Suffering Patients Need Medical Marijuana Essay

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Suffering Patients Need Medical Marijuana

If a doctor told you that you could either go blind in three years from glaucoma or break the law by smoking pot, which would you choose? If marijuana could prolong your life by allowing you to continue cancer chemotherapy without the unending vomiting and nausea, would you consider it? If cannabis could stop epileptic seizures that had plagued you since childhood, would you use it? This medicine can benefit patients suffering from these and many other afflictions, but it is being withheld; they are being denied a right granted to all living things—that of self-preservation.

“It’s not about drugs, it’s about letting men fight,” George McMahon told me when I was fortunate enough to
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McMahon’s daughter, who suffers from the same condition as her father, cannot obtain the drug either. By 1994, 36 states had enacted legislation to make marijuana available for medical use, but federal laws still inhibit the states’ wills (Grinspoon 17).

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug—having a high potential for abuse, having no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and lacking accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision. Schedule I drugs are not available to patients even by prescription and are only occasionally granted to researchers under strict guidelines. The Food and Drug Administration has, at various times, based its refusal of a schedule change for marijuana on claims that it lacks the authority to regulate the practice of medicine and that there is an absence of data necessary for approval. Yet as Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young observed in his review of another drug, MDMA, on May 27, 1986:

The last [statement] flies directly in the face of the preceding statements of a complete reversal of position with no stated basis whatsoever. One can only conclude that, in the context of the battle over marihuana, FDA temporarily lost sight of its long-acknowledged lack of statutory authority to regulate the practice of medicine. Perhaps it failed to realize the
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