Pot should be legal, but not for the reasons advocates argue
Certainly, the intake of THC, the narcotic substance within cannabis, has medical benefits. But so do the intake of nicotine and alcohol. Hell, I’m pretty sure that if you looked hard enough, you could find an argument for the medical benefits of Windex. After all, ammonia does kill bacteria.
Marijuana is a recreational, addictive, brain chemistry-altering substance. It has some medical benefits, which are often wielded as a panacea in the fight to legalize. These benefits include reducing nausea and stimulating hunger in AIDS patients, and lowered interocular pressure in glaucoma patients. The medical profession recognizes possible benefits of medical marijuana for aiding PMS, unintentional weight loss, insomnia, lack of appetite and chronic spasms and pain. Research suggests that cannabis could also have applications in other disorders, such as fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis.
But how many stoners do you know with these issues? I’ll wager you can count the number on one hand. . I personally know all of three people with medical issues that are treatable with cannibinoids. That includes two livers, which cannot handle medications due to heavy chemical use in their pasts. Other medical issues, which benefit from cannabis, range from obscure, such as colorectal cancer, to the conveniently acquirable, such as alcohol abuse. What’s more, cannabis does not cure these disorders or diseases.
Giving an AIDS patient a joint does not have them singing in the choir the next day. It makes them able to eat. Many of these effects could be found just as easily, and more cheaply, in commonly available medicine. Cannabis may make your headache go away, but so does Tylenol.
I am not against the legalization of marijuana. Rather, I think it should be legalized and taxed. I also believe that the medical marijuana argument is a non sequitur. Morphine treats chronic pain, but that doesn’t make it legal; it makes it a controlled medical substance. People who fight for medical marijuana don’t want it to be a controlled medical substance as it is today (even without California’s legalization of it for medical necessities). Marijuana advocates want the substance to be regulated and purchasable, like cigarettes and alcohol, and legal for adults to partake. They try to reframe the argument as one about medicine, but it really is not. It is a recreational substance, like nicotine or alcohol, which happens to alter brain chemistry in ways that can be beneficial aside from their high.
Fighting for the public to change their demonizing view of marijuana to one of a legitimate drug is too much. The fight needs to be for acceptance as a harmless recreational substance, less offensive than alcohol, less harmful — but more impairing — than nicotine.