The controversy over whether or not medical marijuana should be legalized is of utmost importance as physicians and scientists continue to study the drug’s effects on people with various medical conditions. After reviewing the many benefits of cannabis for medical uses against its potential harms, it is clear that medical marijuana (MMJ) should be legalized.
Numerous Medical Benefits
From pediatric seizure disorders to Alzheimer’s disease, the benefits of MMJ are numerous and varied. Doctors prescribe it for cancer patients to treat loss of appetite, stress, symptoms of depression and other effects of the disease. It is also used to aid patients with multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Lupus and inflammatory bowel disease. Patients who suffer from nausea from medication find relief in the treatment, as do patient suffering from chronic pain. Even the Epilepsy Foundation has requested that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reduce its restrictions on the drug.
Weak Evidence to Support Prohibitive Laws
Nearly two dozen states have already legalized MMJ. Laws against the plant are being dismantled as the public learns more about the effectiveness of treatments as well as the weak evidence used to render it illegal in the 1930s. Government officials from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics used false or weak evidence to scare citizens about the drug, claiming that it made people go mad and engage in murder sprees. Evidence that proves the information untrue is now readily available to anyone with a library card.
Cost-Effective, Non-Addictive Solution
MMJ is a cheaper solution than many expensive drug treatments required to treat cancer, severe injuries and other conditions. It is simple to produce and costs an average of $15 per gram when sold as a medical product. Some locations sell as cheaply as $10 per gram, providing a less-costly, non-physically addictive way to manage pain and other symptoms than highly addictive opiates. Narcotic drugs like oxycodone can result in high levels of dependency, often leading to drug addiction and heroin use in patients.
Professionals Say Yes
When the medical and scientific communities endorse treatments for diseases, they are typically supported, not stifled. A survey of 1,544 doctors conducted by WebMD found that a majority of physicians support legalizing cannabis for medical use. Doctors in more than 12 specialties in 48 states were asked about the issue. Although support was initially sparse due to prohibition and limited research, solid evidence that indicates cannabis is an effective medical treatment is now available from peer-reviewed clinical studies.
As with any prescription medication used to treat a disorder, patients should take MMJ supervised under a doctor’s care. While the effects and benefit may differ between patients, the overwhelming evidence points to the plant’s positive effects on dozens of conditions. This makes cannabis a helpful and effective treatment that most patients should have the right to consider benefiting from legally.