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Is It a Parent’s Right to Allow Their Children to Use Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes?

The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is well documented in modern scientific literature nowadays. Taking into account historical evidence, it is possible to mention that the first use of marijuana in medicine is noted many centuries ago in ancient India and the Middle East. It was used in the treatment of different kinds of pain, as an anticonvulsant or antiemetic medical substance. Modern scientific researches found that the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is possible with various diseases and conditions. Thus, we are going to observe the problem of marijuana legalization, discussing the case of using medical marijuana and debating the question “Is it a parent’s right to allow their children to use marijuana for medicinal purposes?”

Observing the issue of marijuana legalization, it is known that the medical use of marijuana has been legalized in some American states, but it is still a debatable question in many more. Gerber (2004) stated that the decision to approve the medical use of marijuana is not connected to the confrontation between supporters of the prohibitive and permissive attitudes to drugs. It is based extremely on medical evidence on the positive effects of marijuana derivatives for the treatment of a big number of diseases. In contrast to previous statement it is also possible to note that a number of anti-drug organizations were opposed to the legalization of medical use of marijuana, saying that any change in legislation would be a bad signal to teenagers about the dangers of marijuana. Thus, there is no one point of view in support or opposition of marijuana legalization.

Most of the official associations of physicians are still not taken a clear position on the medical use of marijuana. People across the country continue to use marijuana for medical purposes to the contrary to existing law. Some do it with the knowledge and approval of their physicians, while others use marijuana for medical purposes without medical supervision since this practice is illegal in many states of the United States. This approach to the problem has its pluses and minuses; pluses are in attempts to control the use of marijuana as psychoactive drug, but for the people who need marijuana as a kind of medical treatment it is a kind of risk and a big minus. The illegality of marijuana deprives patients’ confidence that they are getting a standardized product that is not contaminated with spores of fungi because it has a critical meaning for AIDS patients with suppressed immune systems. In some large cities were organized ‘cannabis buyers’ clubs’ for the supply of non-contaminated patients drugs. However, in most regions of the country patients have to rely on the criminal market, delivering marijuana of unknown activity and purity. Summarizing the above stated, it is possible to suppose that marijuana’s transfer to List II and the creation of a legal system for its dissemination would ensure all patients receive pure marijuana of standard quality.

In this part of the paper it is necessary to observe the sphere of marijuana’s use for medical purposes. According to Bock (2000), various studies have shown that cannabinoids affect the mechanisms of pain. According to other reports, cannabinoids in combination with opioids provide greater pain relief when using smaller doses. Thus, researchers believe that cannabinoids can be taken for pain relief in the following cases: in patients who receive chemotherapy, after surgery in combination with opioids to reduce nausea and vomiting, in patients with spinal cord injuries, peripheral neuropathic pain and post-traumatic mixed pain, in patients with chronic neuropathic pain and insomnia, in HIV patients with neuropathic pain and in other cases where is found strongly pronounced pain syndrome.Basing on the above said, it is possible to conclude that adults can solve the problem of marijuana use for medical purposes by self in legal or illegal way, but thinking about children there is no right answer to this question. It is impossible to say that children are responsible for their actions and only parents can control the treatment of their children.

First of all, it is necessary to mention that a treatment of children always has its own specificity. The treatment of children is always a big responsibility for both parents and physicians. There is no necessity to deny the fact that both law and even morality not only respect, but also support the autonomy of parents to determine and control medical care for their children. Analyzing the case of mother and son taken from the article by O’Brien & Clark written in 2002, it is obvious that mother has made a right step in the treatment of her son, and put interests of her child to the first place. The article demonstrates that the woman not only takes care of her child, but she is also ready to help him in all possible ways. The mother understands that the use of marijuana for medical purposes is a kind of risk for her son, but her readiness to “discontinue the medication if it no longer appears to be helping him” shows the great disturbance about the son’s health and future life (O’Brien & Clark, 2002). One more detail to the support of mother’s actions can be demonstrated by the following words, according to O’Brien & Clark (2002), “the mother’s decision to use medicinal marijuana was well researched, and JJ is under the supervision of physicians”.

Researching the case of marijuana use in children, it is possible to say that this question has rather complicated nature and it is hard to say that parents or physicians are wrong in their statements and decisions, but taking into account the facts that exactly parents are responsible for their children in greater degree, and they are primary responsible for health of their children, it is possible to conclude that it is a parent’s right to allow their children to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Parents have not only moral, but also legal rights to determine what kinds of treatment will be the best for the child. The above stated words are right in many situations, but with respect to normal parents, who are morally responsible for their children and able to make right and adequate decisions. In such a way, according to O’Brien & Clark (2002), “courts and legislatures have established a wide array of privileges, rights, and responsibilities for parents and physicians” for the purpose of to protect and support the best relationships between both parents and physicians, which are really fundamental to a well-organized contemporary society.

In conclusion, the problem of marijuana legalization has been discussed in the body of this paper with all necessary details. We have observed possible effects of marijuana legalization, basing on the necessity to use medical marijuana and have observed “Mother and son: The case medical marijuana / commentaries” by O’Brien & Clark to prove the fact that a parent has a right to find the best way of treatment for own child.

References:

Bock, A. W. (2000). Waiting to Inhale: The Politics of Medical Marijuana. Seven Locks Press.
Gerber, R. (2004). Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics. Praeger.
O’Brien, K. & Clark P. A. (2002). Mother and son: The case medical marijuana / commentaries. The Hastings Center Report; Hastings-on-Hudson, 5(11). Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2103/is_5_32/ai_n7198064/?tag=content;col1