Marijuana is the common name for a drug comprised of the leaves and floweringtops of the Indian hemp plant, cannabis sativa, which can be smoked or eaten for uniquefeelings. The active ingredient of marijuana, known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), isconcentrated in the flowering tops of the Indian hemp plant.
In the USA, the legality ofmarijuana, found to be medically useful by some, has been a controversal topic forToday, the 5,000-year medical history of cannabis has been almost forgotten. Cannabis sativa has been used therapeutically from the earliest records to the presentday. Although the Chinese and East Indian cultures knew about the properties of thisdrug from very early times, the drug spread across the globe with progressing globaldiscoveries (Nahas 2). However, the most valuable medical experiments were madeduring the 19th century. At that time, due to its analgesic effects, marijuana wasprepared chiefly in an alcoholic solution used to treat tetanus, neuralgia, labor pain,dysmenorrhea, convulsions, asthma, and rheumatism. Its use declined in the early 20thcentury partly because other more valuable alternatives became available — syntheticdrugs such as aspirin and barbiturates.Order now
In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed. Designed to prevent non-medical use, this law made cannabis so difficult to obtain formedical purposes that it was removed from the pharmacopoeia (Randall and O’LearyThe modern renaissance of medicinal cannabis began in the early 1970s, whenseveral young chemotherapy patients claimed that marijuana was more effective for therelief of nausea, weight-loss, and loss of appetite. Advocates argued that medicinalmarijuana countered the side effects of chemotherapy and word spread rapidly; bymid-decade, the capacity of marijuana to lower intraocular pressure had been observed. As the AIDS epidemic became prevalent, patients began to use marijuana to decreasethe pain caused by AIDS and AIDS-related diseases (Randall and O’Leary 200). Thesenew medical uses of cannabis led to wider folk experimentation.
The use of marijuana inthe symptomatic treatment of convulsive disorders, migraine, insomnia, anddysmenorrhea was rediscovered. During Richard Nixon’s campaign on the drug war inthe 1970’s, beginning with the establishment of the Office of Drug Abuse LawEnforcement (ODALE), marijuana was then confined to Schedule I under the ControlledSubstances Act. This classified marijuana as a drug that has a high potential for abuse,lacks an accepted medical use, and is unsafe for use under medical supervision (MillerIn November 1996, California endorsed a change in the state’s drug laws thatcontradicted the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National DrugControl Policy (ONDCP). California voters approved Proposition 215, an initiative thatmade marijuana legally available as a medicine in the United States for the first time intwo generations. Under the new law, patients or their caregivers who possess orcultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a doctor would not besubject to criminal prosecution.
The recommendation may be either written or oral anddoctors cannot be penalized by the state for making it. A similar but more restrictiveinitiative was passed in Arizona at the same time (Randall and O’Leary 250). Thefederal government, in a decision by the Supreme Court, overruled the propositions ofCalifornia, Arizona, and six other states. Several “Legalize It!” groups continue to speakout against the ferderal government with rallies, websites, and conferences.
Thesegroups include NORML (National Reformation of the Reformation of Marijuana Laws),DRCNet (The Drug Enforcement Organization Network), and MPP (The MarijuanaPolicy Project) (Randall and O’Leary 420-437). One of marijuana’s greatest proported advantages as a medicine appears to beits remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions, and there is noknown case of a lethal overdose. On the basis of animal models, the ratio of lethal toeffective dose is estimated as 40,000 to 1. By comparison, the ratio is 3-50 to 1 forsecobarbital and 4-10 to 1 for alcohol.
Marijuana is also far less addictive and far lesssubject to abuse than many drugs now used as muscle relaxants, hypnotics, andanalgesics (Miller 19). The chief legitimate concern surrounds the effect of smoking onthe lungs. Cannabis smoke carries more tars and particulate matter than tobaccosmoke. However, it appears that cannibus smokers inhale less smoke than an averagetobacco smoker (Randall and O’Leary 30).
Nevertheless, there continues to be considerable opposition to legalizingmarijuana, even for medical benefits. The League Against Intoxicants and the NIDA(National Institue of Drug Abuse) claim that marijuana should not be medically legalizedfor the following five .