical marijuana among adults

admitted to inpatient psychiatry.” Am. J. Drug Alcohol Abuse, vol. 41, no. 2, 6 Nov. 2014, doi:10.3109/00952990.2014.949727.

Redinger, Michael, et al. “An Ethical Framework to Manage Patient Requests for Medical

Marijuana.” J. Am. Board Fam., vol. 33, no. 1, 1 Jan. 2020, pp. 147-51, doi:10.3122/jabfm.2020.01.190216.

Spark, Smith L. “How one sick boy could end UK’s medical marijuana ban.” WRAL, 20 June


Teigen, Ingrid Anna, et al. “Should more patients be offered treatment with cannabinoids?”

Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening, 23 Sept. 2019, doi:10.4045/tidsskr.19.0211.

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