By Chris Barts
Medicines are an important part of our civilization, economy, and well-being. We have more medicines now than we have ever had, and they have all been proven safe in rigorous testing procedures. Even so, we are still on the lookout for any new chemicals that have medicinal value. From the rain forests to our own backyards, plants, animals, and other things are being analyzed with a sharp eye and plenty of experience. That kind of rigor separates true science from mistakes, errors, and outright lies.
Falling into the second category is the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use. Some people, guided by motives of their own, would like to see this dangerous drug legalized throughout the nation, and want to begin by making it out to look like a medicine. They can ring off a list of supposed "benefits" this noxious drug has had on patients suffering from ailments such as cancer and AIDS. While there will always be room for treatments for these diseases until cures are found, selling a toxic substance as a medicine will only worsen the problem.
One of the biggest arguments against medical marijuana is the fact that we don't drink potions or chew roots in this country. We take pills of known strength and effect, making things much safer under all conditions. Those pills have to undergo testing to earn FDA approval, an essential approval if it is to be legally sold and used in this country. Marijuana is smoked, and smoking by definition makes it harmful to one's health, besides the fact that the dosage is not known at the time of consumption.
Knowing the dosage at the time of consumption is essential. Medicines such as aspirin, digitalis, and TAXOL, from the bark of the willow tree, the foxglove plant, and the ewe tree, respectively, are all purified from a usable natural state. This is done to standardize dosage, regulate which chemicals get ingested, and eliminate the dangers involved when a natural product decays. Marijuana is not purified in any way, making it dangerous in a very real way, not to mention addictive.
If, and only if, there are some respectable studies done that prove marijuana an effective drug, then we would take a second look at it, but not in its current form. We would purify out the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana, and test valid drugs based around that. Incidentally, THC-based suppositories have proven effective in appetite stimulation in patients not getting enough to eat. Using a pill as a part of a valid treatment is a long way from smoking a piece of weed.
In conclusion, we have gone beyond the dangerous practices of the days before the modern age. We no longer have to chew roots or brew teas to get a medicine of unknown strength and half-known effect. This country has laws against harmful drugs like marijuana for a reason. Those drugs harm people, both directly and indirectly.