21 countries in the world have legalized marijuana for at least medical use, America should the 22nd. There are many positives to the legalization of marijuana nationally. Marijuana should be legalized nationally to help boost the economy, benefit medical patients, and match other legalized substances.
Marijuana sales have helped increase the economy in the states where it is legal. For instance, nine states that have legalized recreational marijuana use have collected over $1.6 billion in marijuana sales (Hughes). With that money, those states were able to repair roads and help the community. In Denver, Colorado $12.8 million of marijuana sales were dedicated towards funding for numerous youth diversion programs, substance prevention programs and activities for the youth like the first prevention marijuana game show and educational card games (Channel 7 Denver News). Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado wrote about marijuana sales over years. In 2014, Colorado sold $683,523,739 and that number jumps to over $1.5 billion dollars last year. The marijuana industry is very progressive and isn’t going anywhere. Trevor Hughes wrote in “Industry Growing like Weeds,” that “Medical and recreational cannabis sales will hit $11.7 billion this year, predicts cannabis analytics firm New Frontier Data, increase by 25% in 2019 and hit $25 billion in seven years.” Marijuana sales will continue to go up as more states begin to legalize recreational use.
Marijuana has improved the medical industry as well. The Food and Drug Administration or FDA has approved 3 cannabinoids; Epidiolex, Dronabinol and Nabilone. Cannabinoids or CBDs are chemical compounds, some naturally occur in the resin (residue from burning marijuana) of marijuana. Marijuana plants contain over 100 CBDs. Epidiolex is from the marijuana plant and has been used as a treatment for seizures that come with two different forms of epilepsy. The cannabinoid Dronabinol contains THC and Nabilone contains a synthetic substance with similar properties. Dronabinol is used to treat some side effects of chemotherapy and appetite loss with patients that suffer from AIDS. Nabilone has also been used to treat side effects like nausea from chemotherapy (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health). CBDs are used for medicinal purposes because it has very little to no intoxicating properties. Basically, CBDs will not get you high as recreational forms do. Studies have proven that these CBDs can help patients. In a study done by the FDA 454 patients with cancer were given a capsule called Marinol. Marinol is a capsule with the active ingredient Dronabinol one of many CBDs. The FDA came to the conclusion that Marinol was able to completely stop nausea in 33-36% of patients and reduced nausea and other symptoms from 31-31% of patients (Steffens). CBDs have been proven to help patients with all sorts of things. Drugabuse.gov also writes, “THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness), and muscle control problems.’ THC especially has helped with all sorts of symptoms that we once believed were impossible. With the improved technology of the medical experts have begun to realize the great things CBDs can do.
Marijuana matches and surpasses other legal substances in certain aspects. An estimate from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or NIAAA states that 88,000 will die from alcohol-related deaths each year, and that number is climbing. According to Drugabuse.gov, there are no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana or a marijuana overdose. Marijuana is already doing better in that category. Long-term alcohol use can lead to breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, or colon cancer. Alcohol use can also lead to other health complications like dementia, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, liver disease and digestive problems (cdc.gov). Even though alcohol is legal, using it for a long amount of time can lead to many problems. The long term effects of marijuana may include breathing problems, increased heart rate up to three hours after smoking, worse symptoms for schizophrenia and risk of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is, “…regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, sometimes requiring emergency medical attention.’ Drugabuse.org wrote in an article about the long term effects of marijuana. When you compare the long term effects of marijuana and alcohol there is a huge difference and proves why marijuana should be legalized nationally. Alcohol and marijuana are not the only substances with huge differences. Prescription Opioids have worse consequences than marijuana. Prescription Opioids are highly addictive and “overdoses and death are common.” says Drugabuse.org. Opioids are often used to get high instead of their true purpose. An estimated 22,000 die from opioid misuse each year, that’s huge compared to an estimated 0 marijuana only related deaths per year.
Although some might say marijuana is a gateway drug that is not necessarily true. Drugabuse.org writes, “…the majority of people who use marijuana don’t go on to use other ‘harder’ drugs.’ Drugabuse.org also suggests that Alcohol and nicotine are gateway drugs and that sometimes when individuals experience what they do especially at a young age they chase a better feeling. Most researchers find the same conclusion that it has to do with other factors also. Adi Jaffe with psychology today wrote, “… the causal link between cannabis and ‘harder’ illicit drug use is still unclear and relies on many other factors such as life experiences, parental supervision, and the social environment and laws.’ No studies have shown a clear link that marijuana alone is a gateway drug with no other factors. In fact, 95% of the heavy marijuana smokers had no problems with other harder drugs like cocaine or heroin.
Scientists have proven how safe marijuana can be when used properly. Marijuana is clearly less harmful then its made out to be. It’s very beneficial economically, and medically and has obvious differences compared to other legal substances. If 85% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana you should too.
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