Marijuana of marijuana with diseases such as glaucoma,

Marijuana use has been in the forefront of public health
conversation in terms of legalization for many years. Recently, marijuana
legalization has been very controversial as many legislators and the general
public have conflicting views about the use of marijuana. With marijuana being
the most commonly used illegal drug and over 22 million individuals using this
drug monthly, it is important to understand the potential health effects that marijuana
has.1 There are many reasons as to why there has been no consensus on
marijuana legalization across the USA, but there are pros and cons for each
side of the argument.

            There are
already two forms of cannabinoids that are FDA approved, Dronabinol and Nabilone.
Both drugs are only approved for cancer-related nausea and vomiting and increasing
appetite in wasting patients.2 Marijuana plants contain tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC) and cannabidiol.2 With little and conflicting research being
compiled on the health effects of marijuana with diseases such as glaucoma, the
strongest indication for marijuana that is not legal throughout the country is
for multiple sclerosis.2  Studies
involving multiple sclerosis patients that have symptoms such as neuropathic
pain, spasticity, and chronic pain have consistently shown that marijuana has a
positive effect on those symptoms.2

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            Marijuana
has an analgesic effect and studies have shown that patients do exhibit lower
levels of pain after the use of marijuana, and that higher amounts of THC were
linked to lower levels of pain.3 The same study found that there
were very few side effects of marijuana use and include dry eyes, difficulty concentrating,
and sedation.3 Based on the evidence, the benefits of using marijuana
for pain outweigh the risks leading to the potential of using marijuana as an
analgesic. Other than the analgesic affect, marijuana has been proven to have a
positive effect on muscle spasms and spasticity. Multiple studies have shown
that marijuana with increased doses of THC can decrease the spasticity and
spasm involved in multiple sclerosis and potentially spinal cord injury.3 Other
potential problems that marijuana could help with include seizure disorders, Crohn’s
disease, asthma, glaucoma, and as a sleep aid. Before determining whether or
not marijuana is useful in treating other conditions, much more research needs
to be conducted as well as obtaining a better understanding of how marijuana pharmacologically
helps with these problems.

            Even though
marijuana has been shown to have positive effects on certain conditions stated
above, there is still a large amount of skepticism on the legalization of its
use due to the potential adverse effects. As with many other drugs, there is a risk
of addiction with marijuana use. Evidence has consistently shown that approximately
10 percent of individuals who use marijuana will become addicted.4 A
national survey on drug use found that over 2 million individuals met the DSM-IV
criteria for dependence associated with marijuana use.4 With the
percentage of addiction being only around 10 percent, another major
complication of use would be cannabis withdrawal syndrome. This consists of
many withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and craving that makes marijuana
cessation more difficult even without addiction.4 Also, studies have
shown that marijuana use at earlier ages is linked with an increased likelihood
for addiction later in life.4 Addiction, however, is not the only
adverse effect that has been associated with marijuana use.

            Marijuana
use has been shown to have an effect on brain development. The use of marijuana
before age 21 has been can potentially affect the reward system in the brain.4
With this reward system affected, it shows that marijuana can be a gateway drug.4
A study investigating adults who consistently smoked marijuana as an adolescent
showed that these individuals had impaired neural connectivity leading to
problems such as memory difficulty and learning ability.4 By knowing
that marijuana has the potential to affect development of the brain, it leads
to the thought of only allowing any marijuana use, medical or not, to be
reserved for those over the age of 21. Studies have also shown that marijuana
use has been directly linked to increased levels of anxiety and depression as
well as conditions such as schizophrenia.4 Although information is does
not show causality, it is believed that the earlier a person uses marijuana in
their lifetime, the higher likelihood of developing mental illness.4 Other
researched adverse effects of marijuana include declining school performance,
driving problems, and the risk of lung cancer. Again, more research needs to be
conducted to develop a strong argument for these potential adverse effects, but
the relationship between marijuana and these risks have been seen.4

                    After researching the positive and negative
aspects of marijuana use, a potential intervention to develop for marijuana use
is needed. Based on the information compiled, the best intervention and legislation
for the time being would be to legalize the medical use of marijuana nationwide
in certain circumstances in individuals over the age of 21. At this time, the
conditions that I would approve for marijuana use include spasticity,
neuropathic pain from any etiology, chronic pain, appetite stimulation,
cancer-related nausea and vomiting, seizure disorder, and muscle spasm. The reasoning
for marijuana legalization for only those specific conditions is due to previous
research that shows a probable likelihood of positive effect with marijuana
use. With the proven benefits of marijuana use being documented, I see no reason
as to why the general population cannot benefit from the medicinal qualities of
marijuana. With this being said, as more research is conducted and more
potential uses for marijuana are proven, then the addition of more conditions could
follow. Providers would need to undergo specialized training on the uses, side
effects, and pharmacologic profile of marijuana prior to being certified to
prescribe. A potential solution for this training would be to have classes with
continuing medical education (CME) credits to give providers an incentive for learning
more about marijuana. Patients will have to be older than 21 with this new legislation
in order to be a candidate for marijuana therapy. The reasoning for this is
because of the multiple potential complications from marijuana use at an early
age. Some of these complications include the potential as a gateway drug, effects
on memory and learning, and the link with mental illness and early marijuana
use. Since marijuana legalization is dealt with on state and national levels,
it would be a long process to create documentation that would appease enough
people for the potential legislation to be enacted.

