Article Analysis on Marijuana

A young woman has HIV. In fact, she has had HIV for 7 years. She contracted it from her boyfriend after her first sexual experience. Unfortunately, she has taken a turn for the worse. Her body is now deteriorating. She is going through cachexia, what one would refer to as HIV wasting syndrome. Cachexia defined, is the physical wasting and malnutrition of the body that is associated with chronic disease. HIV wasting syndrome causes infected people to lose weight and to suffer from damaging diarrhea, among other things. She is always in an extensive amount of pain, affecting numerous parts of her body.

The physicians that she visits have tried countless treatments to alleviate her suffering; however, nothing seems to work. There is an experimental drug, on the other hand, whose efficacy to alleviate HIV wasting symptoms is being tested now. The drug that could help ease this young woman’s pain and suffering is cannabis or, in other words, marijuana. Marijuana, in most states, is said to have no medical benefits. Therefore, it is considered a schedule 1 controlled drug by the national government. This means that marijuana cannot be used as treatment for any medical conditions or ailments.

The young girl now faces the grim reality that something out there may be able to lessen her suffering, but because of governmentally mandated laws, she will not be able to obtain it lawfully. Many American citizens face this scenario each year. Whether marijuana is illegal or not is not up for debate in this essay. What is up for discussion is if marijuana can be used as an effective drug to provide medically defined sick individuals with relief from what ails them. As afore mentioned, this essay is to discuss the legalization or continued illegalization of medical marijuana for the sake of the many citizens in poor health.

Evans wrote a letter to the Time magazine editor entitled, “Medical Marijuana: an oxymoron”. David G. Evans argues that the national government should continue the prohibition of Medical Marijuana. His most justified argument is the fact that the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve medical marijuana for medical use (Evans par. 2). On the other hand, Kevin O’Brien and Peter A. Clark argue for the legalization of medical marijuana in needed cases. They claim that in some instances medical marijuana is the only form of medicine that is effective. They both collaborated to write the case study “Mothers and Son: the case of Medical Marijuana”. A third article will be used to discredit or reinforce each article’s claims in a judicious indiscriminate manner. The third article is a research paper written by Tia Taylor from the American College of Physicians. The article is regarding medical marijuana. This in-depth researched paper has highly researched and supported arguments. The research paper’s goal is to clarify the Physicians’ intentions for medical marijuana and to argue reasons how medical marijuana could be an asset to the medical field. The two articles are well written as well as principally factual.

Notwithstanding, one article is more persuasive and more factually based then the other. The case study “Mother and son: the case of medical marijuana” has slightly more reasonable claims, therefore it would seem to have the better argument. In an attempt to be unbiased, a comprehensive analysis of both articles is needed. This will be done in a way that discusses each author’s claims and some of their intrinsic worth. The title of the first article is “Medical Marijuana: an oxymoron. ” This article is a letter to the editor printed in Time Magazine and written by David G. Evans.

Evans is the executive director of the Drug-Free Schools Coalition, a program that teaches children about the dangers of using drugs. His job qualifications entail knowing information about marijuana and other harmful drugs. As a result, he is well informed about issues of drugs as well as being a stern opponent of anything pro-drug. He makes a great deal of relevant claims. One such claim is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve smoked marijuana as medicine (Evans par. 2). This is because smoked marijuana has yet to meet the clinical trial standards for public use.

Many organizations reject marijuana because smoked marijuana is “crude” or ineffective (Evans par. 4). Marijuana is not a very good choice of medicine when compared to other safer and effective drugs. Evans claims that smoking is not the most effective way to deliver the drug to the body (Evans par. 5). In addition to not being able to calculate the dosage of marijuana effectively, there are harmful side effects that the use of marijuana can create. He claims that marijuana use increases the chances of addiction and drug use among children (Evans par. 7).

He also claims that marijuana’s continued mainstreaming is obstructing children’s view of it as a dangerous drug. He goes on to say that, the states with pro-medical marijuana “initiatives” have the highest amount of drug addictions (Evans par. 7). He goes on to end by saying that he is a cancer survivor and he knows how it feels to have feelings of hopelessness (Evans par. 9). He says that he is not against people who actually need medical marijuana. He is in opposition to the people who will manipulate the system to support their drug habits (Evans par. 8).

The following article is entitled “Mother and son: the case of medical marijuana” from The Hastings Center Report. This second article is a case study done by Kevin 0’Brien and Peter A. Clark. The subject of the case study is a family, a mother and her seven-year-old son JJ. JJ is hyperactive and aggressive; in fact, he has been like this for most of his life (Clark, O’Brien par 1). He has seen numerous physicians as well as had numerous medicines prescribed to help treat his condition (Clark, O’Brien 2). Nonetheless, nothing seems to work very effectively.

JJ’s mother began trying to find alternatives that could possibly help her son. In 2001, she discovered that marijuana could possibly help her son (Clark, O’Brian par. 3). With counsel from her son’s physician, she began JJ on a daily regimen of marijuana. Thus far, JJ’s mother has seen improvement in her son’s condition after treating him with medical marijuana. Medical marijuana has helped this young child function. Kevin O’Brien and Peter A. Clark have written their opinions in this case study; however, this essay will only focus on Peter A. Clark’s opinion for the sake of time.

