During the most recent Miss USA pageant, Miss California Alyssa Campanella was asked at the interview round about her opinion on the legalization of marijuana. Campanella said in essence that she favors the use of medical marijuana but she's worried that the drug might be abused. Her answer won her the crown.
But what really are the merits of medical marijuana? As of last month, 16 states have already enacted laws legalizing the medical use of this drug including California where Campanella hails. However, the fact that the issue on its legalization was mentioned during the pageant proves that it is still much debated.
To judge for yourself whether this substance (also known as cannabis, weed, pot and grass, among others) can do you harm or good, here are the arguments of those who are for and against the use of marijuana medically.
"Pot" was introduced by the hippies in the 1960's as a recreation drug. But its alleged medical benefits have long been recognized since then and it has become the main argument for those who want its use to be decriminalized.
- Some studies claim that marijuana helps reduce nausea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
- It's also said to be an effective pain reliever for patients suffering from neuropathic pain as well as chronic pain due to debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cancer.
- Since cannabis increases appetite, it has been suggested as a treatment to HIV and cancer patients who became malnourished because of their loss or decreased appetite.
- Furthermore, when its smoke is inhaled, marijuana is said to relax the muscles of the body. Hence, individuals who frequently experience muscle cramps and muscle spasticity or twitching could use it to be able to move normally.
- Some say marijuana is beneficial to glaucoma patients as it lowers intraocular pressure.
Despite the support of several states for the medical use of marijuana, the USA FDA has not yet stamped its approval on it saying it has yet to receive "good quality evidence from any U.S studies" that proves its benefits.
In fact, those against the substance further claim that "there is no such thing as medical marijuana" since the harm the drug causes outweighs its benefits.
- For instance, patients who have used the drug have reported unwanted side effects such as faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat, seizures as well as mental effects like inability to recall events, disorientation, difficulty to concentrate and even psychosis.
- Some even claimed they felt no relief at all from the symptoms they were told marijuana can relieve.
- Reported long term effects of the substance also include brain damage, long term and short-term memory loss, and other psychiatric illnesses.
- It's also been said to cause respiratory cancers, heart disorders, and cerebrovascular problems.
- Marijuana is also addictive. Many of its users manifest classic withdrawal symptoms when they abstain from it.
- For some, marijuana serves as a gateway drug that leads them to abuse more potent and dangerous illegal substances.
- In addition, pregnant women using marijuana are more likely to deliver babies with low I.Q. and mental health disorders.