            Marijuana
legalization has already been accomplished by multiple states, most notably
Colorado. With Colorado legalizing the use of marijuana for certain conditions
in 2000 and recreational use shortly after, the state has begun to look at the
implications of how this legalization has affected the population. Some of the main
concerns that have been noticed in Colorado include driving problems and misuse
of forms of marijuana such as “edibles.”5 The concern with the “edibles”
is due to recreational use which would still be illegal in the proposed
intervention. Since Colorado has over 17 years of experience in dealing with marijuana
legalization issues, I find it would be very beneficial to also enact some of
their policies to the proposed intervention. In addressing the driving concerns
associated with marijuana use, drivers would be required to have less than 5 nanograms
of THC per milliliter of blood in order to drive a car.5 Though data
on this is limited and more research needs to be conducted, this would be a
good starting place for legalization purposes. Also, Colorado did implement law
that requires marijuana users to be over 21 years of age to further discourage
adolescents from the complications associated with marijuana use at an early
age.5

            This proposed
intervention has many strengths and weaknesses. The main strength of this
intervention is that it would help individuals with the conditions stated above
lead a better life. For the people who do not respond to standard medical
treatment and cannot get relief from their symptoms, marijuana use could be
very beneficial in increasing their quality of life. A big strength of the proposed
intervention would be that it is a nation-wide law that does not vary
state-to-state. This standardization would lead to a decreased confusion a potentially
increased compliance due to an easier understanding of the law. Since marijuana
would not be recreationally sold legally, there could potentially be a decrease
in the amount of recreational marijuana users due to a decrease in availability
of purchasing opportunities. Patients would have to be over 21 to be eligible to
use marijuana medically which would allow for a greater time of brain
development for adolescents. Also under this policy, marijuana over time could be
viewed as more for medicinal uses than recreational uses. This may never be the
case, but with providers being required to attain some type of marijuana
education, they could better educate their patients on why marijuana should be
used solely for medical purposes. With these strengths being noted, there are
also many weaknesses to this proposal.

            The main
weakness of this proposed intervention would be that the legislation would have
to gain enough support nationwide and throughout the state and national government
levels to be passed from a bill to a law. It would require a large amount of time
and money to make it happen. If the support for the proposal was not present,
the whole idea would be useless as the current regulations on marijuana would remain.
Even though the proposal would make recreational marijuana use illegal, people
would still find ways to recreationally use marijuana. Throughout periods of
marijuana being illegal to use recreationally, people have still found ways to
consistently use marijuana. Since the FDA has only 2 approved uses of marijuana
like products, it would likely be very difficult and time-consuming to get the
approval for all of the proposed uses of marijuana. Without FDA approval, it
would technically be illegal to prescribe marijuana for any reason. Also, there
are many conditions that marijuana may potentially have a positive effect on,
but it costs time and money for this research to be conducted and published. So,
the funding aspect of this proposal could cause multiple problems throughout
the process. Since there are already states that have legalized the use of
recreational marijuana, there could be potential problems with businesses that
rely on the recreation use of the drug. The economic implications of this proposal
could leave certain marijuana dispensaries out of business and potentially leave
a negative impact on areas with a large number of recreational dispensaries in
the area.

            Overall, the
discussion on marijuana legalization is one that is still on-going and very
important because it could play a role in the health of many individuals
nation-wide. Much more research is needed to develop a better understanding as
to the benefits and weaknesses of marijuana use medically and recreationally. With
many states enacting their own policies on marijuana use, it may be necessary to
enact a nation-wide policy to standardize the use of the drug. The intervention
I have proposed could be a potential solution to the problems associated with
the legalization of medical marijuana but still has many weaknesses that need
to be addressed. With the many proven benefits and low side-effect profile of
marijuana use in individuals over the age of 21, it is imperative to reap the
benefits of marijuana use. By developing a proper plan backed up by proven
research, it is possible to harbor the medical benefits of marijuana and enhance
the quality of life of many people. 

