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The battle to legalize marijuana has been fought for almost seven decades, rendering one of nature’s most useful substances useless. The government’s campaign against marijuana has created cultural factors that make the use of marijuana socially unacceptable. Although extensive scientific research has proven that marijuana treats many illnesses, legislation has not allowed the drug to be legalized. If this drug were made legal, it would open a “gateway” of medical marvels nation wide. Therefore, marijuana should be legalized for medicinal use.
Tens of thousands of patients are using marijuana illegally to treat their suffering. Opponents of medical marijuana believe that the drug has no medical value and no place in the medical field for fear that the steps to legalization would set a standard to legalize all drugs, as well as addiction, violence, and a path to use other more harmful drugs. However, several studies have proven marijuana to be an effective medicine to help alleviate the suffering patients must endure from such aliments as glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, and even chronic pain to name a few. Over the past two decades, hundreds of researched articles on medical marijuana have been published informing the government and the public of the possible greatness this drug could do if only it were made available to the patients who so desperately need it. Nonetheless, medical marijuana is still deemed to have no medical value at all and as a result, millions of individuals who could benefit from this drug are left to either take their chance with the law, or make the best of their illness with medications that are found to be not as effective as marijuana. It should not be this way, we as Americans have the right to proper health care and the right to medications that are proven to be safe and effective. Medical marijuana should be legalized for all patients who prove to need the drug on the basis of its proven effectiveness over other legalized medications and the overabundance of scientific evidence of marijuana’s medical value.
As of today, marijuana is placed in Schedule I deeming it abusive with no medical value what so ever. Proponents of medical marijuana were outraged at this decision and as a result, they took action in the courtroom to overturn the scheduling of marijuana to a Schedule II drug. Trials continued until March of 1992 with no success for the reclassification of medical marijuana. However, the Food and Drug Administration had begun a program commonly known as Compassionate IND, in the mid-1970s, which allowed patients to obtain medical marijuana. A breakthrough for the proponents until the program closed in 1989 because of an enormous increase in applicants. Today, only eight people continue to use marijuana legally through the program.
For these eight individuals a victory has been won but what of the many millions of anguished patients who could benefit from this drug? The government has led us to believe that marijuana is a very dangerous substance that causes addiction, violence, and has no medical value at all. However, throughout history in many cultures and civilizations marijuana has been reported to be an effective medicine for many different illnesses. According to Dr. Lester Grinspoon in his book, “Marijuana the Forbidden Medicine”, the drug originated in Asia around the time of 8000BC and has long been used as a medicine in India, China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and South America for aliments such as venereal diseases, headaches, fevers, stimulation of appetite, pain, bronchitis, and asthma. In the late 1800s many different physicians after much study and research believed marijuana to be a drug of medical value that should be recommended to patients.
In more recent years, marijuana has been proven to alleviate such illnesses as nausea, caused by chemotherapy that can become so intense it has been reported that patients may break bones or rupture the esophagus while vomiting, glaucoma, by maintaining what sight is left and by reducing the pressure on the eyeball, and even pain. Hundreds of studies state the many benefits marijuana has to offer with an incredible success for example, according to the American Prospect in 1997, “Results from studies…found that smokable marijuana and THC out preformed the best available prescription drugs, reporting success rates close to ninety percent”.
Though proponents of medical marijuana have seen victory for the eight states that have legalized medical marijuana, the laws today still have a long way to go. As of today in Arizona for example, physicians are allowed to recommend marijuana but not able to prescribe it. After evaluation to determine if the patient qualifies for the drug, the patient is given an identification card to protect him or her from prosecution. Laws are being passed to supposedly