Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Medicinal Marijuana

The drug that has many names (weed, cannabis, marijuana, pot) is once again in the headlines of the Australian news, with the government passing a bill in order to amend the act on illegal drugs in relation to cannabis. Australia has been umming and ahhing about whether or not to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, which is illegal because of its highly addictive nature.

cannabis isolated on white from amsterdam

cannabis isolated on white from amsterdam

For 150 years early governments were handing out grants and gifts of land to anyone who would grow the seed on their property. Many Australians took the drug for self-improvement, many writers believing it gave them a better edge and some also used it for medicinal purposes (which were widely known by the community and the government).  The substance was made illegal after the 1925 Geneva Convention on Opium and other drugs, where the Australian Government was a signatory. This is where marijuana was placed in the same category as heroin, morphine and cocaine.

If you have ever met someone who smokes weed (or do yourself!) you’ll notice some things about them. First of all the most obvious is the slowed down response that is associated with smoking weed. You become mellowed and “laid-back”. This is due a chemical in weed called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which causes a huge release of the feel-good hormone dopamine.

Marijuana causes much damage to the brain. It slows down all you movements and upsets your balance, coordination and reflexes, also impairing your judgement which may cause you to do something stupid and reckless. It also causes hallucinations or makes its victims delusional if taken in large doses.

So why does Australia want to legalize the drug if it can do so much damage to a person who takes it? Well marijuana has had a long known medicinal affect as well, from calming epileptic seizures to reducing pain and inflammation. 3 year old Cooper Wallace suffers from severe epilepsy. Poor Cooper would get over 100 life-threatening seizures a day with no medical relief until under doctors supervision (but not approval) Cassie and Rhett gave their 3 year old son 6ml (in total for the day) of cannabis oil in his milk. Through this treatment their son went from a bed ridden, 100’s of seizures a day boy to a full of life little boy who now only has two to three seizures a day.coops

There are many studies that prove the medicinal powers of cannabis and its extract, with most of them being proven very effective in treating or helping out other incurable diseases and problems. Does this outweigh the concerns of addiction and will it be used and abused if it does become legal?

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2 comments on “Medicinal Marijuana

  1. anhdang16
    May 7, 2016

    Medical marijuana is a topic which is being argued all over the world. As being mentioned in the post, the raising issue is whether it is worth taking the risk of making medical marijuana legal.

    There are some good news for the supporter of medical marijuana. Firstly, ‘The Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2015 passed the Victorian Parliament on 12 April 2016 to enable patients in exceptional circumstances to access legal medicinal cannabis products. The first group of patients will be able to access these products from early 2017’.

    Read more at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/medicinal-cannabis

    Secondly, for every baby who is suffered from epilepsy as Poor Cooper, ‘NSW is also currently conducting trials into a cannabis-based drug, Epidolex, with a focus on children with epilepsy, and leading the state-based focus on medical marijuana.’

    Read more at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/medical-marijuana-is-now-legal-in-australia-2016-2

    Another reason that lots of countries want to make medical marijuana legal because of economic value. In Australia, the medical marijuana industry ifself may gain earning $100 million just for the first year.

    Read more at http://www.ibtimes.com.au/australia-canada-other-economies-are-entering-billion-dollar-medical-cannabis-industry-1513961

    Like

  2. ellieheald
    May 8, 2016

    Did you have any references for your comment on the amount of damage done to the brain? From what I have been able to read damage from marijuana use is actually inconclusive and need further study done (http://www.pnas.org/content/111/47/16913.full)

    I also believe this is partly due to the fact that the drug is illegal, making it difficult for researchers to study it in a comprehensive and accurate manner.

    I personally would love to see researchers allowed permission to conduct trials, under certain circumstances, on mind altering drugs as I believe we have much to learn about the complexities of the brain from these substances.

    In regard to your comments about addiction, approximately 9% of people who use the substance become addicted (http://www.healthline.com/health-news/marijuana-addiction-rare-but-real-072014). This is compared to around 17 million people addicted to alcohol, in the US alone (https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol). I find it strange that we have such detrimental alcohol use, but debate the use of marijuana to ease chronic pain and disease.

    You chose a great topic! 🙂

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2016 by in Burwood - Thursday 2pm, Uncategorized.

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