Pros vs. Cons of Cannabis
There are many great things that cannabis has to offer, both as a medicine and a potentially legal drug in the future. On the other end of the spectrum, there are a few negative aspects about this medication. Under current federal law, the Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance. This is means that the U.S. government feels that there are no accepted medical benefits, it has a high potential for abuse and is unsafe for use even under medical supervision. As of now, 16 states and territories currently permit medical marijuana use for patients with legitimate prescriptions for the substance. The following will chronicle both the pros and cons of medical marijuana use, as well as legalization.
Despite the fact that the government has classified cannabis as a Schedule I substance, it has been proven that marijuana is helpful in the treatment of many medical ailments, ranging from cancer to anxiety. One of the main reasons many feel that marijuana is still illegal is because of the minimal amount of effort the government has put into testing its medicinal value. Were cannabis to be legalized, it would be easier for scientists to conduct tests proving marijuana’s effectiveness as a medication. Another positive outcome of legalization would be the immense amount of jobs it would generate for people such as Oaksterdam graduates. Taxing marijuana (like we now do with alcohol) would also assist in maintaining a steadier economy. In California, medical marijuana generates over $14 billion per year. Ironically, the United States government spends an estimated $10 billion per year trying to rid the streets and dispensaries of marijuana. Imagine how much more revenue would be generated if you could purchase it at a convenience store.
Cancer patients and/or those undergoing chemotherapy find medical marijuana extremely helpful in reducing vomiting, nausea and increasing appetite. Most of these patients are taking enough heavy-duty medications as it is, and rather than take one more for appetite increase (that often doesn’t work), they turn to medicinal marijuana. Also, prior to undergoing potentially worrisome treatments or doctor visits, these patients will find that using medical marijuana prior to these trips can relieve much stress, tension and anxiety. AIDS patients also find this medication helpful in increasing appetite and maintaining some muscle mass.
Shown to provide relief for those suffering from pain and muscle spasms associated with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS), cannabis also helps with chronic pain and depression. Many patients with severe and chronic pain are prescribed medical marijuana, especially those who do not wish to take such “hard” drugs as Oxycontin or Vicodin. There are many more medical ailments that cannabis is capable of treating, including migraines, glaucoma, insomnia, asthma, anorexia, as an alcohol substitute and even ADHD/ADD.
While exceptionally helpful in treating a wide array of medical problems, as with an medication, is has side-effects. Ingesting cannabis slows the motor skills and reaction time, can sometimes cause paranoia and mood swings, fatigue and increased appetite, while under its effect. Long-term effects of marijuana use include memory loss, confusion and/or a delayed thought-process, blockage of blood vessels and can lead to lung cancer if continuously smoked (not vaporized or eaten). It can also cause loss of motivation, cramps and rarely diarrhea.