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Free «Should Doctors Be Able to Prescribe Medical Marijuana?» Essay Sample


In the near past, marijuana has gained popularity as a more holistic kind of medical care within the health care industry. It is leading the way as a revolt against the traditional pharmaceutical firm approaches to medicine and corporate rationed care. In 1972, the United States Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, since they deemed it to have no accepted medicinal value (Aggarwal et al. 154). Since then, seventeen out of fifty states in the United States legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. A wide array of researches details the medicinal value of marijuana. Scientists report that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical found in marijuana, binds to the endocannabinoid receptors of the brain, resulting in reduced anxiety, pain, and the ‘high feeling’ (Cabral 62). Besides, it has been reported that the chemical compound slows down the growth rate of a number of cancer types.   

Though a number of states have legalized the use of marijuana for its medicinal value, under the federal law it remains unauthorized, and pharmacies are not allowed to supply it. For the same reason doctors have been prescribing the use of marijuana rather than the actual recommendations. A patient with a recommendation from the doctor can purchase marijuana from a dispensary. Other shops commonly referred to as ‘cannabis clubs’ offer different types of marijuana-based products, such as chocolate, butter, cookies, and smoothies. This study focuses on medical marijuana and whether doctors should be able to prescribe it.



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Why Doctors Should Be Able to Prescribe Medical Marijuana

Many associations like, for example, the American Nurses Association (ANA) acknowledge that patients should have an access to marijuana for medicinal purposes. For centuries, cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes. Research indicates that marijuana has been effective in treating a number of conditions and symptoms (Voth and Schwartz 791-793). Similarly, the growing tide of research indicates that the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and probably curative impacts of cannabis continue to hold up that marijuana is an effective and a safe part of therapeutic treatment.  Around 12 states in the United States acknowledge the medical value of marijuana, and 80% of the Americans prop up medical marijuana. 

It is recommended that the criminal prosecution of the patients utilizing marijuana for medicinal purposes should come to a halt as soon possible. Moreover, doctors are urged to treat marijuana as a safe and effective medicine for the critically sick. Marijuana has been found to be effective in controlling nausea associated with chemotherapy, reduction of eye pressure for patients suffering from glaucoma, and controlling muscle spasms as a result of sclerosis, quadriplegia, and paraplegia (Aggarwal et al. 154). As such, physicians should be given the authority to recommend marijuana to critically ill patients without fearing that the federal government will revoke their licenses. The privacy between the patient and the doctor should also be protected.  

Albeit illegally, several sick patients now recognize that marijuana has some medicinal value. However, several attempts to address the issue through federal administrative hearings and state legislation have frequently been disregarded by misguided federal agencies. Numerous expensive and extensive research programs have been carried out, and they have illustrated that the plant has some medical utility that can be effective in the treatment of cancer therapy side effects. Young, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (FDA)’s chief administrative law judge, stated that marijuana has a lawful medical value, and it should be availed to medical practitioners.

Doctors should be in a position to recommend medical marijuana for the medical treatment of a patient because pharmaceuticals have numerous side effects and are ineffective. Studies indicate that most of the health problems being faced by people presently cannot be sufficiently assuaged by pharmaceutical drugs. Most people are reported to suffer from depression and anxiety, and the medicines recommended by doctors for these ailments either have incapacitating side effects such as panic attacks, nausea, or tiredness, or are ineffective. In this respect, marijuana could be both a first line treatment and an alternative for the authorized pharmaceutical drugs, should they prove to be ineffective for the patient. 

