Written by a contributor who goes by the name of Zephyr.
I feel the need to report here an egregious error on the part of the United States government concerning the scheduling of certain substances. As many of you probably know, marijuana is a Schedule I Drug. This means that it has been determined that:
1. The drug or other substance has high potential for abuse.
2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
3. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
I will address these issues individually, starting with potential for abuse. Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary tells us “Substance abuse is the overindulgence in and dependence of a drug or other chemical leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical and mental health, or the welfare of others.” So, from this definition, we can establish three things as requisite. Overindulgence, dependence, and detrimental effects to one’s self or others. The most important word there is “and.”
Overindulgence of marijuana is borderline impossible. It’s basically impossible to overdose on THC using marijuana. In theory, you could make a super-concentrated solution of THC, and overdose on that, but for all practical purposes, you can’t kill yourself with the drug. Now, other side effects may occur, depending on strain. These can include increased appetite, drymouth, and in extreme quantities, dizziness or nausea. These side effects are certainly no worse than anything found on ordinary household medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, pseudoephedrine, etc. So, we have a drug that, when taken heavily, can’t kill you, and doesn’t make you feel any worse than other common medications can.
So far, there has been no evidence to suggest that marijuana can be physically addictive. I will concede that psychological dependency is possible. This is also true of chocolate, lemonade, and sticky rice, to name a few. Basically, anything that can make you feel good can cause psychological dependency.
As for detrimental effects to one’s self or others, what few minor side effects occur have been mentioned previously, and dismissed as trivial. Of course, it can make you lazy, less productive, etc. This could in theory lead to a decline in grades, trouble keeping a job, etc. These may be legitimate concerns. I’ll give this requirement half a point.
So, we have established that even heavy use of Marijuana does not meet the qualifications for abuse, since it satisfies only about 0.5 out of 3 requirements. Requirement 1 for Schedule I is thusly unsatisfied. Let’s move on to point 2, accepted medical use. To date, 13 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. It has been prescribed by physicians for over 3,500 years now, dating back to ancient Egypt. It has established use in the treatment of over 250 conditions by the state of California. Recent studies have shown evidence that THC actually attacks and kills cancerous lung cells, while leaving healthy cells undamaged. It also has antibiotic properties shown to be much more effective than traditional medication in the treatment of Staph Infections. Obviously, point 2 is false.
The fact that the drug is actively being prescribed in 13 states speaks to the fact that it is clearly considered safe under medical supervision. The drug is clearly not scheduled correctly.
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