Marijuana use has been in the forefront of public health
conversation in terms of legalization for many years. Recently, marijuana
legalization has been very controversial as many legislators and the general
public have conflicting views about the use of marijuana. With marijuana being
the most commonly used illegal drug and over 22 million individuals using this
drug monthly, it is important to understand the potential health effects that marijuana
has.1 There are many reasons as to why there has been no consensus on
marijuana legalization across the USA, but there are pros and cons for each
side of the argument.

            There are
already two forms of cannabinoids that are FDA approved, Dronabinol and Nabilone.
Both drugs are only approved for cancer-related nausea and vomiting and increasing
appetite in wasting patients.2 Marijuana plants contain tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC) and cannabidiol.2 With little and conflicting research being
compiled on the health effects of marijuana with diseases such as glaucoma, the
strongest indication for marijuana that is not legal throughout the country is
for multiple sclerosis.2  Studies
involving multiple sclerosis patients that have symptoms such as neuropathic
pain, spasticity, and chronic pain have consistently shown that marijuana has a
positive effect on those symptoms.2

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For You For Only $13.90/page!


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            Marijuana
has an analgesic effect and studies have shown that patients do exhibit lower
levels of pain after the use of marijuana, and that higher amounts of THC were
linked to lower levels of pain.3 The same study found that there
were very few side effects of marijuana use and include dry eyes, difficulty concentrating,
and sedation.3 Based on the evidence, the benefits of using marijuana
for pain outweigh the risks leading to the potential of using marijuana as an
analgesic. Other than the analgesic affect, marijuana has been proven to have a
positive effect on muscle spasms and spasticity. Multiple studies have shown
that marijuana with increased doses of THC can decrease the spasticity and
spasm involved in multiple sclerosis and potentially spinal cord injury.3 Other
potential problems that marijuana could help with include seizure disorders, Crohn’s
disease, asthma, glaucoma, and as a sleep aid. Before determining whether or
not marijuana is useful in treating other conditions, much more research needs
to be conducted as well as obtaining a better understanding of how marijuana pharmacologically
helps with these problems.

            Even though
marijuana has been shown to have positive effects on certain conditions stated
above, there is still a large amount of skepticism on the legalization of its
use due to the potential adverse effects. As with many other drugs, there is a risk
of addiction with marijuana use. Evidence has consistently shown that approximately
10 percent of individuals who use marijuana will become addicted.4 A
national survey on drug use found that over 2 million individuals met the DSM-IV
criteria for dependence associated with marijuana use.4 With the
percentage of addiction being only around 10 percent, another major
complication of use would be cannabis withdrawal syndrome. This consists of
many withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and craving that makes marijuana
cessation more difficult even without addiction.4 Also, studies have
shown that marijuana use at earlier ages is linked with an increased likelihood
for addiction later in life.4 Addiction, however, is not the only
adverse effect that has been associated with marijuana use.

            Marijuana
use has been shown to have an effect on brain development. The use of marijuana
before age 21 has been can potentially affect the reward system in the brain.4
With this reward system affected, it shows that marijuana can be a gateway drug.4
A study investigating adults who consistently smoked marijuana as an adolescent
showed that these individuals had impaired neural connectivity leading to
problems such as memory difficulty and learning ability.4 By knowing
that marijuana has the potential to affect development of the brain, it leads
to the thought of only allowing any marijuana use, medical or not, to be
reserved for those over the age of 21. Studies have also shown that marijuana
use has been directly linked to increased levels of anxiety and depression as
well as conditions such as schizophrenia.4 Although information is does
not show causality, it is believed that the earlier a person uses marijuana in
their lifetime, the higher likelihood of developing mental illness.4 Other
researched adverse effects of marijuana include declining school performance,
driving problems, and the risk of lung cancer. Again, more research needs to be
conducted to develop a strong argument for these potential adverse effects, but
the relationship between marijuana and these risks have been seen.4

                    After researching the positive and negative
aspects of marijuana use, a potential intervention to develop for marijuana use
is needed. Based on the information compiled, the best intervention and legislation
for the time being would be to legalize the medical use of marijuana nationwide
in certain circumstances in individuals over the age of 21. At this time, the
conditions that I would approve for marijuana use include spasticity,
neuropathic pain from any etiology, chronic pain, appetite stimulation,
cancer-related nausea and vomiting, seizure disorder, and muscle spasm. The reasoning
for marijuana legalization for only those specific conditions is due to previous
research that shows a probable likelihood of positive effect with marijuana
use. With the proven benefits of marijuana use being documented, I see no reason
as to why the general population cannot benefit from the medicinal qualities of
marijuana. With this being said, as more research is conducted and more
potential uses for marijuana are proven, then the addition of more conditions could
follow. Providers would need to undergo specialized training on the uses, side
effects, and pharmacologic profile of marijuana prior to being certified to
prescribe. A potential solution for this training would be to have classes with
continuing medical education (CME) credits to give providers an incentive for learning
more about marijuana. Patients will have to be older than 21 with this new legislation
in order to be a candidate for marijuana therapy. The reasoning for this is
because of the multiple potential complications from marijuana use at an early
age. Some of these complications include the potential as a gateway drug, effects
on memory and learning, and the link with mental illness and early marijuana
use. Since marijuana legalization is dealt with on state and national levels,
it would be a long process to create documentation that would appease enough
people for the potential legislation to be enacted.

