The debate concerning the use and abuse of marijuana is an ongoing and complicated one. Marijuana is a drug, the use of which has been declared illegal according to the U.S, constitution. Proponents of the ban on Marijuana argue that the use or rather abuse of the drug has more disadvantages than advantages. However, there are several other more harmful drugs in the market like alcohol and tobacco, which are not under any kind of ban.
The detrimental effects of alcohol and tobacco to the human health and body have become common knowledge but there is no ban on the use of these of these substances. Banning the drug and classifying it as an illegal substance does not necessarily help in averting the users of the drug. Those who desire to use it often find a way to acquire it, thereby increasing illegal traffic in obtaining the drug.
Main body about popularity drug
Marijuana is a highly popular drug in many American schools. The reason for this is its easy availability. The drug is traded illegally which does not require any laws like age limit to obtain it. Drug peddlers simply want money from their customers, which makes it very dangerous. Alcohol, on the other hand is easily available in the market, but there are numerous curbs on its use. Traders and companies are regulated by the laws and curbs on alcohol make it difficult for the youth to acquire it until they reach the appropriate age. Marijuana is an illegal drug and hence there are no laws to govern. The black market knows no rules and money is the prime factor to them.
There are numerous reasons for opposing the ban on marijuana and proposing its legalization. This essay aims to provide some of the reasons why marijuana should be legalized and be made readily available in the market.
Marijuana has been available and used since centuries, in the form of a spiritual and religious drug. There is also mention of the ‘hemp’ plant, from where marijuana is obtained, in the holy religious book of the Hindus, the Vedas. (Ibid, p.248).
There are a number of places in the Vedas where the religious and medicinal use o the hemp plant has been mentioned including its therapeutic and medicinal uses. Several other sources and literatures of ancient India have stressed the utility of the hemp plant (Grierson G.A., 1894).
The earliest record of the use of the cannabis plant has been found in Chinese ancient civilizations when the plant is believed to be used for making clothes specially for mourning the dead, a custom which is practiced to date, in china. The archeological site where the plant fiber was unearthed is believed to be nearly ten thousand years old, a civilization of the Stone Age. (Chang, 1968; Kung, 1959).
Evidence also endorses the use of marijuana in surgeries to alleviate the pain of the patients, during and after the operations in the ancient times in China. (Li H., 1975). The plant in its purest form had many cultural uses and was widely and extensively used by the Chinese community. In fact the penetration of the drug seems to be so intense that many scholars believe it to be a household drug, making it an important part of the agricultural industry.
There is also substantial literature and evidence by way of literary and religious resources which suggests that the hemp plant or the cannabis seeds have been used by a number of religions for several centuries, whether for spiritual purposes or otherwise. The hemp plant is also used in the religious festival of holy, by the Hindus in India. A concoction of a drink known as ‘Bhang’ is prepared with the cannabis seeds in the maximum proportion to the other ingredients (Chopra & Chopra, 1929).
If the use of marijuana has been and still remains to be so wide, extensive and popular among so many religions and societies, the American government must reconsider the ban on marijuana and legalize it.
Science and research is forever striving to acquire means and methods, drugs and medications to reduce the ailments of patients of various diseases, and have found marijuana in its various forms to be highly beneficial, whether it is the cannabis seeds or the hemp plant. Marijuana is known to produce certain chemical changes in the human body, which alter its functioning. Diverse cultures, societies and civilizations all over the world have been using marijuana in some form or the other. The drug was extremely popular in relieving several ailment including digestive problems, asthma, insomnia and pain in several serious conditions such as surgery.
However, the government of the United States has declared marijuana as an illegal drug classifying it as a ‘Schedule 1 drug’, with no medicinal use, and describes it as exceedingly addictive; (Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1985 – No. 2066) thereby prohibits the complete medical use of the drug. Whereas, according to the ninth report of the ‘Select Committee on Science and Technology’, cannabis is widely and extensively used by patients, for therapeutic purposes, by either smoking the drug or by consuming by mouth, pointing that the estimate of the users with multiple sclerosis could not be accurately determined, stating the figure could be very high. (Consroe, Tillery & Pertwee, 1997).
The BMA report of 1997 proposes the use of cannabis for therapeutic and medicinal purposes and suggests that it should be legalized by the law. The report also suggests the several therapeutic benefits of the drug stating that the pain due to damaged nerves in patients with terminal illnesses could respond to marijuana and hence could benefit from it. The positive effects of cannabis on glaucoma, a condition in which the high eye pressure can cause eternal blindness in patients, is widely accepted and known.
The drug has been proved highly useful in reducing the intraocular pressure of the eyes, which is one of the most common causes of blindness. The use of cannabis to cure bronchial asthma is also being experimented, as the drug is known to produce dilation in the small airways of the lings, thereby potentially reducing the symptoms of asthma. This report affirms the tremendous potential and scope of cannabis and marijuana (BMA, 1997; NIH, 1997).
