The other day Dr. Oz hosted a debate on his show about Medical Marijuana and whether or not it should be legal for patients like talk show host Montel Williams who has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for over a decade. Also on his show was Dr. Andrea Barthwell and Dr. Donald Abrams who both supported two very different opinions on the subject of marijuana being used for medical purposes. The show had some heated moments from everyone
including the audience so today I would like to take the time to try to lay down some perspective. Now right off the bat, I want to make one thing clear: I am not supporting the use of Marijuana. I myself do not smoke it, I never have, and probably never will. I am trying to discuss this subject without condoning or condemning because I see this as a basic human rights issue and would like to support basic reason and logic rather then irrationality. That said, I have a side in this debate: I am all for the use of marijuana by those who have been evaluated by a doctor and who have reason to use the drug as a treatment rather then other “routine” prescription medications. I do not think that Marijuana should be legalized for recreational use nor do I support the recreational use of Marijuana in any way shape or form. There are so many different factors to look at from both sides of this debate so let’s take it one topic at a time.
Marijuana can be used to relieve various symptoms that people with chronic illnesses such as AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and HIV may experience. There are in fact many other prescription medications that doctors can prescribe to patients to help relieve the same symptoms how ever, every patient is different and every patient reacts to different medications differently. Just as one prescription drug may work for me and not someone else Marijuana may work for one patient and not another. In this article I will be referring to Marijuana as a medication and I will also be looking at this subject from the perspective of a Multiple Sclerosis patient as I myself do have MS but I will also do my best to talk about the subject without bias.
First lets start with the pro medical marijuana side. Patients may choose to try medical marijuana to relieve symptoms such as pain because other prescription medications either have not worked or cause more problems then they solve.
Again, this is on an individual basis and that is an argument as to why Marijuana should not be used medically as medications work on an individual basis. Vicodin does wonders for some people but after I had my Wisdom teeth removed, Vicodin did not do for me. So Right off the bat I have to say, if a medication does not work what do you do? You try something else. If doesn’t work what do you do? You once again try something else and if medical Marijuana happens to make your pain go away what’s the problem?
After watching this episode of the Dr. Oz show I came up with a list of all the main reasons people against medical Marijuana seemed to be against the medication.
So, again, I am on the “Pro Medical Marijuana” side of this debate so allow me to tackle each of these issues one at a time.
Dr. Andrea Barthwell claimed that she could not support the “smoking of a medication” while Dr. Donald Abrams supported the idea that inhaling medication is nothing new, for example, asthma patients inhale their medication. Dr. Andrea Barthwell fought back concluding that inhaling a substance and burning a substance while breathing in it’s smoke are two different things… Now forgive me if I come off a little sarcastic (for lack of better terms), but isn’t the definition of inhaling ? I don’t understand what the difference between breathing asthma medication in and breathing a medication’s smoke in is… The only thing I can think of is the fact that the asthma medication is “naturally” in a gas form but Marijuana just requires one additional step to get the medication into your body via inhalation. According to pro medical marijuana debaters on the show, Marijuana does not increase the risks of pulmonary disease or cancer so for the sake of this debate we are going to have to check this one off as “It just makes me feel uncomfortable” for the people against medical Marijuana.
“Now this one is a little more tricky because it is so sensitive to the “numbers” but I am still going to have to disagree here regardless of who the numbers support. The bottom line: If your concerned that your child is going to smoke Marijuana just because it has been made medically available to patients shouldn’t you be more worried as to they are getting this medical Marijuana and they are hanging out with the people who are helping them get it? Shouldn’t you be concerned as to your child might not have their head screwed on just right making them open to the idea of drugs in the first place? Fact of the matter is, is that drug usage has to do with the law, it has to do with a particular kind of person and their environment. Those kinds of people are going to experiment with what ever they have access to whether it’s industrial cleaners or methane from cow manure. What ever they can get a hold of will become their “gateway” drug to the more serious drugs because that’s the kind of person they are, the kind of person who to experiment. So legalizing the of Marijuana really does not make any difference in a child’s ability to gain access to the medication because they still have to find someone on the streets to get it from and they still have to be irresponsible enough to want to go out and find access to that medication. So as far as this one goes, I think it is up to parents to raise their kids in a way that will encourage them to have no desire to experiment with drugs, I believe that is the responsibility of a parent in the first place as children have much easier access to cigarets, alcohol, and cough medications.
Like any other sensitive issue being debated among our nation right now you have two groups of people: One group who has concrete reasoning and evidence to support their opinion and another who has nothing but irrational accusations to defend theirs. Now I’m not trying to point finger and say who is right or wrong here because this is America, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. All I am saying is that when it comes to making a decision you have to look at the pros and cons of each possible decision and decide “which decision will do more good then bad” and then you go with that decision because logically it makes sense. In this debate all I saw was a bunch of people desperately defending the idea that medical Marijuana is bad but not one single person could provide any concrete reason for it is bad… Every time a question was asked of someone who was against medical Marijuana they would defer from it and start ranting on some random statistical number that had nothing to do with the question but instead directly played favor to their “tunnel visioned” argument and/or opinion.
In my opinion, from a third person perspective, it seemed as though the people who were for the use of medical Marijuana had concrete reasons and facts to support why the use of medical Marijuana was beneficial but their opposers could never provide any reasoning for why they were wrong, they could only state that they were just simply wrong. So which way does the scale seem to be tipping? Well given that the pro medical Marijuana side of the debate had multiple, concrete reasons for how medical Marijuana can help better peopls lives and that the people against the use of medical Marijuana had no concrete reasons for how medical Marijuana would harm society I am going to have to go with the pro medical Marijuana side… Legaling the use of medical marijuana logically make more sense and is the more beneficial choice of the matter. It may not support everyone’s moral beliefs but that’s not what this is about, this is not about people feelings, it’s about people’s health.