For the past fifty years, heated debates over the topic of the decriminalization of marijuana have been a great controversy among politicians. Some politicians believe that marijuana for the use of medicine should be outlawed. As Congressman Bob Barr in his debate with radio talk show host Neil Boortz on May 14, 2002, stated, “There is no legitimate medical use whatsoever for marijuana. This [marijuana] is not medicine. This is bogus witchcraft. It has no place in medicine, no place in pain relief, and it has no place around our children.” However, this illicit drug can help the terminally ill patient recover, or at least provide comfort from the persistent, overbearing suffering.
Continuing Medical Education, Inc., posted in January 2000 the following statement: “It is established that marijuana does ease the pain of cancer and the nausea of cancer chemotherapy. It is a medically sound treatment.” Marijuana alleviates the discomfort of many types of treatments, as well as assisting in the recovery of illness. Studies have proven that it is more suitable than the competing pill, Marinol, which is a synthetic version of the active ingredient of marijuana. Marijuana is more effective than conventional medicines and is less toxic, when taken in the appropriate doses, to the blood system, and ultimately the body and mind. Marijuana is used as a relief from the nausea associated with chemotherapy, which is used to treat many forms of cancer. It also lessens the number of symptoms of AIDS. Even though marijuana is superior to all the other medicines in easing pain, laws still prohibit the use of the illegal drug.
In the past few years, nine states have decriminalized the use of marijuana for medical intents. Actually, eleven states have at one time allowed patients to use medicinal marijuana, but since two states have placed new laws banning the usage of marijuana for any purpose. But by decriminalizing marijuana treatments, a broad gap has been created between the federal laws and the new state laws. By decriminalizing marijuana prescriptions, the states have allowed patients to use the drug. However that creates a problem. Although the state allows patients to handle marijuana for medicinal use, patients have no way of obtaining it legally because the federal laws strictly prohibit anybody in the United States from selling or purchasing drugs.
Even though many doctors and specialists believe that marijuana is beneficial to the medical world, there are still some doctors who disagree. Opponents for the medicinal marijuana state that it similar to the Trojan horse incident. After medicinal marijuana is legalize, they will try to make marijuana legal for pleasure. They say supporters utilize a deceptive tactic of medicinal marijuana decriminalization who exploit the public’s sympathy for seriously ill patients to legalize marijuana. Competitor doctors complain that marijuana is not FDA approved, is ingested by smoking, is made up of hundreds of different chemicals, is not governed by daily doses, and is self-administer and self-prescribe by the patients. Tod Mikuriya, MD, claimed on June 13, 2002, “I have a small, but growing number of patients who prefer Marinol to cannabis because it has a consistent dose and it is available at pharmacies.”
Some patients favor the medicinal marijuana over any other prescription that can be obtained in the pharmacy. Of these people included my grandmother who passed away two years ago. She was a terminal cancer patient who had been recently told that there was nothing left for the doctors to do. After conquering the cancer for fifteen years and surviving to see her youngest child graduate from college, she was told that she had less than five months to live. Naturally, she was heartbroken, but she was determined not to allow the pain and agony of her defeat show. She was in a tremendous amount of pain, so after trying all the other pains killers, she decided to take another route. Marijuana has been known to knock out all feelings, including those of pain. There laid one problem in this, though. Marijuana is illegal in the state of Georgia, so she had to bend the law to fit her needs. Without the aid of marijuana, my grandmother would have died in suffering, but she was allowed to die a relatively harmless death surrounded by her family instead of unfamiliar faces in the hospital.
Marijuana may be viewed at as harmful to patients, but to those who have used the illicit drug for medical purposes, it is like heaven on Earth. It provides the comfort of taking self-prescribed doses in the comfort of one’s home. Even though there is a slight chance it can be injurious and damaging, the states or the federal government should not be able to dictate what prescription a terminal patient is allowed to use. Only the person can make that decision for himself. Medicinal marijuana will continue to cause debates from now on, but for me the decision is easy. Because I have witness first hand the destruction of my grandmother’s life, I know that medicinal marijuana should be decriminalized.