Do the benefits of medical marijuana justify its legality?
Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers from the cannabis sativa plant. Also known as cannabis indica. It contains the mind-altering and influencing drug THC among other similar compounds. Extracts can be made from marijuana, known as marijuana extracts.
Marijuana has been used as a recreational substance and for religious purposes for years now. Many people, both young and old indulge in the substance so as to get an out of body experience or to relax. Many people view marijuana use as an equivalent to substance abuse like drugs. It is also a highly addictive substance with varied side effects. For some people, they get hallucinations, while others say they ‘see’ things clearly. Smoking marijuana actually hampers the brains functionality in one way or the other. However, it is still a drug of choice for many.
The sales of marijuana continue to rise each year, with an increase of 50pc last year alone among people over 50 years old. Among middle-aged and older people, marijuana use has increased (and expectedly so) because it is often cited as one of the substances that diminishes nausea and pain when used for medical reasons. The food and drug administration also approved the first ever cannabis-based drug called Epidiolex. Taking away the stigma in a large way from marijuana users and dampening the dangers associated with repeated marijuana use for the public.
Among young people, the use of marijuana is widely accepted and celebrated. The leaves are crushed and dried into a powdery form to be baked in cookies, cakes and other pastries for consumption. There are also several different strains with different levels of intensity for the drug. Some being more potent than others. Many young people have found themselves addicted to marijuana and when the drug can no longer satisfy them, they opt for heavier drugs. This ultimately leads to drug addiction.
Older smokers are also at risk of using more drugs, just like the millennials. A study showed that there was a high prevalence for the older smokers to start having within the same year of marijuana use; nicotine dependency and alcoholic disorders. Cocaine use was also not off the record with some smokers even going so far as to misuse prescription drugs such as opioids and sedatives. In the United States, opioids abuse was recently declared a pandemic with several Americans addicted and at risk of losing their lives.
It has also been proven that marijuana is also being experimented on by younger people before alcohol or tobacco cigarettes. From as early as the age of 12-21 years old, the number of younger people experimenting has doubled since 2004 to 2011 and has only gone up since.
It is the most commonly used illicit drug in America. In 2015 more than 11 million young adults aged 18 to 25 used marijuana in the past year. As the use of marijuana becomes more permissive over time, more and more people have cited trying the drugs more often. Although is it a small (but growing) study shows that marijuana could be helpful in treating pain, nausea, and spasticity the benefits do not outweigh the cost. At least, not for everyone.
However, some doctors and patients have argued even a little relief can be helpful to some patients, and so the use will continue for some. It is also a fact that older patients are more likely to experience the side effects of drugs than young adults, or the middle-aged group. Combining marijuana use with other drugs like opioids and alcohol needs to be cautious of severe repercussions. It is a cause for concern. The ability of older people to metabolize the drug is lower than that of young adults, and so they should be cautious of the potency of the drug.
As the legal cannabis industry expands at a rapid pace, we can expect that more and more users will come into effect.