I decided upon the question "Should Marijuana be Medicine?" because I wanted to confirm my strong beliefs of an anti-drug policy, but after research, my attitude towards medical marijuana changed because it seems the benefits far out-weigh the risks.

Of the 60 some chemicals unique to the marijuana plant, the main psychoactive ingredient and the one for exploring the physiological as well as the psychological role in the anandamide system is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or more commonly known as THC. The anandamide system is concerned with mood, memory and cognition, perception, movement, coordination, sleep, thermoregulation, appetite, and immune response (a). Cannabis is the term used to describe the dried hemp spike. When burned and inhaled, the cannabis receptors bond to the macrophages in the brain and spine, which control the anandamide system. Macrophages are chemicals in the body, which attack the infected areas in the body and help take away the waste from an injury (a). THC acts as a catalyst in this process. It speeds up the macrophages’ disposal of the waste and is why therapeutic relief comes as such a rapid onset to the user (b). Even though the THC bonds with the processes going on inside the brain, there are few THC receptors in the part of the brain that controls the basic life functions therefore making it impossible for cannabis intoxication to lead to death (c). There are strong links to cannabis relieving aches and pains, numbing the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, improving sleep, reducing anxiety, and alleviating the vomiting, anorexia, and depression associated with certain AIDS related disorders, specifically AIDS wasting syndrome(c). Some studies have also shown that cannabis can relieve muscle spasms especially in multiple sclerosis patients’ (b). "With smoked marijuana, patients get immediate relief, whereas with the oral drug they get a delayed, big rush of unpleasantness. " Studies on animals have shown it could also quite possibly be an anticonvulsant. Doctors have been able to make a synthetic delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, which they call Nabilone, that helps relieve nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy and may pose as the strongest evidence that cannabinoids do work (a). It is a non-psychotropic drug and therefore greater accepted. Researchers have also developed a delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, which they call dronabinol (a). This oral drug has proven itself in stimulating the appetite of AIDS patients and has won approval from the American Food and Drug Association; one of only three drugs approved for this treatment. This drug has also been found to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties along with possible anxiolytic , hypnotic, and antidepressant properties, which gives this drug a profile unique to other man made drugs, and is compelling enough for further studies (a).

The adverse effects have also been studied and there have been no deaths due to cannabis toxicity alone. Some of the most common side effects include sedation, euphoria, anxiety, and paranoia, dry mouth, blurred vision, and incoordination. Dependence can occur but withdrawal symptoms are mild. The smoke is toxic and may increase the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease (a).

When I began this study, I was greatly opposed to marijuana for whatever reason it was being used, but now that I have found more information on the subject, my opinion has definitely swayed. I have attained a greater understanding for how this drug interacts with the body and why it has the effects on pain that it does. I think that if I were to compile more research, especially now that medical marijuana is actually a respected topic and no longer a joke, I think that I would find even more reasons as to why this drug should be seriously considered for therapeutic reasons.

One of the reasons that this drug is so frowned upon is that society has taken for granted and abused a very unique and possibly beneficial drug therefore almost permanently attaching a bad name and delaying the necessary research which could be putting millions to ease.
(a) British medical journal

Cannabis as a medicine

The major point that this article brought out was that delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana more commonly known as THC, does ease a wide variety of various symptoms from aches and pains to AIDS related disorders. They described how patients told their doctors how effective cannabis is in relieving aches and pains, numbing