The use of marijuana in the United States of America has faced criticism from various institutions and lobby groups. This is because it is seen as a drug that has serious health problems on the life of its users. Marijuana is a ‘weed’ with green, shredded leaves from the plant known as Cannabis sativa. The main component of this plant is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is responsible for changing mind set of a user. Besides, it is also said to contain 400 other substances. Marijuana remains one of the most used illegal drugs in the United States used by both the young and old; while, the government remains consistent in criminalizing the use of marijuana, (Cermak, p. 10). The use of medicinal marijuana in Colorado, United States has been legalized given the wide benefits of this drug. Marijuana has medical benefits that can help the state in curbing various health issues. To guide how medicinal marijuana should be used, policies and state laws have to be set, a feat that has been achieved state administration in Colorado. This essay will explore the use of medicinal marijuana in Colorado, the benefits, and legal requirement for the trade.
Medicinal Values of Marijuana
Research on medicine shows that marijuana as a drug has a number of medicinal values. Clinical researches require quality test apparatus and the failure to do so result in dubious outcomes which normally highlight the negative rather than positive results. Complacency of the US administration to legalize marijuana use has in a way made researchers give results perceived to be pro government in relation to policies on marijuana use. As a result, pharmacists have had a dwindled enthusiasm to rise to the medical challenges of marijuana. Researchers have concluded that apart from the THC, the plant has other effective constituent substances in form of synthetic analogues of the plant’s extracts, (Guy, Whittle, and Robson, p. 230). The researches have discovered different properties of the medicine of marijuana.
Marijuana as a drug has antiemetic properties. Most of the cytotoxic drugs used in the treatment of malignant diseases have powerful emetics that have side effects when used in the treatment of cancer through the process of chemotherapy. Cytotoxic drugs have induced vomiting and nausea which may impede patients’ response to chemotherapy treatment. Marijuana has anti antiemetic properties forms of natural and synthetic THC that are superior and effective than for instance, placebo. Research still has to be carried out in this application of marijuana use as its full potential in this area has not been fully utilized in relation to antiemetic treatments. There is no preferred dosage and mode of administration and the percentage of amount to be used in addition to other drugs to take side effects of chemotherapy to lowest level.
Secondly, marijuana can be used in treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) mainly in spasticity. Also, it has been used in the treatment of other neurological conditions. THC alongside other cannabinoids have been seen to play a role in the spasticity and tremor by significantly relieving distress symptoms as a result of spinal cord injury (SDI) and MS treatments. In the United States, recent researches have shown that use of cannabis in treatment of MS patients reduced the after effects symptoms by 30-97% of the patients involved and the percentage varied from one given symptom to another, (Guy et al p. 232).
Consequently, chronic pain can be cured by use of marijuana in a wide range of pain conditions of the bone, menstrual and labor pains, migraine and cancer pains as stated in the above discussion. Cannabinoids have analgesic properties that are capable of containing pains as a result of chemical, mechanical and thermal processes in the body. Currently there is more evidence that suggest cannabis could be used in relieving patients of neuropathic pains more successfully than the currently available analgesics pain relievers can offer. An illustration to show the power of cannabis treatment in chronic pains includes phantom limb pain that is poorly aided by use of preferred analgesics drugs. Cannabinoids contained in cannabis best responds to alleviation of phantom limb pains after amputation. Besides, research demonstrates that pain modulation can also be possible via the use of endocannabinoid anandamide.
Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado
The federal government still considers marijuana use illegal but in Colorado, healthcare providers use marijuana for medical practices. Patients in Denver, Colorado are allowed to plant the weed but seeds have to be given by state licensed avenues. These avenues in Denver include: Kind Room, Healing Center, and Cannabis Medical among others. “The Colorado medical marijuana industry is growing incredibly fast with more than two dozen medical marijuana clinics in Colorado who have helped more than 5,000 patients, (Eastwood, 2010). In order to access an ID for medical marijuana use, one has to be recommended by a medical doctor to the confidential registry. Clinics and doctors in Colorado are registered to help patients use marijuana for the above mentioned medicinal values. Due to the legalization of the use of marijuana for medicine, other state sin the US are considering following the footsteps of Colorado by decriminalization of the drug.
Currently traders in marijuana industries invest outside America both legally and illegally and these growers are paid substantial amounts in the range of billions of dollars. Besides, the government spends more money in policing and implementation of anti-marijuana use policies given the large number of offenders charged for marijuana use. It is suggested that the total value of revenue that could be raised from this illegal trade ranges from $45-$110 billion yearly given the 25-60 million consumers with a possibility on higher amounts given that the respondents could have tried to with hold their opinion on the research topic, (Easton,). There is an added tax benefits that the government could reap from by legalizing marijuana use. Given the figure of revenues got from the cigarette trade, the government can expect a minimum of $40 billion assuming the selling price of one stick of marijuana is the same as the price of one cigarette.
There is much utility that can be derived from the use of marijuana by both the patients and those who use it for personal benefits. On the contrary, the government has not done much in setting up legal measures that could serve these interests. The federal and some states law have criminalized the use of cannabis resulting to arrests and incarceration of the users. The medicinal researches have also been derailed by the government policies that advocate otherwise. The motive of the government on this matter on legalization of marijuana is biased. This is because the general effects of marijuana use are milder compared to other drugs that are legally used today. After the analysis of the medicinal values of marijuana and the statistics from the National Institute of Drug Abuse from the introduction above, it is clear the use of cannabis is more effective than destructive.
The government of the United States has criminalized the use of marijuana through its Federal arm; the Interstate Commerce Clause that rests the power of controlling commerce channels, responsible for instituting policies of commerce and its action deals with any interstate issues than regards commerce. In addition, Supremacy Clause states that any form of conflict between the states’ law and federal laws gives superiority to federal law. The use of marijuana has been to some extend passed to allow medicinal use of cannabis in twelve US states. This was as a result of majority vote by the citizens in nine of the twelve states. Another six states have taken forward steps in provoking the criminalization of marijuana use. This has made the charges move from prison sentences to bolder methods of confiscation and fines to those found in possession of the substance. In Denver, Colorado for instance, it is legal to be in possession of one ounce of marijuana for those aged 21 and above. The age bracket has been criticized for discrimination as it leaves out adults below the 21 years mark.
The use of medicinal marijuana has many benefits and this calls for legalization and use of marijuana in the US. Both federal and states laws should be regulated to allow the use of the drug given the benefits of the drug (monetary and medicinal). We should expect more and more states through voter balloting to advocate for use of marijuana. Coupled by the vast medicinal values of the drug and the need of leaner research methodology, the Colorado administration took a positive move in legalizing the use of marijuana.
Cermak Timmen. Marijuana: what’s a parent to believe? Minnesota, MN: Hazelden Publishing, 2003
Easton, Stephen, The Debate Room. Legalize Marijuana for Tax Benefits. 2010.
Eastwood, Kathy. Medical Marijuana in Colorado. 2010.Web.
Guy, Geoffrey William, Whittle, Brian Anthony & Robson, Philip. The Medicinal uses of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. New York, NY: Pharmaceutical Press, 2004. Print.