By Matthew Kleinman

What are the Benefits of Marijuana?

Reefer Madness PosterThe benefits of marijuana have long been shrouded by myth, deception, and public confusion. Misinformation has caused many to ignore the fact that marijuana has many multifaceted positive applications. The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was acknowledged by the US government way back in the 1800s, yet throughout the following century it became demonized through harshly misguided legislation and propaganda (Historical Timeline). That trajectory has come full circle now, eschewing the long dated notions of “reefer madness” lingering in American culture; people are finally beginning to give marijuana the full scientific respect that is given to pharmaceuticals. The truth is that marijuana is undeniably beneficial to Floridians in both medicinal and recreational applications.  

Marijuana For Medicinal Purposes Was Acknowledged By The US Government In The 1800s

Medical marijuana treats a long list of ailments, many of which apply to a large number of Florida citizens. As the state with the largest percent of elderly, Florida is filled with a large number of people suffering the ailments that come with aging. Marijuana is useful for treating the aches and joint pains that come in old age. Also, those suffering from glaucoma can benefit from the fact that marijuana lowers pressure in the eye, which temporarily alleviates their symptoms (Medical Marijuana Uses). Marijuana alleviates nausea and stimulates appetite, both of which are widely applicable to the symptoms of cancer patients going through chemotherapy. While many people would hesitate to ingest a mind-altering substance, there are new alternative strains of marijuana, perfect for this demographic, that eliminate the “high” leaving them only the medicinal benefits that they require. An Israeli grown strain called Avidekel has a low enough concentration of THC, the active ingredient that makes you “stoned”, that it allows users to retain all the medical benefits of using marijuana without the negative side effects. Benefits of Marijuana Medicinal use of marijuana as a painkiller is likely the most widely appealing benefit in regards to the needs of Florida’s citizens. Florida has a long troubled history with prescription drug abuse that has revolved around the use of powerful narcotics like oxycodone (Allen). Last year the Orlando Sentinal reported that out of every 100,000 Florida citizens, 16 will die from prescription drug overdoses (Jameson). Drugs like oxycodone, oxycontin, vicodin, morphine, and even codeine cough syrup are commonly abused and can be deadly and terribly addictive. Marijuana could be the answer to this growing problem. The plant offers powerful pain relief, useful for treating a wide variety of ailments, including migraines, menstrual cramps, and even rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, the use of marijuana has not been found to cause any physical dependence that comes close to rivaling that of the pharmaceuticals that are being prescribed in Florida at this current time. Lastly, with Florida’s year-round sunny climate, marijuana can be grown at home year round; this could lower demand for pain clinics by giving chronic pain sufferers an alternative medicine that they can grow on their own on their own property.  

Recreational Benefits of Marijuana

Beyond its medicinal uses, Marijuana offers large benefits in its use recreationally. Many have compared the state of marijuana in modern day to that of alcohol in the prohibition era, and it is a pretty apt comparison. When used recreationally, marijuana, much like alcohol, gives its users a strong euphoric feeling. Marijuana differentiates itself from alcohol in the way it stimulates the senses. It is no secret that the effects of the drug alter the way things are seen, heard, and perceived to be. Many great minds use, and have used, marijuana in this way to aid themselves in their creative pursuits. US Presidents have smoked potPaul McCartney has revealed the Beatles hit “Got to Get You Into My Life” to be in reference to the use of marijuana, and the refrain of “With a Little Help From My Friends” also makes light of “getting high”. The famed scientist and astronomer Carl Sagan was also a noted advocate of using marijuana. Even U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have been noted as past marijuana users in their youth. Marijuana use has found its place within the mainstream, and that the time is now for Florida to acknowledge the benefits of marijuana and move forward with Amendment 2 in November.     Works Cited Allen, Greg. "The 'Oxy Express': Florida's Drug Abuse Epidemic." NPR. NPR, 02 Mar. 2011. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Halverson, Nic. "Marijuana That Doesn't Get You Stoned." DNews. Discovery Communications LLC, 6 July 2012. Web. 08 Mar. 2014. "Historical Timeline - Medical Marijuana - ProCon.org." ProCon.org. N.p., 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. Jameson, Marni. "Vital Signs." Orlando Sentinel. N.p., 7 Oct. 2013. Web. 08 Mar. 2014. "Medical Marijuana Uses & Treatments: Glaucoma." Medical Marijuana Uses & Treatments: Glaucoma. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2014