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KasindraJean Westlind

Professor Celestino

English 1010 11:30-12:50

April 5, 2017

Legalization of Marijuana

The use of marijuana has been a controversy in the United States for many of years. It is

utilized by teens and adults daily to satisfy their needs, even though it is illegal. The drug is used

for numerous medical purposes that help to ease pain a person may be having. Marijuana is

good for medical uses, helps with the opioid epidemic, and in addition it would be beneficial to

the economy to be decriminalized in the United States. Due to marijuana being illegal, there are

many of people who have been arrested and are in jail because of it. It has been a battle for years

to get the legislature to decriminalize marijuana in the United states. A lot of people also have

died of a drug induced overdose due to their addiction to pain killers, from the result of them

being the only things that are legally available. Statistics also show that people who use

marijuana instead of opioids are less likely to become addicted to the substance, and or die of a

drug induced overdose.

There are several different chemicals in marijuana, but the two main ones that are

tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). There are many medical uses that

marijuana is good for. One thing is helping to control epilepsy (A chronic hyper-excitability

disease that stems from various parts in the neuronal network of the brain, causing reoccurring

seizures.) in children and adults. The oil that they make out of cannabis is not the same as

recreationally used marijuana. It has more CBD, and less THC. The oil is used to treat the

chronic illness without the side effect of getting high. For years families have gone through
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thousands of dollars in medical expenses, and medications. Pharmaceutical drugs become very

expensive after having to have so many different kinds. Some people are used as guinea pigs for

testing new drugs that may, or may not work. They could even have adverse side effects causing

the conditions to worsen, or cause death. There are many adults and children who do not respond

to current medications that are used to treat epileptic episodes, but cannabis can. For years, and

years new medications are constantly being tested and used but yet one specific drug has yet to

be found in solving the sicknesses of many. Most epilepsy episodes occur in children, and the

elderly. (Gloub, 2016) Another disease that cannabis oil has been able to help treat is Parkinsons

disease. Parkinsons disease is another neurological disorder, and the use of cannabis oil can help

calm the nerves by stopping them from firing as often which then stops the shaking motions in

the victim. They are then able to do able bodied tasks that they couldnt do because of the disease

acting up. Cannabis has been around for hundreds of years and is a natural herb. Cannabis is

used to treat cancer, and anorexic patients. A lot of times they are in a lot of pain, and cannot eat

or sleep due to stomach pains and insomnia. The drug helps reduce pain, increase hunger it has

been used as an appetite stimulant since 300 AD. There are many cancer patients that have a

decreased appetite which leads to an involuntary weight loss, while also losing skeletal mass.

With the reduction of skeletal mass, it makes the body more fragile, and more vulnerable for

bone fractures and breaks. When the skeletal mass has reduced, it is also showing that the bones

are not getting the nutrients they need therefore they cannot heal properly if an injury was to

occur. Cancer patients are usually more vulnerable to sickness because they are not able to get all

the nutrition that they could before they got sick because their immune system is so weak.

Cannabis helps stimulate the appetite causing someone to feel hungry verses nauseous and sick.

Cannabis is used for anorexia in the same fashion as its used for cancer. Cannabis is also used to
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treat anorexia nervosa, which is a psychological eating disorder. It can also be life threatening if

left untreated. Someone who may be suffering from this disorder has gone so long without eating

a normal portioned sized meal, which then potentially shrinks the stomach in addition to

making the brain think that it is not hungry. This sickness also results in extreme weight loss and

the reduction of bone density. With the use of marijuana, it would make the patient hungry and

not feel nauseous for eating. After not eating much for long periods of time, your body goes into

starvation mode and then it eventually thinks it doesnt necessarily need food. Then when you

eat, youre left feeling nauseous. People who suffer from anorexia are often suffering from other

mental disorders such as anxiety, and depression. Marijuana is known to help with depression

and anxiety because it is a calming drug. Marijuana is also known as a therapeutic drug for

people who are suffering from HIV/AIDS. A person who has HIV/AIDS has an immune system

that is being compromised by the virus. It helps to treat the victims of this virus by helping with

nausea, appetite loss, and bodily pains. It can have a good effect on their sleeping patterns. A

person with HIV/AIDS needs to get a good amount of sleep to keep their body as healthy as

possible because they already have an immune deficiency problem. Lack of sleep causes a drop

in the immune system, which is why people who do not sleep enough are more prone to sickness

like influenza, and other sicknesses and viruses.

Marijuana is used for all sorts of medical needs. Another thing that the drug has been

useful in treating is PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in war veterans. The federal

government estimates that 500,000 of the 2.7 million troops who served in those countries have

some type of PTSD (Thompson, pg. 36) PTSD is big among war veterans, and people who has

experienced a traumatic experience. It is often left untreated, or treated with different

medications that often do not help the victim. Someone who is suffering from something like
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PTSD often have hallucinogens, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. They are often

uncomfortable in their bodies and turn to the use of opioids to numb their pain, or to get them

to be able to sleep. Cannabis has been known to be used as a pain killer, but has never had the

lethal effect like other opioids do. Oral cannabinoids such as dronabinol, which is a synthetic

version of tetra-hydro cannabinol (THC), has been shown to reduce the response to fear stimuli

and trauma-related symptoms in people with PTSD (Brown university Child & Adolescent

Psychopharmacology, pg. 4). If marijuana can help someone who is suffering from severe PTSD

it should be legalized, resulting in less veteran suicides and opioid overdoses.

