Miguel Rodriguez  

Mrs. Stillman

Senior English

4 March 2010

Legal Marijuana

The purpose of this paper is to explain the legal uses of marijuana, for example how marijuana can help people with serious diseases, the reasons legalization of it would be beneficial to society, and the safety of medically regulated use of marijuana.
Marijuana comes from the Indian hemp plant and was given its botanical name, Cannabis sativa, by Linnaeus in 1753.   The term cannabis is derived from cannabinoids, a class of chemical compounds unique to this plant which produce its unusual effects.   (Marijuana, Its Effects on Mind & Body, p. 27)
Marijuana was first described in print in a Chinese book of medicine.   The ancient Persians, Greeks, Romans, East Indians, and Assyrians, also used the drug.   They used it to control muscle spasms, to reduce pain, and to treat indigestion.   In Asia and Africa, people use it as an herbal preparation in folk medicine.   Western practioners also used marijuana in medical practices.   In 19th century in America, it was used by the medical profession for treating ailments such as spastic conditions, headaches, labor pains, insomnia, and menstrual cramps.   (Marijuana, Its effects on mind & Body, p. 37, 38)
Marijuana was introduced to Western medicine by the British doctor; W.B. O’Shaughnessy, who learned about it while he was stationed in India.   Marijuana is a preparation from the Cannabis plant that is smoked.   It consists of the dried, ground-up flowers that highly variable plant.   The main ingredient in Cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol also called (THC) and it is the specific cannabinoid which is psychoactive—meaning that it alters mood, perception, thought processes, and consciousness.   (Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education p. 1)
It is made up of at least 400 compounds, including more than 60 that are unique to cannabis, known as cannabinoids, several of which are believed to have therapeutic effects.   These chemicals...