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William Travis Lee

Ms. Hofmann
English 1102-057
March 31, 2014

I worked on adding more information to the paper to help the audience understand a
little more what the substance can do for patients and I also added a story with my dad
in it to make this subject more personal. I redid my introduction to better fit the paper
and create a better flow. What can I do to make my paper better? Do I need a better
organization of the paper? What can I add/take out?
Medicinal Cannabis
Marijuana is one of the largest known street drugs in the United States but can
also be used as a medicine. Medical cannabis (or medical marijuana) refers to the use of
cannabis and its constituent cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and
cannabidiol (CBD), as medical therapy to treat disease or alleviate symptoms. The
Cannabis plant has a history of medicinal use dating back thousands of years across many
cultures (Wiki/Medical Cannabis). So what can medical cannabis do for the United
States as a whole?
Medical cannabis is known as a plant with different components within parts of
the plant that are extracted to create medicine. There are two main extracts taken from the
plant which are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol
(CBN), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV/THV). THC is the psychoactive ingredient of
the plant which can cause anxiety attacks on users without much experience but can be
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controlled if used by someone that has more experience with the product. CBD is known
to counter act the THC with a non-psychotropic ingredient. CBD is used more than THC
when it comes to medical patients. CBN is a smaller psychoactive ingredient in cannabis
but is mainly used as an immunosuppressant, which reduces the efficiency of the immune
system. THCV is an ingredient with not much background. They say that its psychoactive
component does counter act with the THC component but is not well characterized.
These four components create what you call cannabis and can have different percentages
ranging from one to ninety-nine percent. The different potencys a created depending on
what circumstances the patient has. For example patients with epilepsy would have a
different dosage than a patient with arthritis.
Medical cannabis can be used to treat many different types of sicknesses such as
AIDS, Alzheimers disease, anorexia, arthritis, cancer, cerebral effects, Crohns disease,
depression, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and many other sicknesses. Cannabis
has not been proven to cure any of these sicknesses but has shown to help with decrease
the symptoms of them. AIDS being one of the biggest sexually transmitted disease in
America has found use for the cannabis product. More commonly, however, HIV and
AIDS patients suffer from severe anorexia. They become unable to eat and frequently
drop weight at an alarming pace. This pattern, called the wasting syndrome, is the
major contributor to death through AIDS-related conditions. Cannabis has been known to
stimulate the appetite and promote gastrointestinal reflexes since the beginning of
recorded civilization (AIDS). Marinol is a drug containing THC; the drug is used to help
AIDS patients regain their appetite. Marinol isnt only used for anorexia but is also used
to help decrease nausea and vomiting for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
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Cancer being something that almost everyone has now a days. People die from
cancer every day and go through extreme conditions to help prevent death. My dad was
recently diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. With my dad having cancer I have grown
an interest in medical cannabis as a possible alternative for the pain pills and chemicals
they put through his body because I dont want to see him go through that anymore.
Radiation and chemotherapy often include violent, gut-wrenching nausea. Delta-9 THC
is legally prescribed for counteracting the severe side effects of these cancer therapies,
and is prescribed by doctors under its trade name, Marinol. Marinol pills, which are taken
orally to control vomiting, were shown to be a superior anti-emetic (anti-nausea drug) in
six out of seven well-controlled studies reported in the Journal of the American Medical
Association as early as 1981. In earlier scientific studies, Marinol was also proven
superior to other anti-emetics. However, Marinol falls short of perfection because of its
super high potency, which often leads to intoxication and sedation (Cancer). Although
Marinol has a side effect of lowering nausea and vomiting from cancer therapies it also
has the side effect of intoxication. The THC ingredient creates a high sensation and
Marinol contains high levels of THC which leads to intoxication.
As medical cannabis grows throughout the United States many peoples
perspectives may change, some may even stay the same. So why does the government
keep medical cannabis out of the drug stores? First off its not illegal in all states. Forty
percent of the states have legalized cannabis for medical use so the government hasnt
completely cut off the use of medical cannabis. The government has many reasoning on
why they shouldnt legalize marijuana. For example, marijuana is the most commonly
used illicit drug in the United States, with nearly 17 million Americans age 12 and older
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reporting pastmonth use, and 374,000 people entering an emergency room annually with
a primary marijuana problem (United States). With many young teenagers ending up in
the hospital for the use with negative side effects it is not helping increase the chances of
legalization throughout all of the United States. The government has also had lab tests
done to figure out what actually happens when in taking marijuana. Marijuana use is
associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and
impaired cognitive and immune system functioning, among other negative effects.
Marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, difficulty in thinking and problem