Peter A. Clark is an associate professor of health administration and theology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is also the bioethicist for Mercer Health System in Philadelphia. He supports the use of medical marijuana. He reinforces his opinion by using information from eleven scientists commissioned by the president of the United States and appointed by the Institute of Medicine to study marijuana in 1999 (Clark, O’Brian par. 14). The reports say that the benefits of the medical use of marijuana are limited because of the adverse affect of the smoke.

They still recommended the use of it if no other options were effective. They also found that administering the drug to sick people does not influence the drug use of the general public. According to the study, marijuana is not a gateway drug and the fact that the government still has not reclassified marijuana as a schedule 2 drug is jeopardizing the health and well-being of many Americans (Clark, O’Brian par. 14). He says that we are now faced with two good and bad consequences: marijuana can sometimes work better than some conventional methods and marijuana has adverse long-term effects that can lead to addiction (Clark, O’ Brian par. 5). He also talks about the fact that Marinol is an alternative to marijuana; however, it has its shortcomings (Clark, O’Brien par. 17). Marinol is a synthetic form of marijuana. Although it negates the negative effects of marijuana, Marinol is very expensive: $500 dollars for 100 ten-milligram capsules. It is reported by patients that Marinol is very strong but weakens severely after continued use. He also says that studies show that marijuana works more effectively than Marinol. That is why marijuana is a better choice of drug than Marinol both costliness and effectiveness (Clark, O’Brian par. 17).

He believes that the only main concerns about medical marijuana are the chances of long-term complications and the fact that the dosage, sometime in the future, will have to be increased (Clark, O’Brien par. 18). He ends by saying that it is unacceptable for physicians to refuse to offer medicinal marijuana to patients. Some patients are suffering badly and traditional treatments are not working for them (Clark, O’Brien par. 18). The doctor is obligated to help the patient by any means necessary. Both of the articles talk about whether or not smoked marijuana is an effective way to administer cannabis to a patient.

I believe that this argument is a very important argument in order to show which author supports their argument with strong, factual evidence. However, to do this effectively another more proven source must be introduced. The third article is a paper written by Tia Taylor from the American College of Physicians titled “Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana”. This article is more scientifically based then the other two. The article is a position paper showing the American College of Physicians’ reasons why they believe the government should support the scientific study of medical marijuana.

The position paper has very well written arguments; however, to reach a well thought out conclusion for this essay I will only use one authoritative argument. In “Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana”, one of the arguments that Tia Taylor writes about is the difference between smoke marijuana and an orally administered form of marijuana (American College Par. 22). She says that when first administered, oral THC is much slower reacting than its counterpart is. According to the article, oral THC also produces adverse symptoms that last more extensively han those created from smoking marijuana do (American College Par. 22). The article says that smoked THC imbibes quickly through the bloodstream; therefore, the effects are felt quicker than orally administered THC. She ends by saying that in some situation smoked marijuana can be a more appropriate approach than the oral form of THC. At this moment, enough is known on the subject of oral THC opposed to smoke THC to make an informed decision on which author comprehensively argued his position. In his article, “Medical marijuana: an oxymoron”, David G. Evans says that smoked marijuana is an ineffective way to issue THC (Evans par. ). He also says that it is impossible to calculate the medical marijuana dosage this way. He finishes by discussing the adverse effect on health of marijuana. Although Kevin O’Brien does not talk about the efficacy of smoked marijuana, he does discuss the dosage problem of marijuana. He says that marijuana is a drug and since it is self-medicated, it is supposed to be cautiously used and not abused (O’Brien Par. 10). He also talks about the fact that marijuana is, in the long-term, harmful. However, sometimes there are no other options. Although both authors did not complete a very effective argument, David G.

Evans’ argument is more plausible. His argument, in some ways, follows the analytical standard set. He talks more about facts than Kevin O’Brien, who uses more of an emotionally backed argument. The articles from Kevin O’Brien and David G. Evans have valid arguments. This part of the essay will examine the approach that each author took to discuss his respective opinion. Kevin O’Brien’s argument is less based on facts and more based upon emotion. He argues more about the fact that we should be sympathetic for those who need medical marijuana (O’Brien Par. 6).

He loses a great deal of credibility relaying so heavily on emotion. David G. Evans bases his arguments on facts. He makes a considerable effort to leave emotion out of his article. He is a cancer survivor and he could have written regarding his own personal battle with a debilitating disease. However, he decided to make a more factual based argument. So therefore, in my opinion, David G. Evans article is more effective at getting his point across. Although this essay is about other authors’ opinion on a certain subject, this subject is very significant today.

The national government is in dispute over the issue of medical marijuana, and not just medical marijuana; the government is debating whether to legalize marijuana completely. There are issues with medical marijuana that must be resolved before the government downgrades it to a schedule 2 drug. In addition, both authors recognized these issues and discussed them eloquently even though they had their own individual biases. The intent of this article is not to show that one of the authors was right and one was wrong, but just to show which author constructed a better argument.

What needs to be taken away from this essay is the fact that the government needs to address the issue of medical marijuana straight out.

Works Cited

  1. “American College of Physicians. ” Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 2008: Position Paper.
  2. Evans, David G. “Medical marijuana: an oxymoron? ” Skin & Allergy News 36. 9 (2005): 14+. Academic OneFile. Web. 16 Nov. 2009. .
  3. Evans, David G. “Medical marijuana: an oxymoron? ” Skin & Allergy News 36. 9 (2005): 14+. Academic OneFile. Web. 16 Nov. 2009. .

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