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Apparently, medical marijuana ought to be included in conventional medicines so that the medical practitioners are not limited to its usage. In this era, medical marijuana is critical within the field of medicine and its usage should not be restricted. Similar to cocaine, the medical gurus should modify the drug to ensure that it has slight impacts, if any, to the mental system of a patient. The opponents argue that its impacts on the brain are enough to restrict its usage, irrespective of its medicinal utility. Nonetheless, research has continued to indicate that it is possible to modify the chemical compounds of a drug to alleviate the harmful effects. This means that medical marijuana can be modified to make it acceptable to the federal law. In essence, medical marijuana is a substantial breakthrough in healthcare industry for addressing depression and anxiety. Research has clearly indicated that unlike most drugs, medical marijuana is effective and safe. As such, it is important for the federal government and the health care industry at large to adopt it without restrictions whatsoever. As a result of its effectiveness in the treatment of chemotherapy side effects, the world should legalize its usage for medical purposes. It has been a necessity for medical practitioners to offer the best treatment to their patients. Marijuana has been found to be safe and effective, and as such doctors should be allowed to use it in health care provision to their patients.

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A number of international bodies have studied the medical usage of marijuana and its derivatives. Such bodies include the Institute of Medicine in the United States (1999), the Scientific Committee of the House of Lords in Great Britain (1998), and the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs in Canada (Amar 1-25). Studies show that ever since 2003, pharmacies in Netherlands have been selling medicinal marijuana in its chemical concentration to patients who are prescribed it by doctors. The drug is available in two doses: cannabis flos, variety Bedrobinol which contains 0.2 percent cannabidiol and 13 percent dronabinol, and cannabis flos, variety Bedrocan which contains 0.8 percent cannabidiol and 18 percent dronabinol (Amar 1-25). A number of Western nations have also permitted and carried out clinical trials on marijuana and its derivatives. This may be for the reason that they have understood the benefits of the drug for medical purposes.

In spite of the fact that many states have not legalized marijuana for medical use, most people still use it albeit its illegality. This means that legalizing it will just make it lawful, and thus easy to control as measures for standardization would be put forth. Therefore, legalizing marijuana for medical purposes will not only simply the life of the people who use the drug secretly, but would also enable the involved parties to control its usage. Apparently, it is not possible to stop the use of the drug, and advocates argue that the benefits involved are more as compared to the risks. The illegality of marijuana means that standardization measures are not put in place, rendering the drug harmful. Despite the fact that the drug is not controlled in most states, studies have not evidenced serious impacts on the users, signifying that it is safe for medicinal use. Although the marijuana needs to be modified in order to reduce its toxicity, such modifications would be minimal due to the safeness of the drug. It is against this backdrop that it can be argued that marijuana should be legalized for medical use as it has proven to be safe.

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Compared to other drugs which are prescribed by doctors to relieve pain and anxiety, medical marijuana has been evidenced to have reduced side effects. No report has actually been put forth regarding a person having died from marijuana overdose. On the other hand, regular reports have been put forward concerning patients having died as a result of overdosing with other pain relieving drugs such as paracetamol. With reference to this, it can perhaps be said that medical marijuana is more efficient, has a broader therapeutic window, and is less lethal and harmful when matched up to other legalized medical drugs. As a result, doctors should be allowed to prescribe it depending on patients’ medical conditions and their symptoms, as this would benefit many people who suffer from serious conditions which are not treatable by other drugs.

Although studies have shown health benefits linked with the use of medical marijuana, some current research has indicated that the chemical substance in marijuana assists in slowing the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. It does that by blocking the formation of plagues that cause the disease as compared to other convectional drugs. Marijuana is an efficient treatment for nausea, and especially for cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy and for whom mainstream medications are not working. Medical marijuana has proven effective in easing pain among patients’ with manifold sclerosis, and lessening intraocular pressure in patients suffering from glaucoma.

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In order to maximize the efficacy and the lessen toxicity of marijuana, researchers are currently investigating novel formulations to administer and deliver cannabinoids. Such formulations encompass nasal sprays, aerosols, rectal suppositories, sublingual preparations, and transdermal patches. These formulations are very efficient as they amplify the bioavailability of medical marijuana and allow a larger dose titration. Through this, doctors would be able to guarantee their patients a quicker delivery. It is against these reasons that proponents advocate that doctors should be able to prescribe medical marijuana to patients.

