Disclaimer: opinions are only those of the author, they do not reflect the ideas or opinions of this blank life.
It is finally time for us to get political. I have always been a firm believer that there are two sides to every story, just like there are always two sides to every political issue. Holding a degree in political science may make me qualified enough to talk about politics. And for my first political piece I decided to tackle the controversial topic regarding legalizing medicinal marijuana.
According to a study published in ScienceDirect, marijuana is the most frequently used illegal substance in the United States. In 1970 the US Congress deemed it a Schedule I substance, meaning it was illegal and had no medical value. Meanwhile, California in 1995 became the first of 16 states to date to legalize its medical use, despite the federal ban. And the controversy escalated.
From cancer to glaucoma, marijuana has been shown to help patients suffering with a multitude of illnesses. Cancer patients that have to go through chemotherapy often find themselves extremely nauseous due to the chemotherapy. Studies have been conducted that evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids are effective for the relief of nausea/vomitting and certain types of pain as well as for the stimulation of appetite.
The most cited condition that I found during my research of legalizing marijuana is glaucoma. With more than 200,000 cases a year in the United States alone, glaucoma affects many people, often times without them even knowing. Some people suffering from glaucoma don’t show any symptoms. What’s worse is that glaucoma can’t be cured, but treatment may help. Glaucoma occurs when there is damage to the optic nerve which can result in vision loss and blindness. When glaucoma goes untreated people begin losing their peripheral vision. Overtime this loss in vision decreases in their central vision until no vision remains. Think about how much you actually use your eyes? It’s literally how you are reading this post right now. Imagine not being able to do that all of a sudden? That’s what glaucoma is. It’s a disease that strips you of one of your five senses.
While medication in the form of eye drops is typically prescribed to patients suffering from glaucoma, tests have shown that cannabis is also very effective at reducing the pressure in the eye that leads to damage in the eye, eventually resulting in blindness. The THC present in medicinal marijuana has an advantage over pharmaceuticals as the THC is superior to synthetic, single-ingredient medications. There are many pharmaceutical options for the treatment of glaucoma, but they may lose effectiveness over time while cannabis has a consistent effect.
Cannabis is available in various forms. You can inhale it by smoking, the most frequent way to use marijuana. However, the availability of edibles has increased especially in places where marijuana is legal. Right now, hemp is the most versatile and most readily available form of the cannabis plant that is used. From hemp oil, hemp seeds, and hemp fiber, health food stores around the country are stocked with a form of the cannabis plant without anyone batting an eye. So why hasn’t medicinal marijuana been legalized?
Many studies have shown that there are other more effective ways of treating various illnesses that don’t involve the cannibis plant. In order to maintain the therapeutic effect of cannabis for many illnesses, a patient must smoke frequently which may have long term effects on the lungs. There are potential side effects to smoking marijuana including an increased heart rate. Additionally, the ability of marijuana or THC to protect the optic nerve has not been studied to date.
To legalize or not to legalize
Obviously more research still needs to be done in this area. However, as the daughter of a glaucoma sufferer, I simply can’t help but want all the options possible for the person I love so dearly to try. Imagine going to the eye doctor and having them spray air in your eye, then applying various drops into your eye making everything blurry. Eyes are so sensitive as it is. Eyes are precious when you think about it. They allow us to see beauty in nature, read, watch tv, look people in their eyes when they say ‘I love you’. Just take a moment to think about everything your eyes truly do for you. Now imagine that you were told that it would all be gone soon. You would do anything you could to keep your eyes working for as long as you could. And that’s exactly what medical marijuana allows patients to do. It staves off complete vision loss for a little more, giving glaucoma sufferers a little more time to see this beautiful world we live in.
Look, I’m not encouraging drug use. I am the last person to reach for the Advil when I get a headache and refuse to take cold medicine unless I have a fever, and even then I try to find other methods of curing my ailment. However, when it comes to a disease that is incurable, it leads me to want to try any and all methods to limit the damage that has already been done. The only way to have marijuana be a viable option would be to legalize it. By legalizing medicinal marijuana we would also be allowing more studies to be conducted and could gain a better scientific analysis of the effectiveness of cannabis on glaucoma sufferers.
The only way to legalize marijuana is through the legislative process. We can write to our state senators and encourage them to push for legalization. That’s the first step in the convoluted legislative process. If you also see the benefits in legalizing medicinal marijuana I encourage you all to reach out to your state senators and local representatives and encourage change.
If you only take one thing away from reading this I hope that you take away a knowledge of the benefits of medical marijuana. This post may have focused on glaucoma but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t various other illnesses that could truly benefit from the legalization of marijuana.
Now, please share your opinions with me. How did you all like a political post? I love hearing from all of you. The feedback I get is greatly appreciated. If you or someone you know has suffered from an illness and seen the benefits or consequences of medicinal marijuana please let me know. You can choose to be anonymous if you’d like. And of course if you’d like, let us continue this conversation in the comments below.
Thank you all for reading and see you all next week.