Medical marijuana. You’re either for or against it, just as any other topic of debate would show. There are always two sides of the story, and here, we have the law versus the research. Many people are just against the legalization because they feel that it’s just a drug that junkies use to get high or still remember the reefer madness phase this country had. But what is the research saying? I chose two articles, one looking at the states laws and their effect of the use of marijuana and another looking at the research and its effects on the user and how it aids in things like sleep and diseases. At first glance, these don’t necessarily seem like opposing views, but when you look at this as a political issue we always see legal problems mixed with the benefits it has to the population as a whole.
My first article’s main goal was to see if there were any correlational relationships between medical marijuana laws and the actual usage of the drug. A combination of case studies and survey research from Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NYLS). TEDS showed the people who were admitted for treatment because of heavy use or reliance on the drug. The article points out how many of people studied in TEDS didn’t have real addictive behavior, but were in involved because they were put into treatment from the criminal justice system. The NYLS helped see the extent of usage among twelve to seventeen-year-old. This study took into consideration the dispensaries and if things like home cultivation were legal or not in the state. To begin with, a weakness of the research is that in the case studies, not everyone in treatment were actually dependent but rather receiving help because that’s how they got past being caught with marijuana illegally, and might not have been the only drug these people used. Strengths of this research is definitely that it’s very thorough and considers many aspects involved with the process of growing and receiving as well as how people are using it. Biases include possible misinterpreted conclusions and surveyed individuals lying. The one thing that both studies had in common was that the increase of dispensaries increases marijuana use. The research concluded that the medical marijuana laws didn’t have any effect on people using it recreationally or lower the overall use. The most obvious association is that the more dispensaries there are the more likely it is that someone of any age have a higher risk of addictive behavior.
My second article focused more on the research of medical marijuana and the effects it has on the body and mind. The research involved naturalistic observation and laboratory observation. The main test was to see how their brain scans looked before and after as well as simple tests to see any changes in the way the person acted or reacted. It basically was just to see how the brain changed. They took brain scans throughout the course of the experiment on the thirty patients that are currently involved. So far, they’ve found that medical marijuana can calm symptoms of bipolar disorder and that some medication for strokes and Alzheimer’s disease can help with cognitive effects of heavy usage. Some biases may be that the researchers observed what they wanted to, and that they saw changes that weren’t really there. The idea of seeing how the brain changes the longer someone uses the drug seems valuable and is definitely a strength of the experiment. The weaknesses of the research are that it needs more participants and more funding like most marijuana studies, but people and organizations are reluctant to help because of biases they have or bad political attention.
All things considered, anything involving marijuana can be a tense subject depending on who you’re talking to. There’s not a lot of research readily available showing the benefits of medical marijuana because the research isn’t funded. We can’t really know until more is done to find out the true outcomes.