Last century if you were to ask conventional doctors or politicians what the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana were, you might’ve heard about lots of cons and not many pros. That was an era when people were demonized for even mentioning the word “marijuana” even after government studies suggested it wasn’t as dangerous as alcohol or cigarettes. Today state and local governments as well as medical professionals are finally narrowing down a list of legitimate pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.
The main pros for legalizing marijuana surround its medicinal use to treat pain and other health conditions. While Colorado and Washington have legalized it for recreational use as well, the arguments for recreational use generally are not as strong for medical use, although many pro recreation claims still have merit. The following focuses more on benefits for medical marijuana patients:
- Medical marijuana has provided effective relief for severe pain in which conventional treatment has been ineffective
- There is evidence that marijuana, due to its antioxidants, can reverse cancer
- Cancer patients can at least use marijuana to relieve pain and side effects from chemotherapy
- The plant is an organic medicine that does not have the same risks as synthetic medicine, which can sometimes be fatal is misused
- Marijuana is much cheaper to produce than pharmaceutical drugs, which can help curb the high costs of health care
- There is a growing list of patients who claim that marijuana or cannabis oil helped them beat the disease they were facing
- Legalizing marijuana will put more money back into the system instead of losing money to the black market
- Taxing marijuana can help states pay down debt
- The use of marijuana for medical treatment has already helped lower accidental deaths from overdoses of pharmaceutical drugs
- Patients who are helped by marijuana will no longer have to worry about being arrested
The cons regarding marijuana legalization are partly carryover arguments from last century’s demonization of the drug, which created a lot of misinformation. Most of the following con arguments are what define why certain states have refused to consider the issue.
- Not enough research has been done on marijuana to understand its short term or long term side effects
- Due to the possibility of short term memory loss, marijuana can be considered too risky to introduce to people who are not prepared for its side effects
- While evidence is still lacking, there may be health risks involved with marijuana involving the respiratory system
- Allowing marijuana to be legal may make its availability more accessible to children
- Even if marijuana is not physically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive and it can be abused like other drugs
- Marijuana is still very offensive to many religious groups which may have influence in a community
- Marijuana affects individuals differently, making it difficult to regulate, which is why some feel it’s easier to keep illegal
The pros and cons of legalizing marijuana presented above represent some of the most legitimate arguments. However, many flawed arguments still exist due to the lack of knowledge about marijuana among politicians. At least last century’s argument that “marijuana can lead to harder drugs” has disappeared from the debate, along with other debunked myths such as “it makes you think you can fly.”
Chief Medical Advisor of Medicinal Marijuana Association
Dr. Imrie has practiced as a medical doctor since 1968. He received his M.D. (Honors) from the University of Toronto, which he also attended for his pre-medicine undergraduate work. Dr. Imrie brings his broad knowledge of medicine,
pharmaceuticals, insurance and rehabilitation to champion the Medical Marijuana Association, which is dedicated to provide practical and vetted knowledge to improve access for patients to this significant therapeutic advance.