Marijuana is also known to ease nausea and vomiting and is also used as a stimulant by patients of HIV and AIDS. It has been researched and proved that marihuana has proved highly beneficial to patients suffering from spine injuries and Parkinson’s disease. Its utility has also been confirmed in patients of the Tourette’s syndrome as well as muscle spasms. (Zimmerman et al., 1998).
Proponents of the ban on marijuana have stated that the drug is highly dangerous as it has the potential to weaken the immune system of the users and cause cancer. What the proponents forget is that the users of alcohol and tobacco have been time and again exposed to the deadly diseases very commonly. The effects of alcohol on the health of humans is widely known and accepted.
According to the American Council for Drug Education, about 100,000 deaths occur in the United States due to alcohol related problems (ACDE website, online). Regular and constant use and consumption of alcohol have the potential to cause great harm to the health of the person and in many cases proves to be fatal.
The regular users of alcohol have been reported of neurological problems such as lack of motor co-ordination, memory problems, and constipation leading to digestive and stomach disorders, seizures and sometimes even causing permanent damage to the brain. Alcohol is also believed cause cardiological problems due to the rise in blood pressure caused by its consumption. Tuberculosis and lung diseases are some of the commonly occurring disease due to the regular use of alcohol. The Council also affirms that long term use of alcohol, causes hepatitis and complete liver damage in many cases. Repeated use of alcohol and even tobacco cause cancers of the mouth and throat.
Apart from the several physical diseases and problems caused by the commonly obtainable alcohol and tobacco, there are a number of psychological disorders which the drugs are known to cause. The Council confirms that antisocial behavior and activities are often reported among users of alcohol along with the occurrence of various crimes such as rape and murder. Women drinkers, especially pregnant women are also reported to display significant health problems.
Pregnant mothers consuming alcohol give birth to babies with abnormalities, which in most cases are irreversible. What is most shocking is the fact that while marijuana has been prevalent in society for centuries owing to its medicinal and therapeutic properties, there is very little evidence for alcohol to support its use, yet alcohol is the most commonly found drug in the United States today. It is indeed disturbing that the reasons cited for the ban of marijuana are highly prevalent in society due to other drugs including alcohol and tobacco to name a few.
In today’s times when there is a serious call to go back to nature and look for solutions the natural way, marijuana stands a strong chance of benefiting the society in a substantial way. The entire world is fighting over several health-related issues today, due to the fast globalization and the drift, away from nature. Nature in its purest forms has presented humans with many medicines, in the form of herbs and plants, which we must make the maximum use of.
The medicinal value and therapeutic utility of marijuana are numerous to keep the drug pinned in the illegal category. The drug must and should be legalized so that the citizens on the United States can benefit from its many uses. With regard to drug abuse, there are several other ways to educate the users about the potential problems which may result due to over use of marijuana. There could also be new laws to restrict its use to adults and prevent the children from acquiring it. All drugs, whether legal or illegal, have the potential to cause severe harm to human, if the use is not limited. Even a common medication of cough syrup, if consumed in a higher dose, has the potential of causing harm to the human body.
Marijuana has traditional, historical and cultural roots, dating back to centuries, confirming its use even in the Stone Age. A drug of such repute should be freed from the shackles of law so that its true potential in the field of medicine and healing can be realized. Going natural is the best option in the current globalized scenario. Marijuana can prove to be that multi-utility option to treat many diseases. It could just be that wonder-drug, waiting round the corner, for its true medicinal potential to be realized completely.
American Council for Drug Education. Web.
British Medical Association (BMA), 1997; Therapeutic uses of cannabis. Harwood Academic Publishers.
Chang K., 1968; The Archaeology of Ancient China (New Haven: Yale University Press), pp. 111-12.
Chopra I.C. and Chopra R.N., 1929; The Present Position of Hemp Drug Addiction in India, Indian Medical Research Memoirs 31: 2.
Consroe P., Musty R., Rein J., Tillery W. and Pertwee R., 1997; The perceived effects of smoked cannabis on patients with MS, Eur. Neurol., 38, 440.
Grierson G.A., 1893/4; On References to the Hemp Plant Occurring in Sanskrit and Hindi Literature, in Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (India), 3: 247-8).
Kung C.T., 1959; Archeology in China, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1:131.
Li H., 1975; The Origin and Use of Cannabis in Eastern Asia: Their Linguistic Cultural Implications; in Cannabis and Culture, ed. V. Rubin (The Hague: Mouton), p.54.
NIH Report on the medical uses of marijuana, 1997; AMA Medical Marijuana.
The United States ‘Misuse of Drugs Regulations’ 1985 (No. 2066).
Zimmerman B., et al., 1998. Is Marijuana the Right Medicine for You.