1-Minute Overview
Should marijuana be a medical option?



About This Topic
In 1972 marijuana was placed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, representing that the US government considered it to have "no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." 14 of 50 US states currently have approved the medical use of marijuana for qualified patients. Physicians, elected officials, scientists, parents and their children, and the general public are debating whether marijuana should be a medical option. Given the intense debate and the potential impact on sick and dying people, we decided to explore the issue.
PRO Medical Marijuana CON Medical Marijuana
PRO: Proponents for the legal use of medical marijuana argue that marijuana has "accepted medical use in treatment in the US," and that it would easily meet the FDA criteria over "whether a new product's benefits to users will outweigh its risks." Marijuana, they claim, is a safe and effective treatment for dozens of conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, migraines, glaucoma, and epilepsy. Proponents say that thousands of yearly deaths from legal prescription drugs could be prevented if medical marijuana were legal. CON: Opponents of medical marijuana argue that marijuana has not been FDA-approved because it is too dangerous to use, and that various FDA-approved drugs make the use of marijuana unnecessary. Marijuana, they claim, is addictive, leads to harder drug use, injures the lungs, harms the immune system, damages the brain, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and sends the wrong message to kids. They say that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization, and that people who claim medical use are actually using it for recreational pleasure.