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Should cannabis be used as a medical drug?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Should Cannabis be used as a Medical Drug? Contents Title Page What is cannabis? 3 History of cannabis 3 Therapeutic uses 3 Attempts at legalising cannabis 3-4 Evidence for beneficial effects 4 Side effects 4 Who uses cannabis recreationally? 5 Why do people smoke it? 5 Is cannabis addictive? 5 Has anyone ever died from smoking it? 5 Arguments 'for' 5-6 Arguments 'against' 6-7 Conclusion 8 Bibliography 9-10 For my science GCSE coursework I chose to do a case study on cannabis. The reason for this was because there have recently been issues brought up on this subject by the media. This has made me want to find out more about drugs. What is cannabis? There are hundreds of slang terms for cannabis. Marijuana, ganja, weed, pot, draw, blow, puff, hash, dope, herb, grass, shit, skunk; the list goes on. Basically, cannabis is a drug made from the Cannabis sativa plant. It can come in different forms, including a dried form (herbal) or as oil. The flowers of the plant contain an active ingredient called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The most common consumption method is to smoke it, but it can also be eaten. In the UK, cannabis is classified as a Class C drug. Http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/cannabis History of cannabis Cannabis is believed to have been originated from the Himalayas, and used in central Asia 4000 years ago. ...read more.

Middle

Http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug) Cannabis does have health risks. Some of these effects include blood-shot eyes with dilated pupils. Some are similar to those of tobacco (e.g. lung cancer, heart disease and bronchitis) Http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug) Who uses cannabis recreationally? Cannabis is used by a huge variety of people, mostly teenagers or older. They can be from any country, follow any religion, have any job and could be from any socio-economic group. There is no certain group of people that definitely do or do not use cannabis recreationally. Http://www.friendlystranger.com/info/what.htm It was revealed that Prince Harry had smoked cannabis in the summer of 2001. Http://observer.guardian.co.uk/drugs/story/0,,686503,00.html Recently, even top Cabinet ministers (like Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Chancellor Alistair Darling) have admitted to have illegally smoked cannabis in the past. Http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6907040.stm, Thursday July 19, 2007 Why do people smoke it? Cannabis is smoked to make people feel better. Although some people use it for therapeutic purposes, many use it to make them happy, sociable, relaxed and calm. This is because the positive effects of the drug include talkativeness, cheerfulness, relaxation, light-headedness, hallucinations, laughter, feeling of euphoria, and greater appreciation of sound and colour. This is known as being 'high' or 'stoned'. Http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug) Is cannabis addictive? People may form a habit of taking cannabis, but it is not addictive like nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are. ...read more.

Conclusion

Professor John Zajicek said, 'The question is whether there is a causal link. This has not yet been established.' The Daily Mail newspaper, January 26, 2005 The table below (Diagram 2) shows the percentage of young teenagers with mental disorders that have smoke, drink alcohol or take cannabis. It shows that the highest percentage from each disorder, (expect hyperkinetic) take cannabis at least once a month. (Diagram 2) Prevalence of mental disorders by smoking, drinking and cannabis use among children aged 11-15 years, 1999 Http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=853&Pos=2&ColRank=2&Rank=528 I think that the table above is reliable because it is a government statistic. One worry for legalizing it is that cannabis could be a 'gateway' drug to more harmful substances like heroin. Also, there is also the problem of people using the drug for non-medicinal purposes. Conclusion In my opinion, cannabis should be used as a medical drug. I think this because it could improve the lives of thousands of people. Current users will not have to worry about getting caught by the police if they use it for medicinal purposes. Evidence such as Diagram 2 does show a correlation between cannabis and mental disorders, but it does not prove that the drug caused the disorders. Regarding the harmful effects of cannabis, I think that the benefit outweighs the risk. It is almost guaranteed that cannabis will bring relief from symptoms, but it is not certain if it will cause harm. ...read more.

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