Should "Weed" be legal in America?
Who am I?
Explanation of topic
Legal but regulated for adults
Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring the nation's largest cash crop under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.
Colorado one year later
Medical benefits of cannabis
By the end of the twentieth century, several medical uses for cannabis had been documented with full research evidence. These include being an appetite-enhancer in cancer and ACQUIRED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS) patients; a pain reliever in GLAUCOMA patients; and a muscle relaxant for those suffering from MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, a degenerative disease of the central nervous system.
Chemists developed a synthetic (laboratory-made) tablet, dronabinol (manufactured as Marinol), that contains one of the chemicals found in marijuana. Dronabinol was introduced in 1985 as a Schedule II substance and has since been placed in the Schedule III category, making it as easy to prescribe as codeine. (An entry on codeine is available in this encyclopedia.) Still, some patients found that the dronabinol pills did not work as well as smoking cannabis. The U.S. government lists marijuana and its by-products as Schedule I substances, indicating that cannabis has no medical value. However, since the 1970s, marijuana has been used as a medicine for several specific conditions, although the legality of this use remains under debate.
Cancer patients who receive CHEMOTHERAPY, the use of chemicals to prevent or treat the disease, often suffer the side effects of nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This can cause people who are already sick to lose weight and become more prone to secondary illnesses. Marijuana stimulates the appetite. Chemotherapy patients who use it are more likely to maintain body weight and suffer less from nausea.
The scientific evidence for these claims has led chemists to create a synthetic form of THC, taken as a pill called Marinol. However, the pills seem to have less effect than smoking the drug. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the pills have to be swallowed and digested, and this can be a problem for cancer sufferers.
For several decades marijuana has been described as a "gateway drug"—one that leads users to experiment with more dangerous, more addictive substances. That theory has been dismissed, however. Most people use marijuana and then stop taking any illegal drugs. Far fewer progress to other substances. So it could just as easily be said that marijuana is an "end stage" drug. Again, the individual person's mental makeup determines whether or not marijuana use will lead to harder drugs. People with family histories of mental problems, alcoholism, anxiety, or depression should try to avoid every psychoactive substance, including legal ones like alcohol and nicotine. (Entries for alcohol and nicotine are available in this encyclopedia.) For anxious or depressed people, better treatments exist than marijuana use.
My future steps
Nathan, David L. "Why Marijuana Should Be Legal for Adults." CNN. Cable News Network, 9 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.