The Yin and Yang is the Chinese’s bird’s eye view on how opposing forces in nature essentially give rise to each other. In keeping the balance between good and evil, the yin and yang symbol represents a basic understanding that nothing is entirely good or entirely evil. In each side of the story, there exists both, there always is, and there always will be. One maybe delusional to even think that in an illegal substance that can harm and potentially cause severe cognitive and mental impairment to an individual is something beneficial. It is rare that we come across these matters because we have always categorized things as black or white, good or bad, and there are no gray areas. But if truth be told, gray areas do exist, albeit not in that exact context. Just like what the yin and yang concept epitomize, in something that is good, there exists a small portion of evil. In evil, there is a fraction of goodness too. Although illegal and can take life when abused, marijuana has been scientifically proven to be beneficial to several ill individuals. Given the proper circumstances, I strongly advocate the utilization of the illegal drug for the alleviation of neuropathic pain, control of nausea in cancer chemotherapy patients and appetite enhancer for AIDS patients (Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2004).
Popularly known as marijuana or hemp, the plant Cannabis sativa is cultivated and grown in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, United Kingdom, Romania and Spain (Springdale Crop Synergies Ltd., 2002). These countries make use of hemp as an agricultural produce distributed as a raw product for several industries such as the textile industry, materials for building, food industry, paper industry, energy, among many others (Springdale Crop Synergies Ltd., 2002). This is something that isn’t new, because hemp has been in existence for use ever since 7,000 B.C. as woven fiber fabric (Cannabis Activist Information and Marijuana Resources, 1997). Today, hemp in the textile industry serves its use for making towels, costumes, carpeting, pillows, curtains, aprons, pillowcases, furniture fabric, packaging fabrics, sleeping and resting mats, and decorations (Cannabis Activist Information and Marijuana Resources, 1997). But aside from all of the wonderful things that can be made from hemp, the most debated about is its medicinal use.
Research showed that Cannabis sativa can be beneficial to patients suffering from AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. For patients suffering with AIDS, Cannabis sativa is helpful in improving their appetites, thus forestalling the loss of lean muscle mass (CNN Inc., 1997). Aside from alleviating nausea and vomiting in cancer patients that undergo chemotherapy, Cannabis sativa can also lessen pre-treatment anxiety (CNN Inc., 1997). When smoked, Cannabis sativa can help lessen eye pressure, which is the main physiology behind glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States (CNN Inc., 1997). Cannabis sativa can prevent epileptic episodes in patients suffering from epilepsy, and it can decrease muscle pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (CNN Inc., 1997). According to the National Pain Foundation, there have been studies conducted that are geared towards making marijuana a legal medicine and trials have been successful (McCarberg, 2008). Sativex, a drug derived from Cannabis sativa, have been approved for use in Canada and in the United Kingdom (Drug Development Technology, 2008). This drug is prescribed as an adjunct therapy for neurological pain, various symptoms of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer pain (McCarberg, 2008). Patients suffering a tremendous amount of pain, especially those who have terminal illnesses with no cure like that of AIDS or multiple sclerosis, can really benefit from the use of these Cannabis derived drugs. Severe neuropathic pain, which represents an area of unmet clinical needs because of its difficulty to treat and the lack of available drugs that are effective against it, have been the target for Sativex recommendation.
We have to understand that albeit there are already standard, existing methods of treatment for these patients, there are those who do not respond well to these. Also, the standard therapy does not seem to work well as compared to those who underwent the clinical trials for Sativex (Drug Development Technology, 2008). If we try to put ourselves in the shoes of these ill people and try to understand and feel the pain and demise that they are going through, wouldn’t we also say that we are going to try any available treatment out there to help ease our suffering? If we were the family members of the ill patient and we are seeing our loved one suffer day after day of pain and no treatment seem to be working effectively in treating him or her, wouldn’t we want to seek the alternative trial treatment?
Legalizing medical marijuana for use may bring about a different perception for today’s teenagers or for those who are susceptible to using this drug recreationally. This is what the opposing school of thought is making an issue out of. But we have to trust in the capabilities of those who govern us that the legality of this substance will not bring about destruction, but instead salvation to those who badly need it. We have to be optimistic, look at the benefits, the people who will be helped by this, and not the harmful effects. There’s no perfect world were only the good things exist, no matter how hard we try there will always be a fraction of evil out there. The best way to go about it is to utilize it to serve a good purpose. Eradicating marijuana use is futile, as it is a very useful product. The glorious attempts of those who banned its use already served its intention. It is now time to take a great leap of faith and try to make something good out of something bad. What would you choose? Marijuana’s continued ban but still thousands are becoming addicted and eventually have their lives ruined by it? Or legalizing it’s use to help ease the pain of those severely ill individuals?
CNN Inc., (1997). Possible medical benefits of marijuana. Retrieved October 19, 2008, from Cable News Network, Inc. Web site: http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/9702/weed.wars/facts/medicinal.users/index.html
Cannabis Activist Information and Marijuana Resources, (1997). CANNABIS HEMP SUMMARY. Retrieved October 18, 2008, from Hemp Evolution Web site: http://www.hempevolution.org/history/summary.htm
Drug Development Technology, (2008). Sativex – Investigational Cannabis-Based Treatment for Pain and Multiple Sclerosis. Retrieved October 19, 2008, from SPG Media Group Web site: http://www.drugdevelopment-technology.com/projects/sativex/
McCarberg, B. (2008). What Does the Future Hold for Marijuana for Pain?. Retrieved October 19, 2008, from The National Pain Foundation Web site: http://www.nationalpainfoundation.org/MyTreatment/MyTreatment_Cannabinoids.asp
Office of National Drug Control Policy, (2004). MARIJUANA MYTHS & FACTS. Retrieved October 18, 2008, from Marijuana Web site: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/marijuana_myths_facts/marijuana_myths_facts.pdf.
Springdale Crop Synergies Ltd., (2002). Hemp. Retrieved October 19, 2008, from Interactive European Network for Industrial Crops and their Applications Web site: http://www.ienica.net/crops/hemp.pdf.