One of the most controversial issues in the United States is over Medical Marijuana Essay. Many experiments test the validity of the drug as a medicine, and results of these experiments receive much praise but also some critique. The DEA and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) are battling over the issue. The underlying matter that cannot be ignored is that marijuana proves to be a useful medication for many patients, especially those with wasting diseases such as AIDS and cancer.
In 1996 California passed Proposition 215, which allowed the use of medical marijuana (4444).
Since then, six other states have made medical marijuana legal; Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, and Washington. Santa Cruz in California has gone even further, “allowing the medical use of marijuana with a doctor’s note certifying that the patient has a condition for which marijuana is considered helpful, including AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, anorexia, chronic pain, arthritis, and spastic diseases (22222).” Santa Cruz law allows growing marijuana so it may be sold for the cost of production. This way, medical users do not have to resort to buying at street prices.
The government made it a requirement that all medical studies on marijuana be paid for by scarce grant money from the National Institute of Health (NIH). In recent years, scientists have tried to persuade the NIH to grant them money for medical studies on marijuana, only to be turned down.
Only three studies have been approved by the NIH. On May 22, 1999 the Clinton Administration loosened that restriction, allowing researchers to buy Government-grown marijuana for their research, as long as they can fund themselves. Chuck Blanchard, who is the chief counsel for McCaffrey (director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy) says, “Before, the problem was if you wanted marijuana, you had to not only show that it was high-quality research, you had to show that it was more important than other competing applications for NIH funding. Now, as long as you are willing to show that it is high-quality research and also provide your own funding, you can have access to medical marijuana (66666)”. The decision of the Clinton Administration came two months after a government-sponsored study concluded that “the active ingredients in marijuana, called cannabinoids, appeared useful for treating pain, nausea, and severe weight loss in AIDS patients (666666).” No evidence of marijuana being a “gateway drug” was found.
The study also came up with some surprising results. It found that treating glaucoma through marijuana was not as useful as we thought. The drug does reduce eye pressure, but the effects are short-lived. The same study found that marijuana was effective in relieving muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis (888888).
At the 13th International AIDS Conference on July 13, 2000, Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California released the results of the $1 million study of marijuana on AIDS patients.
Abram’s concern was “to determine whether the chemical components of marijuana in any way interfered with the body’s ability to break down components of protease inhibitors”. Protease inhibitors are relatively new antiviral drugs that help HIV patients retain a healthy immune system. Abram found that there was no interference between marijuana and the protease inhibitors in any of the 62 patients. Also, Abram’s experiment found that marijuana increased the appetite of the HIV patients. The patients who smoked marijuana (three times a day for 21 days) gained an average of 7.7 pounds, while patients who took Marinol (pill containing active ingredients of marijuana including THC) gained an average of 7 pounds.
After the experiment, Dr. Abrams said, “It’s exciting. It’s historic. It confirms that all the states that have allowed patients to use medical marijuana have not made a serious mistake.” SABIN
Other studies have found that marijuana indeed has medicinal value, as well as some risk. “The US National Institutes of Health and an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences have concluded that the active ingredients in marijuana can ease the pain, nausea, and vomiting of cancer and AIDS.
It also is prescribed for certain glaucoma patients (555555).” The NIH, the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, and San Mateo County will all be sponsoring future .