Drugs are often thought to be harmful to the environment as well as our bodies, but have you ever thought that maybe it could be the cure to cancer? Perhaps it could improve our economy and reduce the amount of deaths in the United States. The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions.
People argue that since chemicals in the plant are extracted for medications, why not legalize the whole marijuana plant? Chemicals of marijuana called “cannabinoids” have been studied to create FDA approved medications in the form of pills (National Institute on Drug Abuse). The body produces its own cannabinoid chemicals which help maintain pleasure, memory, thinking, body movement, appetite, pain and senses (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
Cannabinoids are chemicals related to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s main mind-altering ingredient that make people feel “high” which increases appetite and reduce nausea. From THC, two main drugs are made Marinol and Cesamet which are in synthetic forms; the FDA has approved these drugs to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy (Oberg). The other chemical from the plant is CBD which has been proven to decrease pain, inflammation and muscle control problems.
The FDA approved medication that does not cause altered consciousness is liquid based called Epidiolex (National Institute on Drug Abuse). CBD compound seems to be neuro-protective in Huntington’s Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease (Oberg). These cannabinoids have been used in many treatments on patients with illness or decrease symptoms. Being that medical marijuana is a new practice, much research needed in order to help and benefit patients of extreme diseases and illness.
Animal studies show that it may help kill certain cancer cells or even reduce the size of others. Mice treatments with purified THC and CBD, when used with radiation increase cancer killing effects. One cell study shows that purified extracts from the whole marijuana plant can slow growth in cancer cells from one of the most serious type of brain tumors. Charlotte’s Web was a treatment on childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome which is almost impossible to control, responded well to a CBD-dominant strain of the marijuana plant (Grinspoon). The treatment improved the symptoms of this syndrome like, behavioral issues, balance issues and sleeping difficulties (Dravet Syndrome Foundation).
There has been over 60 peer-reviewed studies examining benefits of medical marijuana, 68% found benefits, 8% found none and 23% were inconclusive or neutral (Oberg). Many studies have shown improved health conditions in patients that have HIV/AIDS and other conditions. A 2006 study reported that the use of medicinal cannabis delayed or even completely blocked the progress of Alzheimer’s Disease in the older population.
The amount of lives taken by this terrible disease has skyrocketed to 55% since 1999. This drug has been shown to not only benefit patients with Alzheimer’s, but patients with leukemia, depression, anxiety, epilepsy and even lower insulin levels by approximately 16%. You may be thinking that this could only be used as treatment for more detrimental diseases however, that is not the case. Medicinal cannabis has also been used as an anti-inflammatory to treat a wide spread of conditions such as migraines, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Medical marijuana is only legal in 29 states including Washington, DC, but it is still illegal from the government’s perspective (Grinspoon). As of January 2018, 85% of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana and it is estimated that several million citizens currently use it (Grinspoon). Although many people use it, medical marijuana is still a new practice,
because of that effect and doses are decreased because of age and the effects it may have on people with illness. When using medical marijuana the side effects are minimal when used at low dosages which include dry mouth and fatigue, when prescribed the right amount of dosage the effects could prevent nausea and improve health depending on the illness. Although if taken at high dosages side effect include: dizziness, paranoia and psychoactive effects. There is low risk of addiction and very low toxicity when taken as recommended.
Therefore, that begs the question, is cannabis a safe alternative for the treatment of some medical ailments? With the amount of information provided we see no other reason why it should not be legalized in the United States.
The cannabis industry seems to hold the most popular jobs such as legal cannabis cultivation and retail sales management. According to an article “High Grade Pot Jobs Have Arrived, Marijuana Industry Report Says”, it states that the cannabis industry is projected to grow by 220% in 2019. Jobs such as store managers, cannabis sales representatives, dispensary owners, grow masters, edibles chefs and many more are necessary in order to run a cannabis industry.
Studies have shown an increase of job opportunities within the cannabis industry, thus, creating about 200,000 new jobs since 2016, according to “10 Jobs in the Legal Marijuana Industry” by Alison Doyle. Every state that has legalized marijuana has similar, basic requirements for employment in the cannabis industry are simple. In most states, you must be 21 years of age and have knowledge regarding cannabis. Most recruiters seek for people with job experience and knowledge, others require different licensing and permits. For example, in California, the sale of medical and recreational marijuana is legal as long as the seller has a state and local license. There are three state licensing authorities in California and depending on
which license is required for the job position that is undertook, will determine which agency that is necessary to go to. On the other hand, in states like Minnesota, licenses are not available. Therefore, they have an application process just like any other normal job (FindLaw Marijuana Business). Once the application is submitted, the cannabis manufacturers select applicants (MN Department of Health). Depending which state you choose to be employed in, research must be obtained regarding the different jobs within the industry.
Since the pace of legalization of marijuana is rapidly growing across the country, the cannabis industry must grow as well. Many job opportunities are subjected to increase in the next few years by $57 billion (Gullickson) because of the cannabis industry. Although it may take some time for these cannabis markets to fully develop, they have the potential conduct a better future for employment.