Rebuttal Essay – Ally Hodgson

Marijuana is Bad For You, Right?

The Controlled Substances Act instated in 1970 is a piece of drug regulation legislation we still use today. This act organizes almost any prescription or illegal drug you can think of into categories. Marijuana is a schedule one drug. A schedule one drug is described as, “hav[ing] a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” Schedule one drugs may not be prescribed for any medical purposes. Examples of other schedule one drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), peyote, and ecstasy.

Schedules 2-5 can be prescribed. Each schedule has different levels of potential for abuse. Schedule two drugs, for example morphine, have the highest potential that are still prescribed; while schedule five drugs, for example Lunesta, have the lowest. I believe marijuana should be moved to a lesser category.

Marijuana has been controversial since it was placed in the schedule one category in 1970. The Nixon administration said they did not think people could be dependent on it and therefore not a schedule one or two drug. However, since substantial research had not been done about marijuana at that time, they placed it temporarily in schedule one. Marijuana isn’t as bad as most people think.

Abovetheinfluence.org says, “in addition to the possible effects on your brain, smoking marijuana may also be hazardous to your developing lungs. Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.” Another claim from the same site is that marijuana has more than 400 different chemicals in it. A website called stop-smoking-programs.org says, “tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals.” Tobacco has ten times more chemicals than marijuana, yet tobacco is legal and marijuana isn’t. Marijuana cannot contain 50% to 70% more chemicals than tobacco if it has ten times less chemicals.

Also, that argument (assuming it was valid) alone is not a reason marijuana itself is bad for you, that only explains the hazards of smoking. People often clump using marijuana and smoking marijuana in the same category. MarijuanaVaporizer.com contends that “using a vaporizer avoids the burning process and, consequently, eliminates the health problems associated with smoking.”

“According to the Food and Drug Administration,” says soberrecovery.com, “there is no sound scientific studies  to carry the medical use of smoked marijuana.” On the contrary, the advocates against marijuana at drugabuse.gov do acknowledge that “scientists have confirmed that the cannabis plant contains active ingredients with therapeutic potential for relieving pain, controlling nausea, stimulating appetite, and decreasing ocular pressure.” Marijuana has at least four medicinal uses and drugabuse.gov has found scientific studies.

In Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, the authors state, “[since] marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a “gateway” drug.” However, scienceblog.com quotes a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy: “the gateway progression may be the most common pattern, but it’s certainly not the only order of drug use,” Ralph E. Tarter, Ph.D. says, “in fact, the reverse pattern is just as accurate for predicting who might be at risk for developing a drug dependence disorder.” Dr. Tarter was the lead scientist on a study where, again according to scienceblog.com, “[the researchers] tracked 214 boys beginning at ages 10-12, all of whom eventually used either legal or illegal drugs. When the boys reached age 22, they were categorized into three groups: those who used only alcohol or tobacco, those who started with alcohol and tobacco and then used marijuana (gateway sequence) and those who used marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco (reverse sequence).”

Works Cited

“Chemicals in Cigarettes.” Stop Smoking Programs. 2012. 03 April, 2012.

Hodgson, Ally. “White Paper: Marijuana as a Schedule One Drug.” WordPress.com. 29 February, 2012. 03 April, 2012.

“InfoFacts: Marijuana.” National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse The Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction. November, 2010. 03 April, 2012.

Joy, Janet E., Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and
John A. Benson, Jr. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999.

“Marijuana.” Abovetheinfluence.org. 03 April, 2012.

“Marijuana has No Medical Use according to FDA contradicts Panel.” Soberrecovery.com. 2010. 03 April, 2012.

“Marijuana Vaporizer.”  MarijuanaVaporizer.com. 1996. Web. 03 April, 2012.

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3 Responses to Rebuttal Essay – Ally Hodgson

  1. allyhodgson93 says:

    can I have feedback on this paper?

  2. davidbdale says:

    This is pretty messy, Ally. It starts with two paragraphs of definition essay material that don’t need to be here at all. Any information we need from them can be delivered when it’s really needed inside your rebuttals, but I’m not sure much of it is all that essential.

    The value of the third paragraph would be to establish that the placement in Schedule 1 was not well considered in the first place, and that the only reason it’s still there is government stubbornness.

    And THAT, it seems, is where your rebuttal argument should pivot. I’ll get back to that in a bit.

    The paragraph about chemicals in weed and tobacco is not effective because it makes several serious errors of its own. It compares apples (carcinogenic hydrocarbons) to fruit (chemicals). It’s completely possible that tobacco could have 4000 chemicals but still have fewer carcinogenic hydrocarbons than pot smoke. Just as importantly, your evidence comes not from scientific sources we can trust, but from advocacy websites with axes to grind. Only one is pot, but they both want to call the kettle black.

    You do offer a good rebuttal to the argument often made that marijuana can’t be medicinal if smoking it is so hazardous. The vaporizer alternative is nice, but it can’t be prescribed. If the beneficial medicinals could be prescribed in tablet form, you could assure that it wouldn’t be smoked, but not if you dispense it as green leaves. They may be right, Ally, but you can’t really call the claim about eliminating health problems credible when it comes from vaporizer merchants.

    The quote from soberrecovery.com is unintelligible. I literally cannot figure out what it’s supposed to mean. I think the authors must have mis-quoted a source. To use this material, Ally, you’ll have to find the original statement from the FDA. “Carry the medical use” has no meaning in English. Meanwhile, you quote from drugabuse.gov, but don’t name the article in your Works Cited, so we can’t check its accuracy. Are you consciously claiming that “advocates against marijuana,” that is to say opponents of marijuana use, are making claims in favor of cannabis’s therapeutic benefits? Very confusing.

    Your gateway logic stumbles over itself in both directions, I’m afraid, Ally. You identify it as the first drug that leads to other illicit drugs, the classic gateway pattern. Then you offer a mild dispute from UPSP that really only says, “not always!” But then the study you cite doesn’t relate marijuana to more dangerous, harder, illicit drugs at all. Instead, it concludes that marijuana is sometimes first and sometimes last in the sequence of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. They may not be healthy, but tobacco and alcohol aren’t illicit.

    Getting back to where your rebuttal should pivot, Ally. You say marijuana should be rescheduled as Schedule 2 or 3. (You really should choose one and base your choice on some evidence.) What are the best arguments against yours?

    1. Marijuana must be dangerous or it wouldn’t be categorized as a Schedule 1 drug in the first place, with heroin. You have an answer for this, but you need to make it clear that your opponents make this argument and that they’re begging the question when they do.
    2. Marijuana has no proven medical uses. You have evidence that this is not true. Furthermore, you can effectively argue that the government deliberately blocks useful research out of stubbornness, making it impossible for marijuana to prove its way out of the category.
    3. Marijuana is prone to dependence. You have evidence that this is not true. Make sure we know your opponents make this claim, then refute it.
    4. Marijuana is itself too hazardous to be promoted as medicine. Here you can minimize the hazards any way you like, or compare the side effects to worse side effects for lower-scheduled drugs, or both.
    5. Marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to abuse of more dangerous illicit drugs. You’re trying to refute this, but the study you quote doesn’t actually address the question.

    Sorry to be so negative, Ally, but this one could hurt you if you don’t revise it substantially.

  3. davidbdale says:

    Still no revisions?
    Grade Recorded

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