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Will Tingle Ms.

Germain English 1102 Research Paper Part 1 For my research paper I decided to choose a topic that is prevalent now more than ever. The legitimacy of medical marijuana has been debated over for several years. With two states already legalizing marijuana for recreational use and many others who have approved marijuana for medical use there is a definite urge for more states to follow along. Just like many other debates going on in this country there are many people in favor of it and many that are strongly opposed to it. Any issue involving drugs or alcohol is going to have many different opposing opinions towards the issue. Does marijuana posses any medical benefits? Is medical marijuana just a scheme to legally smoke marijuana? As you could imagine there are many different opinions and questions about medical marijuana. There are many people that are skeptical about medical marijuana for obvious reasons. Marijuana is considered a schedule 1 narcotic by the United States Government and remains to be illegal. Being caught by law enforcement with possession of the drug could have many consequences. Many people argue that an illegal drug couldn't possibly have any medical benefits and think that medical marijuana is just a way for people to abuse the drug without risk of punishment by law enforcement. People think that title of "medical marijuana" is just a scapegoat to allow stoners access to cannabis.

On the other hand there are also several people who strongly support the medical marijuana industry and recognize its medical potential. There have been many studies on the medical abilities of cannabis. Research has shown that marijuana can help people suffering from AIDs, cancer, turrets, arthritis, and many more medical disorders. In states such as California marijuana can be prescribed by a doctor to a patient if the doctor believes cannabis could help with the patient's symptoms. The industry is booming now more than ever and has spread to 20 states as well as DC. In my personal opinion I believe that cannabis can serve as a good medicine for people who have certain health problems. At first I was very skeptical and felt like most people did when they first heard the phrase "medical marijuana". After doing some research and learning more about the industry I began to change my opinion. I learned that marijuana does in fact contain properties that have helped many patients and continue to do so today. My goal for this paper is to inform people about how marijuana can be used to help people with various medical disorders. I want to shift peoples opinion from thinking of marijuana as an illegal street drug into seeing it as a helpful medical alternative or to at least encourage people to be open minded towards the capabilities of medical marijuana.

Research Paper Part 2 Humans have been cultivating cannabis for thousands of years. Cannabis based textiles have been recovered in northern China that date back as early as 7000 BC. Cannabis has been cultivated for many different uses. People used cannabis to make paper, ink, soaps, twine, and

various textiles. Cannabis was also used by people for psychedelic therapy and for ceremonial purposes. Cannabis's versatility and diversity is what makes it so popular to all kinds of people around the world but yet today it is outlawed in most countries including the United States. Marijuana like many other plants such as tobacco was brought to the United States by English settlers. It was used throughout the early history of the United States without any regulation laws. As time passed and society progressed marijuana became less accepted and was eventually banned in the United States under the Congress Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Later in 1970 marijuana was made a schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. Being a schedule 1 narcotic means it was declared as the most illegal class of drug, alongside with heroin and LSD. Till this day marijuana remains a schedule 1 drug although there have been attempts to reassess its classification. Today there is very little scientific bias to support the government's stance that cannabis is a highly dangerous drug worthy of criminalization. The conclusions of most modern research conflicts with the government's stance on the substance. To date there have been over 10000 separate studies published over the years with a majority of them being released in the last few years. Many of these recent studies explore the medical potential of marijuana. In the last 5 years researchers have discovered many different medical capabilities of marijuana. In February 2010 researchers at University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research announced its findings of a series of clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled cannabis. The studies concluded that marijuana ought to be the "first line treatment" for patients with neuropathy and other various medical disorders. Another study conducted at the

center was centered around marijuana's ability to alleviate neurotic pain associated with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injury and many other debilitating conditions. Every one of the
trials found that cannabis consistently reduced patients' pain levels to a degree that was as good or better than currently available medications. In one more study done by the Center assessed the use of marijuana as a treatment for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. The study determined that smoked cannabis was superior to the placebo in reducing pain in patients with MS, and provided some benefit beyond currently prescribed treatments.

Medical marijuana is most commonly used by adults but in some circumstances children also use medical marijuana. Studies have shown that marijuana can reduce psychotic episodes for autistic children. In Windham Mane there was an autistic child that suffered from frequent psychotic episodes as a side effect of his autism. His mother tried giving him various antipsychotic medications prescribed by his doctor but none of them changed his behavior. After trying many medications without success his mother was willing to try anything to ease his episodes including marijuana. Dr. Dustin Sulak was the one to first certify him to use medical marijuana to help relieve his psychotic episodes. "We used to be told during the 'Just Say No' campaign that cannabis killed brain cells. But now we know that it actually protects brain cells and actually stimulates the growth of new brain cells," said Sulak. His mother began baking marijuana into brownies and giving them to her son. She said that this dramatically improved his behavior and he showed minimal side effects. On the other hand as I said before there are several critics of medical marijuana. Many claim that marijuana, even when used for medical purposes, might be unsafe because of its classification as a "gateway drug". The gateway theory states that the use of cannabis might

lead to illegal use of other controlled substances. It also states that use of cannabis by adolescents may reduce their mental barrier against the use of other illegal drugs and provide access to them. This theory accounts for many people's reasoning behind not supporting medical marijuana. There are also other reasons why people don't support the medical marijuana industry. Marijuana is known to cause inability to form new memories. THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana is also known to disrupt balance and coordination by binding to the receptors in the cerebellum and basal ganglia which are the parts of the brain that regulates balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time. Marijuana users that take high doses of the drug can experience acute psychosis, which could include hallucinations, delusions, and loss of the sense of personal identity. Use of marijuana also increases heart rate which increases the users risk of a heart attack by 20%.

Research Paper Part 3 After conducting research about medical marijuana I have become a lot more knowledgeable on the subject. My research confirmed my previous knowledge of medical marijuana and also enlightened me with other information that I was unaware of. I knew that there were some negative side effects of marijuana use such as short term memory loss and reduced reaction time but I was unaware of many other potential negative side effects of the drug. I learned that the use of cannabis can cause anxiety and paranoia. I also learned that there are both short term effects and long term effects of marijuana use. Long term use of

marijuana can in fact lead to addiction. I had always heard that marijuana wasn't addictive. Another new thing I learned was that using marijuana during adolescence can increase risk for psychological disorders such as schizophrenia later on in life. In conclusion my opinion of medical marijuana has for the most part remained the same as I stated in part one of this paper. I am convinced that marijuana does in fact work as a useful medicine for many medical disorders. As for right now no one is either correct or incorrect about their opinions of medical marijuana. Further research will eventually confirm or disprove my opinion on medical marijuana. Also as more research is done people will have more justification in their thoughts of medical marijuana. The debate over the legitimacy of medical marijuana will certainly continue into the future.

Works Cited References Armentano, P. (2012, March 14). NORML.org - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/recent-researchon-medical-marijuana Cohen, P. J. (2010). Login to Atkins Library - J. Murrey Atkins Library - UNC Charlotte. Retrieved from Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics website: http://ehis.ebscohost.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=35131cba9527-417a-8991-3af32f863ab6%40sessionmgr111&vid=2&hid=107 Mother says medical marijuana has helped son, 12 | Portland - WMTW Home. (2013, April 10). Retrieved October 20, 2013, from http://www.wmtw.com/news/maine/portland/Mothersays-medical-marijuana-has-helped-son-12/-/8865266/19679324/-/ixco19z/-/index.html National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012, July). Marijuana Abuse | National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/researchreports/marijuana-abuse