Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Risks and Ethics


The popular view of marijuana has shifted in recent years. There is a growing body of research suggesting that marijuana legalization could be harmful to people’s health. In contrast to other medically prescribed drugs, marijuana is not monitored by a national body. 50% percent of those sent to rehabilitation by the legal system reported using marijuana as an addictive substance (Scheier & Griffin, 2021). There is no need to choose between punishment and rehabilitation regarding drug policy’s future. It is essential to have criminal justice and medical systems collaborate to ensure public safety and health.


Legalizing marijuana for any purpose, whether medicinal or recreational, is a bad idea. There is strong evidence linking medical marijuana usage to an increased risk of various significant psychological and physiological issues. Prevention efforts are being hampered, and young people and their families across the country suffer due to a general lack of awareness about this connection. In the United States and worldwide, marijuana abuse is at an all-time high (Boatwright & Sperry, 2020). The main costs of medical marijuana are not connected to its prohibition stem from cannabis usage.

Rationale for the Stance

Outside of alcohol, marijuana consumption is the primary contributor to American drug addicts. Despite medical marijuana’s increasing popularity, there are still significant risks associated with its usage; for example, over 10% of users will eventually fulfill the criteria for addiction. Of the 7 million Americans aged 12 or older diagnosed with dependence on an illegal drug, four million are heavy marijuana users (Wheeler & Hagemann, 2018). Therefore, around two-thirds of all Americans with a drug use disorder also use or depend on marijuana. Those seeking medicinal marijuana recommendations from doctors tend to have substance abuse histories. They will feel more comfortable about drug use if they get this suggestion.

Ethical Principles

An important ethical question is whether medical marijuana should be advised when standard safeguards are not in place, given that there is no way of knowing whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Many doctors who advocate marijuana for medical purposes are on the fringes of the mainstream medical establishment, which raises further ethical concerns. A significant moral dilemma has arisen because of doctors’ easy compliance with patients’ requests for a medical marijuana prescription (Kruis et al., 2019). Making care decisions without considering the big picture, based on shifting social and political conditions rather than solid research or hard data, can have serious consequences. Doctors should use caution when utilizing their professional authority to recommend medical marijuana broadly and concerning patients’ welfare.

Supporting Theories

According to proponents of the social learning theory, marijuana usage is a learned habit maintained by behavior modification from other people, the environment, one’s own emotions and opinions. The idea of problem behavior theory is that young people are more prone to deviant conduct due to low incentives to adhere to social control, a lack of academic direction, social criticism, and isolation (Rowland et al., 2021). Teens unhappy with traditional institutions and struggling academically are more likely to engage in anti-social activities like smoking marijuana. Therefore, these young people are more likely to use substances like marijuana on impulse, act recklessly, seek thrills, and engage in other risky behaviors.

Supporting Evidence

The nation’s health, literacy, and economic output would benefit significantly from a decrease in marijuana use. Rather than failing, implementing preventative initiatives will shield millions of individuals from the many negative impacts of marijuana use (Wheeler & Hagemann, 2018). Medical marijuana legalization is not a good public health and safety plan for any state or nation. It would increase rather than decrease cannabis usage and lead to greater addiction rates among adolescents and adults.

Proposed Resolution

Schools and community programs should educate students and residents about the potential benefits and considerable hazards of medical marijuana use. There are currently no thorough studies and global standard verification of the benefits and dangers of medical marijuana (Scheier & Griffin, 2021). However, there is a need for expanded research to educate all parties involved while maintaining an open mind and refraining from any judgment. If patients are not encouraged to talk to their doctors, they may turn to less reputable sources, use the information secretly, and weaken the health practitioner-patient relationship.


Boatwright, K. D., & Sperry, M. L. (2020). Accuracy of medical marijuana claims made by popular websites. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 33(4), 457-464.

Kruis, N. E., Seo, C., & Kim, B. (2019). Revisiting the empirical status of social learning theory on substance use: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Substance Use & Misuse, 55(4), 666-683.

Rowland, B., Jonkman, H., Steketee, M., Solomon, R. J., Solomon, S., & Toumbourou, J. W. (2021). A cross-national comparison of the development of adolescent problem behavior: A 1-year longitudinal study in India, the Netherlands, the USA, and Australia. Prevention Science, 22(1), 62-72.

Scheier, L. M., & Griffin, K. W. (2021). Youth marijuana use: A review of causes and consequences. Current Opinion in Psychology, 38, 11-18.

Wheeler, J. S., & Hagemann, T. M. (2018). Medical marijuana in the United States: Historical perspectives, legal considerations, and professional obligations of the pharmacist. Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, 1(1), e9-e16.

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