Marijuana’s image is not one of the best, as most people think of hippies, drug-crazed teens, and addiction. It is the exact opposite. It is a fact medical marijuana has multiple, powerful healing properties. It can help with pain, soreness, and can sometimes even be more powerful than some opioids. In fact, it can even help stop Alzheimer’s disease from starting to take over the brain. Therefore, medical marijuana should be legalized because there are more positive than negative effects, it can treat a large variety of diseases, and it can boost the economy tremendously.
Some people are afraid of getting high, but to get most of the healing benefits come from a certain chemical called cannabidiol, or CBD, that doesn’t get you high (Bowden 2018). The part that gets you high is a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (Bowden 2018). There are more than one-hundred other chemicals in cannabis. There are also two different types of cannabis plants, Cannabis Sativa and Hemp (Bowden 2018).
Cannabis Sativa is the type that has both THC and CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, only has CBD. Technically, CBD is legal throughout the entire U.S., but this is where the laws get a little fuzzy(Gill 2018). The law states that CBD is legal if and only if it comes from hemp, pretty simple, right(Gill 2018)? Wrong, there is another law that states that it is illegal for farmers to grow hemp because of its close relation with cannabis (Gill 2018). But, there is still hope, a new farm bill is making its way through Congress that has a provision in its 1000-plus pages that would make it easier for farmers to grow hemp, although The House and The Senate are still agreeing on a final version (Gill 2018).
Marijuana is not all good, but most of its negative effects are outweighed by the positive effects. You can get addicted to pot…sort of, let me explain. Whenever you stop doing heroin or stop drinking alcohol it triggers violent withdrawal symptoms, while that clearly doesn’t happen with marijuana. Technically, about 10% of weed users are addicts, which is definitely lower than the roughly 15% to 30% of alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, and heroin users who are addicted (Kluger 2010).
Also, CBD is more than likely neuroprotective (Bowden 2018). Another very positive effect is stopping opioid addiction. “Some animal studies and early research in humans suggest that CBD may help treat that problem and other forms of substance abuse.” (Gill 2018). Since it is a plant it is an all natural alternative to opioids and can even heal better than opioids most of the time. Other reports show that states with medical marijuana laws have seen drops in the rates of opioid deaths as well as use, possibly as people turn to cannabis products (Gill 2018).
The paragraph above shows all the positive effects of marijuana, but that is not to say there aren’t any negative effects. “One large study conducted in 2006 found no increased risk of lung cancer” (Bowden 2018) while another study from the U.K. in 2009 concluded, “That acetaldehyde, which is present in both marijuana and tobacco smoke, can cause DNA damage with the possibility to initiate cancer development” (Bowden 2018). Another downside of medical marijuana is cost. The cost of one 50ml (which is about 1.7oz for those wondering) bottle of pure CBD lotion is $50. The average cost of a gram of weed varies throughout the U.S., ranging from $18 up to $100 a gram based on what the quality, type, and location. More than likely you will be buying CBD for medical purposes, if needed.
Back on the positive side, medical marijuana can treat a massive amount of diseases that sometimes have not, or can not be cured using other medicines. To start, CBD is an established anti-inflammatory. Which means that it can make a difference in inflammatory bowel disease, also it attenuates cardiac dysfunction and oxidative stress (Bowden 2018). CBD also has antidepressant-like effects as well as play a promising role in the management of ALS symptoms (Bowden 2018). “It also can lower sebum production which is a major factor in acne”, said Adam Friedman, MD (Desantis 2018).
Other diseases that CBD treats are psoriasis and eczema (Desantis 2018), it could also be neuroprotective (Bowden 2018). “CBD is psychoactive, meaning it won’t alter your mental state” (Desantis 2018). So you won’t fail a drug test a drug test, but you can use it to boost your glow and relieve muscle aches (Desantis 2018). Anyone can benefit from using CBD since it is generally tolerated by any and every skin type. Since CBD is generally legal throughout the US, as said on page one, Although anybody wanting to try should consult with their doctor or physician first, smoking it isn’t smart, since smoking is bad and, as said on page one there was a study done that concluded that marijuana and tobacco smoke have a common chemical in them, acetaldehyde, which could cause cancer.
Also, beware of fake CBD products. Some sketchy online stores are selling ”CBD” products but really they have cannabinoids, or the other 100 chemicals in cannabis or CBD, so make sure the bottle says CBD and not cannabinoids. A final word of advice is Hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same thing. CBD oil is made out of the entire hemp plant and they just extract the CBD out of the hemp plant. Hemp oil is made out of hemp seeds, not the whole plant, also it has all of the cannabinoids that was talked about earlier in this paragraph and a very minimal amount of CBD, hardly enough to even say its there.
Now it is time to start talking about the medical benefits of THC, the part of cannabis that makes you “high”. THC is also an anti-inflammatory (Kluger 2010), although THC’s effect will be mainly focused on the brain since it is a “mind-altering” chemical. THC can help reduce the amount of pain a person feels, which could be a good or bad thing, since being “high” could alter the person’s thoughts and might make them do something very stupid, or could help them deal with the pain after an invasive surgery. It is fairly settled that pot has analgesic and anti-nausea properties, which is the very good reason as to why it can be so soothing for people having chemotherapy (Kluger 2018). It also has a surprisingly therapeutic value in helping stop many brain eating diseases. One of the most recognizable is Alzheimer’s disease. This is where the anti-inflammatory sentences from earlier in this paragraph come in. “A 2008 study in rats showed that the anti-inflammatory effect of a THC-like compound might slow the degenerative illness” (Kluger 2010). The THC-like compound may also promote growth and recovery with new cells in aging brains (Kluger 2010). THC can also “lead human brain-cancer cells to self-destruct” (Kluger 2010). This is all great news because, with some of these diseases or illnesses, scientists have not even found cures that work better than cannabis. THC does not come in as many forms as CBD, it is mostly taken by mouth or inhaled unlike CBD which can be absorbed through the skin via lotions, etc.
The last positive effect of medical marijuana is a massive boost in economy. We could use the massive amount of tax revenue could be used to build better highways/roads, help the homeless, give government employees a bonus/raise, etc. In california, they grow more than twenty million marijuana plants. Those plants have a bounty of as much as fourteen billion dollars. Since california made medical marijuana legal in 1996 , they have probably made about 2-3 billion dollars in tax revenue. Some other benefits since California legalized marijuana are: reduced black market, more jobs, safer marijuana, etc.
They made recreational marijuana legal in 2016, so they are probably making a lot more a year now. The CBD market is exploding right now, valued at roughly two-hundred and ninety-two million dollars in 2016, yet it is predicted to multiply by sevenfold to 2.15 billion dollars by 2021 (Gill 2018). That is a whole lot of money and a lot of it will probably go to taxes since it is drug, which normally get an added tax, eg. Alcohol. Tax revenue normally earns about one-hundred million dollars a year, which, like said above, can go into better roads, homeless, etc.
In conclusion, medical marijuana has so many more positive than negative effects, it treats so many diseases, and it boosts the economy tremendously, therefore it should be legalized. The positive effects outweigh the negative ones by a lot, such as helping treat substance abuse and being an all natural alternative to opioids and dropping the opioid death rate tremendously. Although it has a slight potential to cause lung cancer if you smoke it, but an easy way to fix that is to not smoke it. It treats diseases like Alzheimer’s that couldn’t be treated before with any normal medicines or opioids, while also relieving pain from chemotherapy patients and even treating brain-eating cancer. It boosts the economy by hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that can be put back into the system by using it to build better roads, help the homeless, give educators a bonus/raise every year, etc.