solving, and problems with learning and memory. Studies have shown an association
between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal
thoughts, and schizophrenia. Other research has shown marijuana smoke to contain
carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. Marijuana smoke, in fact, contains 5070
percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke (United States). With
the government finding reasons not to legalize cannabis because of the bad side effects of
smoking it others have found ways to still get the same relaxing/high effect through
different ways. The use of edibles and ointments are alternatives for smoking marijuana.
Many people use marijuana pills filled with a CBD or THC oil that helps with different
In Colorado a family had a child with Dravets syndrome. Dravets syndrome is a
severe pediatric epilepsy. Charlotte, the daughter, would have seizures anywhere from
twenty to thirty minutes or longer and medicine wouldnt stop them. This family tried
many different drugs and some of the side effects have caused Charlottes heart to stop
multiple times. The family had finally come to an end and nothing was working for
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Charlotte. The family living in Colorado decided to try medical cannabis which was legal
being that Colorado is one of the twenty states that has legalized medical use of
marijuana. So you might be thinking is this child being handed a joint to smoke to cure
her symptoms, well not quite, she is actually taking a pill containing CBD oil. The CBD
oil is a non-psychoactive ingredient that stalemates the seizures. Charlotte went from 300
seizures a week or one every fifteen minutes, to only having one to none a week. The
CBD ingredient within the medical cannabis saved this little girls life and gave her a
chance actually live a normal life without having a seizure every fifteen minutes
(Charlottes Web). As you can see the use of medical cannabis can be very helpful if used
correctly. Smoking a joint with your friends out back isnt necessarily the proper use. If
the government were to control the use of marijuana and create it for only medical use it
could be life changing for many people.
After that story you may be asking yourself, why does the United States
government still have a problem legalizing medical use of cannabis? Legalizing
marijuana would increase use of the drug and, consequently, the harm it causes, thus
adding to the burden on the criminal justice system. Arrests for alcoholrelated crimes,
such as violations of liquor laws, public drunkenness, and driving under the influence,
totaled nearly 2.7 million in 2008. Marijuanapossession arrests under current laws in
2008 totaled around 750,000 (United States). So if they were to pass marijuana laws in
states where its still illegal, it would create a contradiction. All of the people in jail for
possession of marijuana would want to argue that now that its legal they shouldnt be
still doing time. The governments way of spreading information in this article seems to
be pushing the public away from the good aspects of it and focusing on more of the
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negative effects. For instance, if the government were to tax and control the substance,
like they do with medications there would be no problem, but the government disagrees.
Use of the legal substances alcohol and tobacco far outpaces the use of marijuana, a
strong indication that laws reduce the availability and acceptability of substances. Our
experience with even tightly regulated prescription drugs, such as Oxycontin, shows that
legalizing drugs widens availability and misuse, even when controls are in place (United
States). Alcohol, cigarettes and medications are all controlled but there are still people
that will use them illegally. No matter what the laws are the use will still continue to be
the same, maybe increasing or decreasing here and there, but for the most part stay the
Many people may feel that the use of medical cannabis will be abused, but so will
alcohol, cigarettes, and your everyday medications. No matter what the government tries
to do the public will abuse their rights because we live in a cruel world. So what can
medical cannabis do for the United States as a whole? If used the right way, controlled
and prescribed by doctors for medical use only it can save lives and create less of a
painful life for others. Medical cannabis could open many doors for other things as well
and could possibly cure sicknesses that no one has found a cure for yet. The only way we
can get to that point is by spreading our knowledge of the product and finding a way to
legalize the medical use.

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"AIDS." Cannabis Medical Dictionary. Lifevine Media, 9 June 2008. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.
"Cancer." Cannabis Medical Dictionary. Lifevine Media, 1 July 2008. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.
"Cannabidiol." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
"Cannabinol." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
"Cannabis (drug)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 01 Apr.
2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_drug>.
Charlotte's Web and Zaki's Journey. Therealmofcaring, 2013. Web. 24 Mar 2014.
"Tetrahydrocannabinol." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 01 Apr.
2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabinol#Marinol>.
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"Tetrahydrocannabivarin." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 01
Apr. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabivarin>.
"10 Pharmaceutical Drugs Based on Cannabis - Medical Marijuana - ProCon.org."
ProConorg Headlines. N.p., 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
United States. National Drug Control. Office of National Drug Control Policy. Marijuana
Legalization: A Bad Idea. White House Drug Policy, Oct. 2010. Web. 9 Apr.
2014. <http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo699/mj_legal.pdf>.