Medical Marijuana

Topics: Cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Medical cannabis Pages: 9 (3142 words) Published: May 18, 2013
Complementary medicine and describe an ethical or legal issue regarding its use in treatment and what it brings to healthcare providers (Medical Marijuana)

At the highest level of law in the United States, marijuana is deemed as having no medical value. However, in the last two decades science has begun to reveal unbiased facts indicating the drug is an effective treatment of some illnesses. In light of new scientific evidence and public support some states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana despite federal law. In 1997, due to some states blatantly passing laws that conflicted with federal law the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy commissioned the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine (IOM) to study the drug. In 1999, the IOM issued what is still to date regarded by the majority of the scientific community as the most conclusive report on marijuana. The report came to the conclusion that marijuana does have potential medical uses. Despite the IOM's finding, and without any further research or clinical studies in 2006, the FDA refused to reclassify the drug keeping it listed as a schedule I controlled substance. This meant marijuana would remain illegal and continue to have no acceptable medical uses under federal law. Even though the drug is considered illegal by federal law, sickened individuals should have the right to use marijuana because scientific research has provided overwhelming data proving marijuana to be an effective treatment for some individuals with certain illnesses. Therefore, it is ethically just and fair to allow one to alleviate their symptoms of discomfort and restore some measure of quality to their life if there is a way for them to do so effectively. History of the use of marijuana

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is an annual flowering plant that has three recognized subspecies; Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. These 2/23/13three sub species of flora can be distinguished by growth patterns. Cannabis is a dioecious plant; meaning individual plants are either male or female. The female cannabis plant contains high levels of cannaboids, with delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the primary active ingredient. The cannaboids are found in the mature female floral development. For medical or recreational applications the flower buds are dried and then consumed for the mental and physical effects. The male cannabis plant contains less cannaboids which is the sought after psychoactive chemical for medical purposes. Therefore, the male plant is more commonly used for industrial applications and the female for medical, recreational, and spiritual purposes. Human beings use of the cannabis plant can be traced as far back as 8000 B.C. when the plant was recognized for its ability to produce high quality fiber. Cannabis fiber, or hemp, is one of the world's strongest naturally occurring fibers, and has been commonly used to make paper, rope, and clothing by mankind's ancient ancestors. These hemp products played an important role in ancient's life, and also in the development of more modern products. Mitch Earleywine (2002) emphasized in his book Understanding Marijuana of how valuable the cannabis plant is because “humans are able to use virtually every part of the plant. The stalks help produce fiber; the seeds provide food and oil, and the flowers and resins appear in medical and intoxicating preparations” (3). Marijuana was first recorded being used as medicine around 2700 B.C by the Chinese emperor Shen Nung who is regarded as the father of Chinese medicine. Shen Nung recommended marijuana for a variety of ailments. He is also believed to be the first person to have brewed tea with marijuana. Earleywine (2002) discussed how from ancient Asia “cannabis's use as a treatment for a variety of illnesses helped it spread from ancient Asia throughout the world” (9). Cannabis Law

Currently, marijuana is classified "as a Schedule I...

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Clark, PA. (2000). The ethics of medical marijuana: government restrictions vs. medical necessity. Journal of Public Health Policy. 21(1), 40-60.
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. (2008). Teen Prescription Drug Use: An Emerging Threat. RetrievedOctober 10, 2010, from URL
Earleywine, M. (2002). Understanding Marijuana: A new look at the scientific evidence.New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Foreman, J. (2009, July 20). Medical marijuana science, through the smoke [Electronic version]. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 4, 2010, from
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