            Marijuana
legalization has already been accomplished by multiple states, most notably
Colorado. With Colorado legalizing the use of marijuana for certain conditions
in 2000 and recreational use shortly after, the state has begun to look at the
implications of how this legalization has affected the population. Some of the main
concerns that have been noticed in Colorado include driving problems and misuse
of forms of marijuana such as “edibles.”5 The concern with the “edibles”
is due to recreational use which would still be illegal in the proposed
intervention. Since Colorado has over 17 years of experience in dealing with marijuana
legalization issues, I find it would be very beneficial to also enact some of
their policies to the proposed intervention. In addressing the driving concerns
associated with marijuana use, drivers would be required to have less than 5 nanograms
of THC per milliliter of blood in order to drive a car.5 Though data
on this is limited and more research needs to be conducted, this would be a
good starting place for legalization purposes. Also, Colorado did implement law
that requires marijuana users to be over 21 years of age to further discourage
adolescents from the complications associated with marijuana use at an early
age.5

            This proposed
intervention has many strengths and weaknesses. The main strength of this
intervention is that it would help individuals with the conditions stated above
lead a better life. For the people who do not respond to standard medical
treatment and cannot get relief from their symptoms, marijuana use could be
very beneficial in increasing their quality of life. A big strength of the proposed
intervention would be that it is a nation-wide law that does not vary
state-to-state. This standardization would lead to a decreased confusion a potentially
increased compliance due to an easier understanding of the law. Since marijuana
would not be recreationally sold legally, there could potentially be a decrease
in the amount of recreational marijuana users due to a decrease in availability
of purchasing opportunities. Patients would have to be over 21 to be eligible to
use marijuana medically which would allow for a greater time of brain
development for adolescents. Also under this policy, marijuana over time could be
viewed as more for medicinal uses than recreational uses. This may never be the
case, but with providers being required to attain some type of marijuana
education, they could better educate their patients on why marijuana should be
used solely for medical purposes. With these strengths being noted, there are
also many weaknesses to this proposal.

            The main
weakness of this proposed intervention would be that the legislation would have
to gain enough support nationwide and throughout the state and national government
levels to be passed from a bill to a law. It would require a large amount of time
and money to make it happen. If the support for the proposal was not present,
the whole idea would be useless as the current regulations on marijuana would remain.
Even though the proposal would make recreational marijuana use illegal, people
would still find ways to recreationally use marijuana. Throughout periods of
marijuana being illegal to use recreationally, people have still found ways to
consistently use marijuana. Since the FDA has only 2 approved uses of marijuana
like products, it would likely be very difficult and time-consuming to get the
approval for all of the proposed uses of marijuana. Without FDA approval, it
would technically be illegal to prescribe marijuana for any reason. Also, there
are many conditions that marijuana may potentially have a positive effect on,
but it costs time and money for this research to be conducted and published. So,
the funding aspect of this proposal could cause multiple problems throughout
the process. Since there are already states that have legalized the use of
recreational marijuana, there could be potential problems with businesses that
rely on the recreation use of the drug. The economic implications of this proposal
could leave certain marijuana dispensaries out of business and potentially leave
a negative impact on areas with a large number of recreational dispensaries in
the area.

            Overall, the
discussion on marijuana legalization is one that is still on-going and very
important because it could play a role in the health of many individuals
nation-wide. Much more research is needed to develop a better understanding as
to the benefits and weaknesses of marijuana use medically and recreationally. With
many states enacting their own policies on marijuana use, it may be necessary to
enact a nation-wide policy to standardize the use of the drug. The intervention
I have proposed could be a potential solution to the problems associated with
the legalization of medical marijuana but still has many weaknesses that need
to be addressed. With the many proven benefits and low side-effect profile of
marijuana use in individuals over the age of 21, it is imperative to reap the
benefits of marijuana use. By developing a proper plan backed up by proven
research, it is possible to harbor the medical benefits of marijuana and enhance
the quality of life of many people. 

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