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An Analysis of Marijuana Legalization - Essay Example

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One of the aspects of current drug policy that continues to provide tension and a level of debate is why certain drugs, such as nicotine, are allowed to be produced and consumed within the purview of government regulation whereas other drugs are completely, entirely outlawed by the federal government…
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An Analysis of Marijuana Legalization
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Download file to see previous pages One might posit that the reason for such a differential has to do with the overall level of harm differential that exists between these two drugs; however, when one considers the fact that both drugs are ultimately damaging to one’s health – if inhaled – the level of differential between them, from a quality of health standpoint, is negligible. Within such an understanding, the following analysis will seek to compare and contrast the objective and subjective effects of both nicotine and marijuana. Moreover, an analysis of the different government policies and regulations that constrain their usage will be analyzed alongside a discussion of the health risks that utilizing these substances necessarily portend. It is the hope of this author that such an analysis will land the reader to have a more actionable and definitive understanding of current drug policy had whether or not it represents an effective and ethical response to issues of public health are evidenced within current society (Hendricks et al., 2012). Although it is not the place of this brief analysis to advocate a safe entirely new approach to drug policy within the United States, it is the hope of this research that a greater level of inference with regards to the appropriate response framework that government represents will be able to be inferred.
A great deal of debate has centered on the use of marijuana as a means of treating a variety of medical conditions; most notably with regards to terminally ill patients that are working to deal with a host of pain management problems. However, the overall legitimacy of marijuana as both a drug and a treatment plan is an issue that is slightly more nuanced than either side of the debate would likely let on. The fact of the matter is that marijuana, when used to treat illness, has like any medical drug a series of pros and cons; i.e. benefits and side effects. Although marijuana is not unique in that its implementation has both a series of side effects and benefits, this analysis will attempt to categorize this, discuss their nature, and draw inference as to the overall balance sheet with regards to whether medical marijuana is worthy of continuing to be used as a drug due to the preponderance of its inherent benefits or should be discontinued as a drug/treatment as a function of the risk it poses to the individual. With respect to some of the most important side effects that have been medically demonstrable, one has to note that the smoking of any substance provides a greatly increased risk of developing a host of cancers. These include but are in no way limited to the following: lip cancer, tongue cancer, cheek cancer, esophageal cancer, and lung cancer but to name a few (Cohen 655). Similarly, it has been proven that smoking marijuana also demonstrably weakens the body’s immune system. This is of vital importance to many individuals who will be taking it to assist in providing them with a means to survive a given illness or extreme situation that requires such a method. In this way, the individual is likely to prolong the amount of time that they are suffering from an illness due to the fact that the prolonged use of marijuana has a negative effect on the total white blood cell count and the body’s inherent ability to fight off infection. In addition to the increased risk of a litany of cancers, the user is also at a highly increased risk of respiratory illness due to the fact that inhaling the smoke from even 1 joint per day can noticeably affect the bronchial linings in the air way which serve to protect the individual from a host of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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