The endorsement of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act may be perceived differently by people in the nursing profession and others alike depending on their individual schools of thought regarding the use of marijuana in treating terminally ill persons. Whereas some may view it from a political perspective, others may adopt a medical approach. Currently, there is enough empirical evidence that shows that marijuana is a key drug in treating cancer, multiple sclerosis and AIDS-related complications such as weight loss syndrome.
Marijuana in its natural form fulfills the legal requirements of accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. As a matter of fact, marijuana is currently one of the least toxic medical compounds, world over. Furthermore, it is less risky than tobacco in regards to causing pulmonary risks, and that it is less addictive than alcohol. It is even less deadly than aspirin, which is known to cause 1,000 deaths annually. [Grinspoon, 1995] Tests for treatment of glaucoma-related blindness and weight loss among AIDS patients have shown that, it is by far more versatile and effective despite its benign aspects.
It has shown adequate results in mitigating chemotherapy-induced nausea. Indeed, findings of a random-sample anonymous survey of the members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in 1990 measuring the attitudes and experiences of American oncologists on matters to do with antiemetic use of marijuana in cancer chemotherapy patients indicated that about 44% of the surveyed oncologists had at one time or the other prescribed marijuana to at least one of their patients for nausea.
, and that 48% of them would prescribe marijuana to some of their patients if it were made legal. The sampled group also indicated that smoked marijuana was more effective and safer to use than the legal oral synthetic THC (Marinol). A majority of the respondents (50%) also indicated that marijuana should be made available for prescription. [Doblin, & Kleiman, 1991] On the other hand those opposing medical marijuana may argue that its medical value is anecdotal compared with the impact that it have on young children, who may perceive it as an approval for marijuana use.
However, other drugs have been approved with far less empirical evidence of their efficacy collected. What more, several organizations in New Jersey have indicated their support for the bill, including, Academy of Family Physicians, League for Nursing, local chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and even the Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Opponents of the bill claim that it would send a bad message to the growing kids, that marijuana smoking is legal, and that drug abuse rates have gone up in states that have already ratified medical marijuana use.
[Harper, 2008] • My position As a registered voter, who has got a right to make decisions regarding what is good and what is not, in regards to the medical marijuana legislation or any other legislation, both at state and at federal level, I fully declare MY SUPPORT to this noble bill whose approval (possibly) would have the capability to extend a compassionate gesture to our terminally ill brothers, sisters, and elders, who have for along time been left to wallow in the miasma of pain and trauma.
Perhaps the following evidence about medical marijuana underscores my support for the bill. The discovery in 1988 that THC-receptor sites in the brain and subsequent studies that have shown that marijuana is not addictive and that it is not a drug of abuse should be enough grounds to convince the authorities and the public that it is time for the legalization of marijuana. [Gettman, 1995] Moreover, empirical evidence shows that many patients with cancer, AIDS, and other debilitating diseases seem to gain immense relief from their severe symptoms by smoking marijuana.
It is therefore inhumane for the federal government to continue prohibiting physicians from exploring medical marijuana option in their endeavors to alleviate suffering among the terminally ill. Again, the notion that marijuana may have long term effects to the users and that it poses dangers of addiction is not relevant, particularly to people who have endured pain as a result of medical conditions that have exhausted other prescriptions. In fact, what should count in the context of such patients is whether a seriously ill person gets relief following an intervention and not where a controlled trial proves its efficacy.
It is as a result of these reasons why the federal government should allow state governments to legalize medical marijuana for the seriously ill patients and also empower the physicians to determine which cases warrant medical marijuana treatment. [Kassirer, 1997] A 2002 review of medical literature indicated that medical marijuana was indeed effective in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, PMS, unintentional weight loss, and lack of appetite.
Confirmed results of effectiveness were observed in the treatment of spasticity, painful conditions such as neurogenic pain, movement disorders, asthma, and glaucoma.  Moreover, according to a study carried out in 2006 by Donald Tashkin, smoking marijuana does not increase the risk of lung cancer or head-and-neck malignancies, even among heavy smokers. If fact smoking tobacco is more risky in regards to heightening one’s chances of getting lung cancer and other cancers of the neck and head. In fact, marijuana use was associated with cancer risk ratio were below 1.
0 against a 21-fold tobacco risk. The study concluded that it could be possible that the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may be responsible for programmed cell (apoptosis) death before they have a chance to undergo malignant transformation. [Tashkin, 2001] Furthermore, six other states considering medical marijuana bills in their state legislatures: Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and North Carolina, with South Dakota having several petitions filed by concerned organizations who feel that medical marijuana should be legalized. [Medical Marijuana, n. d. ]