Olivia Oviedo is our 2020 scholarship essay recipient. Olivia is a Tucson native, and a sophomore at Northern Arizona University. She is a Psychology major with a minor in Health.
Her future career goals are to work in a service role within the medical field. Some possibilities include physical or occupational therapy.
Below is a copy of her essay:
Marijuana is a controversial issue which is gaining more support, at minimum, for medicinal purposes. Currently the FDA, has approved three drugs containing THC.
The two main cannabinoids useful in medicine are THC and CBD however there are other cannabinoids that are also proving helpful in medical treatment. As of today, 33 states recognize medical marijuana as a legal practice and 15 states have decriminalized (not legalized) marijuana.
New state laws have actually open the doors to allow researchers more opportunity to study marijuana’s medical uses and understand its effects on the body.
There are numerous benefits in legalizing marijuana (in particular medical marijuana) as it treats many chronic illnesses and associated symptoms. Medical marijuana has proved most beneficial for ADHD, Aids, Anorexia, Arthritis, Cachexia, Cancer, Chronic Pain, Depression, Epilepsy, Insomnia, Glaucoma, and PTSD.
Furthermore, States like Colorado and Washington that tax and regulate marijuana have already generated millions of dollars for health care, education, and other public investments. Marijuana use where legalized and used for patient pain is showing a correlation with decreased opioid prescription.
The claim of no medical value primarily applies to marijuana that is smoked. And in alternative medicine, specifically the use of cannabis in the form of hemp, has been practiced for some time dating back to 500 B.C.. Ancient Chinese medicine used hemp as a herbal remedy in Central Asia.
In a recent study through PlosOne, they did not find a predictive correlation between medical marijuana and higher crime rates. In fact, robberies and burglary rates were down which countered opposers who alleged dispensaries led to further victimization. The Journal of Law and Economics conducted a study to look at traffic fatalities and found that traffic fatalities actually fell.
The controversial issues surrounding medical marijuana is primarily due to the question of therapeutic property claiming medical purpose and the general health effects of marijuana. Although medical marijuana is a herbal drug from the environment, natural does not mean safe. When states legalize marijuana, even for medicinal use, it gives the impression that the drug is safe and gets normalized. It also provides more access.
Marijuana can have short-term effects of impairment of cognitive abilities, loss of short-term memory, coordination and increased heart rate. Apathy, lost productivity, addictive disease, deterioration in intellectual function, motor vehicle accidents, and psychosis are all among the negative outcomes. Since marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance, opposers state that it has no medical use, contains high rate of addition and high potential of drug abuse.
Marijuana has been a contributable factor in a high percentage of accidents in automobiles and the workplace. Medical marijuana is seen as just an unorthodox method of treatment and is lacking scientific research. Opposers believe that the risk outweigh any potential benefits and that medical advocates are making a leap that medical marijuana can help treat.
There has been a consistent change in stance considerably in the last few years. Many people can get behind the legalization of medical marijuana and seeing some health benefits. Studies are revealing its therapeutic properties and research is continuing to show support in its effects, trust in usage and a good alternative to pain and the use of prescription medicine.
However more research is clearly needed as only 6% of studies actually analyze the medicinal properties of marijuana. Currently, it is estimated that over 85% of Americans support at least the legalization of medical marijuana.
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