People often complain about marijuana, and that it is bad for people to consume. They

often say that marijuana is known as the gateway drug. Marijuana is just as much of a gate way

drug as alcohol. When a person consumes to much alcohol, the sensation of being drunk is the

human body saying that it is being poisoned. Alcohol is known to cause anxiety, dizziness,

aggression, and self-destructive behavior. Marijuana helps with anxiety, and causes calmness.

Although when using either of these substances, heavy machinery should not be used or

operated. It is a universal controversy that since alcohol is legal, then marijuana should be also.

More people die each year due to alcohol poisoning than anyone who has been poisoned or

overdosed on marijuana. Alcohol poisoning is typically caused by binge drinking at high

intensity (i.e., consuming a very large amount of alcohol during an episode of binge drinking).

Approximately 38 million U.S. adults report binge drinking an average of eight drinks per

episode (Heron, pg. 1238). Another substance that is used on a daily basis, but is legal and toxic

to the human body is tobacco, and the use of cigarettes. The tobacco inside of cigarettes is highly

addictive. Cigarettes cause cardiovascular disease, cancer of the lips, nose, tongue, lungs and

mouth. It has an increase in the risks of strokes, and can yellow the white parts of the eyes. The
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carcinogens from smoking over time build up on the lungs causing them to become hard, black

and full of tar. Resulting the lungs to stop expanding to their full potential and can cause a

premature death. Medicinal marijuana that comes in the form of oils, and edibles would be

healthier then cigarettes and alcohol. Both alcohol and tobacco are legal all over the world, yet

have little to no benefits to them. Alcohol can be used to numb pain and sorrow, but in effect it is

still poisoning the body. Marijuana should be regulated and sold, just like alcohol and cigarettes

are because the substance helps people more than it does harm.

Legalizing marijuana would also have a decrease in the opioid epidemic. Opioids are

everywhere now days. A person could go to the doctors complaining of chronic pains, resulting

in the doctor prescribing a pain killer. Most pain killers are opioids, which can be lethal if taken

at too high of a dosage. Opioids are often misused, causing a serious public health issue. Drug

overdose, induced deaths are the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States. The opioid

epidemic causes overdoses effecting many friends, families, and loved ones every day. More

people would use marijuana instead of opioids, if it was legal. The use of opioids leads to the

addiction of stronger drugs such as heroin. Pain killers are derived from the opium poppy seed

plant. Natural opiate drugs come from a natural opium alkaloids, which are drugs such as

morphine, and codeine. Synthetic opiates are manufactured in laboratories, making them stronger

resulting in a higher addiction rate. Synthetic opiates are medications such as fentanyl, and

methadone. More people died of drug overdoses in 2014 in the U.S. than in any other year, and

60% of them were because of painkillers. Over the past 17 years, rates of opioid-overdose deaths

have quadrupled, fueled by over prescription of painkillers and the proliferation of cheaper forms

of heroin and synthetic opioids (Park, pg. 50). Opioids are available to anyone everywhere, and

once addicted people will try to get their drug from anywhere. In the United States, there are
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people who make synthetic opioids which have caused thousands of deaths, especially in young

adults and teens. Quite often, a news article is reported of a young couple that overdosed on

some kind of opioid with a child in the car, or even them-selves alone. Marijuana has never had a

report of someone overdosing and dying. According to the government marijuana is classified as

a schedule I drug. Being classified as a schedule I drug, it is said that marijuana is one of the

most dangerous drugs that is out there. The government has marijuana in the same category as

heroin. Heroin has had a huge epidemic in the United States causing many of deaths, marijuana

has not.

In the United States, there have been 8.2 million arrests related to marijuana between the

years of 2001, and 2010. Legalization is defined as an acknowledgment that the government has

no fundamental interest in an individuals use of a drug, although it may still seek to regulate its

sale, distribution, use and advertisement to safeguard the publics health, while decriminalization

refers to the elimination, reduction and or non-reinforcement of penalties for the sale, purchase,

or possession of marijuana all though such activities still remain illegal (Joffe and Yancy, 2004,

pg. 633). If marijuana was legalized there would be less people taking up space in prisons while

also saving the government money to house these people. There are people who have been

sentenced to more time in prison for being caught, and charged with the possession of marijuana

then a person who has committed a more serious crime like rape, or murder. A lot of people use

marijuana for medical purposes but end up getting into trouble and put in jail because they would

rather use a natural herb for pain instead of a narcotic.

Marijuana is good for medical uses, helps with the opioid epidemic, and in addition it

would be beneficial to the economy to be decriminalized in the United States. Marijuana would
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overall be beneficial to the United States to become legalized. The drug is recreationally legal in

twenty-nine different states, some recreationally and some medicinally.

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"Cannabis: Does It Help or Hurt Psychotic Disorders and PTSD?." Brown University Child &
Adolescent Psychopharmacology Update, vol. 18, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 3-6. EBSCOhost,

Kanny, Dafna, et al. "Vital Signs: Alcohol Poisoning Deaths - United States, 2010-
Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 63, no. 53, 09 Jan. 2015, pp. 1238-1242.

Park, Alice. "A New Paradigm for Opioid Addiction: More Drugs." Time, vol. 188, no. 16/17,
24 Oct. 2016, pp. 48-53. EBSCOhost,

Thompson, Mark. "Post-Traumatic Marijuana." Time, vol. 188, no. 8, 29 Aug. 2016, pp. 34-37.