Medical Marijuana: Why the U.S. Government Should Reassess Its Laws

Topics: Drug addiction, Medicine, Pharmacology Pages: 7 (2411 words) Published: July 31, 2013
Medical Marijuana: Why The U.S. Government Should Reassess Its Laws Marco A. Trujillo
Wayland Baptist University
Oct 27, 2012

Medical Marijuana: Why The U.S. Government Should Reassess Its Laws
The topic of marijuana, also known as Cannabis Sativa (Cannabis) has been a hot issue of debate in the United States for quite some time. Many people have argued that marijuana should be classified in a manner relative to that of tobacco or alcohol. In recent years however, the focus of its legislation has shifted. More and more people are increasingly concerned with how current Federal laws inhibit the recognition and administration of marijuana as a medicine. A medicine is defined as any drug or remedy for use in treating, preventing, or alleviating the symptoms of disease. Compared to some traditional medications, there are a large amount of patients who report that marijuana is more effective at treating their illnesses. Despite these reports, the Government remains firm in its stance against marijuana. Marijuana has many therapeutic benefits and should be recognized by the Government as a bona fide medicine for the treatment of certain medical conditions.

Marijuana is one of the first plants ever to be cultivated by man. The very first archeological evidence of this was found in China. These findings indicated that marijuana was cultivated for the fibers of its stem for the production of various materials over 4000 years ago. The very first recorded use of marijuana as a medicine was in the year 2727 B.C. in Chinese pharmacopoeia. According to Zuardi (2005), “Indications for the use of cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others” (p. 154). From then on, records indicate that marijuana was used in many civilizations throughout history before it finally reached the Western Hemisphere. It wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that marijuana appeared in Western medicine. Medical marijuana reached its climax during the late 19th and early 20th century. It was marketed by laboratories such as Merck, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and Eli Lilly (Zuardi, 2005, p. 155). These companies claimed that marijuana was effective at treating a multitude of ailments. Marijuana, however has had a long love-hate relationship in the United States for quite some time. In 1906 many states began labeling marijuana as a poison. Some say this was racially motivated. This led to prohibitions and eventually its classification as a drug in all states under the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act established in the 1930’s. Despite all this, during WWII the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the film, “Hemp for Victory” which encouraged farmers to grow marijuana to support the war effort. During the Vietnam era, marijuana became America’s favorite recreational drug. This may be where marijuana got its bad reputation. The majority of its users were young anti-war hippies who had a different take on life than the rest of society. Their opposition to authority is what fueled the negative stigma associated with marijuana. The belief amongst Americans was that people who used marijuana were nonproductive members of society. To this day many people hold a stereotypical view of marijuana as bad news for the country. This is definitely one of the reasons that medical marijuana is such a debated issue, and has not been considered a candidate for pharmaceutical studies. Currently marijuana is legal in many parts of Asia and the Middle East, but remains illegal in most Western countries.

It is difficult for scientists to properly study the positive medicinal effects of marijuana because of Government legislation. On October 27, 1970 the United States Government passed legislation that classified marijuana as a Schedule I substance of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This categorizes marijuana as a drug with no currently accepted medical use as well as a high...

References: American College of Physicians, (2008). Supporting research into the therapeutic role of
marijuana
http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/other_issues/medmarijuana.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2011)
http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/
Harvard Health Publications, (2011)
Zuardi, A. (2005). History of cannabis as a medicine: a review. Retrieved from http://www.oregon.gov/pharmacy/Imports/Marijuana/StaffReview/HistoryofCannabis_as_Medicine11.21.05.pdf
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