By Eghagha Eseoghene
Marijuana is a very prominent and controversial issue in society today. Although many slanderous claims have been made about cannabis in recent history, the truths are slowly starting to resurface. Unfortunately, these truths are under heavy criticism due to the stereotypical view of what people view as the typical “pot smoker.”
This skewed perception of a lazy and unmotivated Nigeria is the result of a religious influenced nation made up of hypocrites and fanatics, propaganda, misinformation and ignorance spread by hypocrites and ignorant fellows.
As an advocate for medical marijuana, I strongly believe that marijuana should be legalized for medical uses.
The first reason weed should be legalized is because how many other drugs are legal. Weed is one of a few not too harmful drugs that are illegal. Many hard drugs such as painkillers, heroine, and cocaine are drugs that are very destructive to your health and possibly even your life.
Marijuana should not be put under the same category as these drugs. It should be under the category that includes alcohol, tobacco, and even sugar. These drugs are more commonly related to marijuana than hard drugs. Also, it is clear that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful to a person that marijuana. That’s why I don’t understand how the policy on marijuana isn’t equal if not more in favor than the policies on alcohol and tobacco. Even sugar in many health aspects can be considered more harmful than marijuana.
Marijuana is a drug that is a lot safer and harder to overdose than alcohol. That’s why many cannot understand why marijuana isn’t legal and alcohol is. Marijuana should have fair legal policies just like all the other “drugs” that are considered to be in the same category as it.
If cannabis were legalized, and then regulated and taxed like other commercial goods, it would bring in huge dollar amounts to the federal government. According to research, It’s estimated that the tax revenue generated from marijuana would be upwards of N 500 Billion annually if it were taxed like everyday goods, and as high as N1 trillion annually if it were taxed like alcohol and tobacco.
Health experts have been changing their minds too – recently, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta reversed his opinion on medical marijuana.
While recreational pot usage is controversial, many people agree with Gupta’s new stance and believe that the drug should be legal for medical uses.
And even though the benefits of smoking pot may be overstated by advocates of marijuana legalization, new laws will help researchers study the drug’s medicinal uses and better understand how it impacts the body. Currently, only 6% of studies on marijuana analyze its medicinal properties.
There are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that researchers think have medicinal applications. Those are cannabidiol (CBD) – which seems to impact the brain without a high- and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – which has pain relieving (and other) properties. It has been proved Marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma. Marijuana use can be used to treat and prevent the eye disease glaucoma, which increases pressure in the eyeball, damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision.
Marijuana decreases the pressure inside the eye, according to the National Eye Institute: “Studies in the early 1970s showed that marijuana, when smoked, lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those with glaucoma.” These effects of the drug may slow the progression of the disease, preventing blindness. It may help reverse the carcinogenic effects of tobacco and improve lung health. According to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2012, marijuana does not impair lung function and can even increase lung capacity.
Researchers looking for risk factors of heart disease tested the lung function of 5,115 young adults over the course of 20 years. Tobacco smokers lost lung function over time, but pot users actually showed an increase in lung capacity.
It’s possible that the increased lung capacity maybe due to taking deep breaths while inhaling the drug and not from a therapeutic chemical in the drug. It can help control epileptic seizures.
Marijuana use can prevent epileptic seizures, a 2003 study showed.
Robert J. DeLorenzo, of Virginia Commonwealth University, gave marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. The drugs rid the rats of the seizures for about 10 hours. Cannabinoids like the active ingredients in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC), control seizures by binding to the brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation.
The findings were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
It also decreases the symptoms of a severe seizure disorder known as Dravet’s Syndrome.
Charlotte Figi has Dravet’s Syndrome, and her parents are giving her marijuana to treat her seizures.During the research for his documentary “Weed,” Gupta interviewed the Figi family, who treats their 5-year-old daughter using a medical marijuana strain high in cannabidiol and low in THC. Their daughter, Charlotte, has Dravet Syndrome, which causes seizures and severe developmental delays.
The drug has decreased her seizures from 300 a week to just one every seven days. Forty other children in the state are using the same strain of marijuana to treat their seizures – and it seems to be working.
The doctors who recommended this treatment say that the cannabidiol in the plant interacts with the brain cells to quiet the excessive activity in the brain that causes these seizures.
A chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading.
CBD may help prevent cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007.
Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, the study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make more copies of this gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps them spread through the body.
The researchers studied breast cancer cells in the lab that had high expression levels of Id-1 and treated them with cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had decreased Id-1 expression and were less aggressive spreaders.
In “WEED,” Gupta also mentioned a few studies in the U.S., Spain, and Israel that suggest the compounds in cannabis could even kill cancer cells.
THC slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Marijuana may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute suggests.
The 2006 study, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, found that THC, the active chemical in marijuana, slows the formation of amyloid plaques by blocking the enzyme in the brain that makes them. These plaques are what kill brain cells and cause Alzheimer’s.
It lessens side effects from treating hepatitis C and increases treatment effectiveness. Treatment for hepatitis C infection is harsh – negative side effects include fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and depression and lasts for months. Many people aren’t able to finish their treatment course because of the side effects.
But, pot to the rescue: A 2006 study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatologyfound that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully completed their Hep C therapy, while only 29% of non-smokers completed their treatment, possibly because the marijuana helps lessens the treatments side effects. Marijuana also seems to improve the treatment’s effectiveness: 54% of hep C patients smoking marijuana got their viral levels low and kept them low, in comparison to only 8% of nonsmokers.
It relieves arthritis discomfort, alleviates pain, reduces inflammation, and promotes sleep, which may help relieve pain and discomfort for people with rheumatoid arthritis, researchers announced in 2011. Researchers from rheumatology units at several hospitals gave their patients Sativex, a cannabinoid-based pain-relieving medicine. After a two-week period, people on Sativex had a significant reduction in pain and improved sleep quality compared to placebo users. These and many more health benefits derived from Cannabis.
We should note that legalising medicinal marijuana comes with stiff control measures. Once we legalise this drug, it becomes a controlled drug. When this happens, the rate of drug abuse and drug trafficking would reduce drastically. Because it is no longer sold in hideouts and many cannot gain access to this drug if stiff penalties are meted out to peddlers without license and those who sell without prescriptions. Moreso, the misconceptions and controversies surrounding Marijuana would be balanced.
The benefits legalising medical marijuana are too numerous to mention. From health to financial dividends. Making Medical marijuana illegal and legalising Tobacco and alcohol is the same as patronising Satan and condemning demons.