With the legalization of medical marijuana in Washington and Colorado and former Mexican President’s Vicente Fox’s stance for the US to legalize all drugs at his recent visit to Midland College, the old debate has resurfaced about the medical value of marijuana.
Medicinal marijuana has been linked to cancer, HIV, and glaucoma patients as it has been reported to relieve pain, reduce pressure and temperature, as well as comfort nausea.
David Edens, MC psychology and sociology professor, said that many of those who use medicinal marijuana report that they have no problem with the drug and enjoy it.
While marijuana may cause disabilities later in life, the short-term benefits outweigh the long term deficits.
“If you’re 60 years old using it for your glaucoma, then you’re not really worried about a whole lot of brain damage 40 years later. Forty years after 60 is 100, and you’re going to have a lot of brain issues anyway at 100,” Edens said.
The problem seen is with teenagers and young adults who abuse the “chronic pain” excuse to obtain marijuana for recreational use.
A recent study conducted by a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder found thatone to three percent of medicinal marijuana users in Colorado use marijuana for cancer and HIV, while 94 percent use medicinal marijuana for that “chronic pain.”
Because no doctor is able to feel his or her patients’ pain, many will prescribe the marijuana if a patient feels it will help.
Scientifically it is hard to tell whether or not marijuana does have any pain reduction qualities as pain is so relative to the individual. Some doctors will even argue that marijuana doesn’t do anything, Edens said.
Another concern is whether or not medicinal marijuana will be abused. Pain medicines are already the most abused legal drugs.
The effect of the pain reduction quality is also relative. Many times it is up to the consumer’s expectations, Edens said. There’s a certain placebo effect to it as sometimes people have smoked such things as oregano and reported that it has helped with pain and is calming.
Will legalizing medical marijuana make the drug more available to teenagers for recreational use? It’s almost as if it is as easy as going to the 7-Eleven to get it, Edens said.
However, teenagers should exercise caution because marijuana’s negative effects on young brains has been found, according to a recent study by The Journal of Neuroscience.
This study has shown significant abnormalities in the left nucleus accumbens and the left amygdala.
These parts of the brain affect processing memory, emotional reactions, and even the assessment of negative consequences.
The abnormalities have been found in young adults who smoke as little as once per week.
A study has also shown that teenagers who smoke recreationally are seven times more likely to commit suicide, Edens said.
It’s hard to say if medicinal marijuana will be legalized in Texas, said MC professor Frank DelaO. However it seems to no longer be a matter of if but when.
As younger generations are stepping up into professional positions, the attitude toward legalizing marijuana is different.
Younger generations have reacted with a backlash in spite of the federal government’s standing decision that marijuana is illegal.
If a person was to get caught with marijuana on federal land, or was caught by federal officers, the federal government can prosecute that person to the extent of their power. D.C. does not condone marijuana, DelaO said.
The Texas economy is also doing really well currently.
There will be no push for the legalization of marijuana unless the economy is struggling, DelaO said.
Texas’ older population is also more religious and conservative, which shows that the state most likely will not see marijuana legalized in Texas any time soon.