Essay on Medical Marijuana

Published: 2021/12/02
Number of words: 1205


Medical marijuana refers to the process in which the chemical part or plant part of marijuana is used to treat certain diseases and conditions. It is essential to note that medical marijuana can also be described as recreational marijuana; however, the objective in this case is not pleasure but rather, treatment and medical purposes. The marijuana plant is comprised of approximately 100 different chemicals known as cannabidiol (CBD) which are used in medicine (Wen et al., 2019). The delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol are the main ones used in medicine and treatment. Approximately two thirds of states in the America has legalized marijuana for medical treatment. This is coupled up with bills and policies under consideration supporting the legalization of this drug. This paper aims at analyzing the advantages and disadvantages associated with medical marijuana. Comprehensive details will be provided on the pros and cons of this medical treatment alongside explanations.

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The most prevalent use of medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control. Healthcare institutions are increasingly employing CBD in the management of mild pain conditions as this drug is not considered strong enough for severe pain such as broken bones or post-surgical pain. However, it has been proven effective in the management of painful conditions that plague most of the American population, especially, the older adults. Part of the allure is that it is inherently safer compared to opiates and can therefore be used to replace NSAIDs such as Aleve and Advil (Pacula & Smart, 2017). Additionally, marijuana is considered beneficial to opiates as it lacks the addictive nature; one important factor to understand is that only the useful part of the plant is extracted. Marijuana contains more than 100 chemicals known as cannabinoids. Each of these chemicals has a different effect on the body. For medical purposes, only the Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are used. Particularly, marijuana eases the pain of various sclerosis and nerve pain in general. This is an area where there are few other optional medical treatments. However, these treatments are highly sedating compared to marijuana. Patients claim that marijuana provides them with the ability easily and quickly resume their daily activities without the feeling of disengagement.

Marijuana is a good and effective muscle relaxant. Research has proven that the chemicals contained in marijuana lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. It is also proven effective when it comes to endometriosis and fibromyalgia (Pacula et al., 2015). According to the animal research conducted, marijuana calms muscle spasticity. Spasms originate from areas of the brain that are responsible for movement including sites that have an abundance of cannabinoid receptors. In an experiment conducted, researchers observed that rodents became more animated under the influence of small marijuana doses. However, they became less active when they were provided with larger doses consequently proving that marijuana affects muscle movement and control. Another advantage associated with marijuana is that it can be employed in the management of weight and nausea. This consequently influences the treatment of certain conditions such as glaucoma. One promising research area is that marijuana can be employed in treating veterans that have PTSD returning from combat. It is essential to note that veterans are the most susceptible groups of people when it comes to PTSD (Martins et al., 2016). As a result, research has been dedicated towards finding an effective method and strategy that can help in the management of PTSD. Recent studies conducted identify ways in which cannabinoids helps in the treatment of PTSD. First, cannabis is associated with the reduction of amygdala activity- the part of the brain that is responsible for fear and threat responses. Additionally, the plant’s cannabinoids play a significant role in reducing traumatic memories consequently helping the alleviation of depression and PTSD.

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While marijuana presents some promising benefits to the healthcare industry, it also introduces new risks. First, the frequent use of marijuana can impair a person’s short term memory. Current research and evidence shows that marijuana intoxication temporarily alters and distorts the short term processing memory. This is directly influenced by compounds in the drug that interfere with the neutral signaling when binding to brain receptors that are responsible for memory. Secondly, the frequent use of marijuana is impairs a person’s cognitive ability. Research shows that cannabis impairs the cognitive functions on different level. First, it influences the basic motor coordination and extends to executive function tasks such as the ability to make decisions, solve problems and control behavior and emotions. The use of medical marijuana is also associated with lung damage. Smoking anything be it tobacco or marijuana is associated with lung tissue damage. It also increases the risk of lung cancer; smoking marijuana leads to the consumption of ammonia which causes irritation and spasms in the small lung airways. This leads to coughing, difficulty in breathing and wheezing. An important factor to understand is that medical marijuana introduces the risk of illegal abuse. Marijuana was largely illegal in the United States due to its associated cons (Mark Anderson et al., 2015). However, with the discovery of the potential benefits it offers for the medical industry, many states have resulted to legalizing it. This introduces a loophole for drug dealers and drug addicts and consequently affects the community and their well-being negatively.


Under the federal law, marijuana is considered illegal and classified under the schedule 1 drug in the Controlled Substances Act. This classification deemed marijuana as a substance that has no medicinal value. However, with research and analysis, the advantages and benefits of medical marijuana have been identified which has consequently led to its legalization in different states in the United States of America. Medical marijuana has multiple benefits including pain management, treatment of cancerous cells, as a muscle relaxant and in the management of weight and nausea. On the downside, medical marijuana can cause lung cancer, affects an individual’s short term memory, cognition processes and consequently leads to the conducting of illegal activities in the community. In conclusion, an assessment needs to be conducted to identify whether the benefits in this case outweigh the disadvantages and which strategies need to be deployed to effectively manage the legalization of medical marijuana.


Mark Anderson, D., Hansen, B., & Rees, D. I. (2015). Medical marijuana laws and teen marijuana use. American Law and Economics Review17(2), 495-528.

Martins, S. S., Mauro, C. M., Santaella-Tenorio, J., Kim, J. H., Cerda, M., Keyes, K. M., & Wall, M. (2016). State-level medical marijuana laws, marijuana use and perceived availability of marijuana among the general US population. Drug and alcohol dependence169, 26-32.

Pacula, R. L., & Smart, R. (2017). Medical marijuana and marijuana legalization. Annual review of clinical psychology13, 397-419.

Pacula, R. L., Powell, D., Heaton, P., & Sevigny, E. L. (2015). Assessing the effects of medical marijuana laws on marijuana use: the devil is in the details. Journal of policy analysis and management34(1), 7-31.

Wen, H., Hockenberry, J. M., & Druss, B. G. (2019). The effect of medical marijuana laws on marijuana-related attitude and perception among US adolescents and young adults. Prevention science20(2), 215-223.

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