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The Dangers of Marijuana

Marijuana, Cannabis Sativa, has been used for centuries for its medicinal and euphorant properties, and its fibers, to make hemp cloth and paper. Medicinally, between 1850 and 1942, it was prescribed in the United States Pharmacopeia as a remedy for a variety of ailments including gout, tetanus, depression, and cramps (Farthing 1992). Today, it is used for reducing intraocular pressure due to glaucoma, as an antiemetic to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy, and as an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients. Recreationally, it is the most widely used illicit drug, especially among adolescents.

The main psychoactive component of marijuana is (9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Other prominent cannabinoids include cannabidiol, cannabinol, and (9-tetrahydrocannabinic acid. Together, these compounds contribute to various behavioral and cognitive changes, which can slightly differ based on the route of preparation and administration (Farthing 1992). THC is found in the sticky resin of the cannabis plant, with the highest concentration in the flowering tops (buds) of the female plant. Marijuana is a preparation of the leaves, stems, and buds, while hash is a concentration of the resin. Smoking and oral ingestion are the most common ways of administration and can produce slightly distinct effects due to the different filtering methods of the digestive tract and lungs.

The subjective experience of marijuana can include prolongation of the passing of time, altered awareness of self and the environment, and occasional paranoia or increased anxiety. At high enough doses, hallucinations can also be experienced (Farthing 1992). While intoxicated, a large range of acute cognitive effects has been found, including difficulty in motor c…

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…Pharmacological Therapy 36: 234-238 (1984). (As cited by Chan et al. 1998)

Drew W.G. et al. Effects of Hippocampal Brain Damage on Auditory and Visual Recent Memory: Comparison with Marijuana-Intoxicated Subjects. Biological Psychiatry 15 (6): 1980.

Farthing, G.W. The Psychology of Consciousness. Prentice Hall (1992).

Gazzaniga, M.S., Ivry R.B.,

We Need Federal Funding for Medical Marijuana Research

We Need Federal Funding for Medical Marijuana Research

Many people suffer unbearable pain and discomfort from their illnesses and seek any method that might bring relief. Many suffer from chemotherapy treatment, HIV infection related wasting, glaucoma, or other serious ailments that carry an unbearable amount of pain. They first try the drugs that their doctors have prescribed. These prescribed legal drugs seem to have some benefits, but often carry with them many side effects that may be more harmful than helpful. Many patients give the legal drugs a try and find that they are not effective in relieving them of their symptoms. As a result, many turn to marijuana for its medicinal use. Because it is an effective treatment, marijuana should be legalized in the fifty states for the sole purpose of medicinal use to help pain and suffering for people with severe illnesses.

Two states have already passed laws that allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for those who suffer from medical illnesses. These states are California and Arizona and they both carry different guidelines for its prescription. Voters passed proposition 215 in California, but it has many loopholes. The law “specifically permits pot use for almost any complaint-even migraine headaches” (Morganthau, 22) and it also prevents doctors from losing their licenses for prescribing an illegal drug by “specifying that pot use is legal if a doctor merely ‘recommends’ it orally” (Morganthau, 22). Another criticism made by White House drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffery was the fact that this law had no age restriction (Voelker, 1786).

In Arizona, Proposition 200 was voter approved and allowed doctors to prescribe marijuana and “any of the other 116 sched…

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…Newsweek. Feb 3 1997, p22-27. Cited in the text as Cowley.

McCaffrey, Barry R. “We’re on a Perilous Path.” Newsweek Feb 3 1997, p27. Cited in the text as McCaffrey.

Morganthau, Tom. “The War Over Weed.” Newsweek. Feb 3 1997, p20-22. Cited in the text as Morganthau.

Stodghill II, Ron. “Why Grass is Greener.” Business Week. January 20 1997, p.34. Cited in the text as Stodghill.

Vick. “Re: 50 FACTS ABOUT MARIJUANA – and some science.” [email protected] (15 Mar. 1997). Cited in the text as Vick.

Voelker, Rebecca. “Medical marijuana: a trial of science and politics.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. June 1 1994, v271, n21, p1645. Cited in the text as Rebecca.

Voelker, Rebecca. “New marijuana laws in 2 states prompt caution.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. Dec 11 1996, v276, n22, p1786. Cited in the text as Voelker.

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