Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Marijuana, for many years, has created great controversy between the law and the society for many years. The question that still remains is whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes, or should it stay illegal to possess, grow and/or smoke.

Also known as ¡§pot¡¨, or ¡§weed¡¨, marijuana consists of the buds that grow from the plant called hemp. It contains over 400 chemicals and when smoked, it releases over 2000 chemicals that enter the body through the lungs. The short-term psychological effect also known as ¡§high¡¨ causes change in the users thoughts, feelings and reaction. It causes temporary redness in the eyes, and also interference with judgement and co-ordination. The experience of the ¡§high¡¨ varies from individual to individual due to everyone¡¦s different expectations, personality and mood. Other factors, such as the type and quality of the product and the level of the chemical, THC (Tertrahydrocannibinol), also contribute to the users reaction to the drug.

In most cases, the high consists of a dreamy relaxed state in which the user seem more aware of their sense and feel that time is moving slowly. Sometimes, however, the user may get a feeling of dread and paranoia.

Thousands of Canadians grow or acquire marijuana to treat a whole variety of conditions. It is not used to cure a disease but rather to lessen symptoms either of the disease or of the drugs taken to ease or cure a disease. It relieves nausea for AIDS and chemotherapy cancer patients, helps AIDS patients keep eating in order to keep up their weight, lessens the severity and number of epileptics¡¦ seizures, helps glaucoma patients lower the increased intraocular pressure in the retina which causes blindness, combats the paralyzing effects of multiple sclerosis as well as easing the joint pains of arthritics and rheumatics. Both heroin (as the form of morphine) and cocaine, both of which are considered much stronger than marijuana, are legal when used for legitimate medical purposes, so why shouldn¡¦t marijuana? According to a CTV/National Angus Reid Poll taken in October 1997, eight out of 10 Canadians believe that it should be legal to use marijuana for health purposes.

Marinol is a legal synthetic THC alternative to cannabis, but many find minimal relief from the drug, particularly when compared to inhaled marijuana. The only compound isolated in marijuana that appears to be medically beneficial to patients is delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol. Other compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD), an anti- convulsate, and cannabichromine (CBC), and anti-inflammatory, are unavailable in Marinol, and patients only have access to their therapeutic properties by using marijuana.