Although medical marijuana has been evidenced to have numerous health benefits, critics argue that doctors should not be allowed to prescribe it to patients. The opponents base their claims on various reasons. For example, they argue that medical marijuana is unsafe to be used, it has not been approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the existence of legalized drugs makes the use of marijuana needless (Collet et al. 1674). Marijuana is also addictive, results in the employment of harder drugs, damages driving capability, impedes fertility, and harms the brain, the lungs, and immune system (Cabral 64). They put forth that allowing physicians to prescribe medical marijuana would give way for legalization of the drug and people may use it for recreational purposes.

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Studies have shown that marijuana subdues nausea and eases pain due to the fact that it enhances mood, lessens anxiety, and works as a tranquilizer (Collet et al. 1672). However, the limited researches that have assessed the employment of marijuana for medical purposes are unconvincing. To some extent, this is for the reason that the drug might have paradoxical impacts in the brain, but this depends on the amount of drug used as well as inborn genetic susceptibility.

Adequate research has not been carried out on the lasting impacts of marijuana. Past studies had a clear-cut positive prejudice. After marijuana was accepted in the 1960s, there was high occurrence of type two diabetes, autism, and obesity. Although no research has been conducted to show the relationship between the use of marijuana and genetic modification with resulting medical states, some people believe the two have a positive correlation.

In the near past, a number of states passed either laws or ballot initiatives authorizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes for the patients with a prescription from their doctors. These same states have authorized ‘defense to possession’ for individuals who use marijuana and who have acquired a prescription from the doctor for the use of crude marijuana. Besides the ballot initiatives, the Supreme Court of the United States clarified that medical necessity is not to be used as a defense for the cultivation or sale of marijuana. To this effect, they also avowed that the plant is not medicine. The new atmosphere created by medical marijuana makes it hard for physicians to treat their patients compassionately. The act of prescribing medical marijuana places doctors in a position to suggest that patients use marijuana for medical purposes. The laws circumvent the processes of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meant to ensure safety and efficacy. The doctors who give such prescriptions expose themselves to national law action from the smokers of marijuana who have undesirable effects (Collet et al. 1669-1671). Taking into consideration the individuals who are at a higher risk of experiencing problems that may result from marijuana use, doctors should be careful when evaluating the risks involved prior to prescribing marijuana to their patients.    

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If physicians are able to prescribe medical marijuana on a medical basis putting into consideration the medical conditions and symptoms of a patient, then it would be easy for any other person to obtain prescription from physicians. As a result, there would eventually be a boost in the number of persons abusing the drug. A regular use of marijuana influences short-term memory, thus impairing one’s cognitive ability. Besides, it results in anxiety and long-term depression. It is against these grounds that opponents claim that doctors should not be able to prescribe medical marijuana to patients. However, physicians necessitate having the possibility of prescribing medical marijuana lawfully. They can do this provided that they consider the medical conditions of a patient and the relief that could be obtained from the use of the drug. Doctors must be capable of employing their knowledge and own judgment to determine whether prescribing medical marijuana to patients is a viable option for pain reduction.

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Evidently, the chemical compounds in medical marijuana can alleviate pain, stimulate appetite, and combat nausea. Whether these health benefits prevail over the risks of legalizing marijuana has stimulated a legislative conundrum in the United States. In over 15 states the domestic police consider the act of using marijuana legal, while the federal law, on the other hand, limits its usage. According to studies, marijuana overdose is not harmful as compared to  other abused drugs. Moreover, the probability of becoming addicted to marijuana is lower than to other abused drugs and recommended drugs; it can be addictive for some people, though. As stated by the opponents of the claim, marijuana has some debilitating side effects. The proponents of the claim have countered the claim by arguing that the chemical compound in the drug, tetrahydrocannabinol, binds to the endocannabinoid receptors of the brain, resulting in reduced anxiety, pain, and the ‘high feeling’. Further they claim that it slows down the growth rate of a number of cancer types. To this effect, doctors should be allowed to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.    


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