Karst (2018) defines a drug as a substance with the ability to change the functioning of an individual's body either physically or psychologically when taken. Medications can be legal or illegal. Legal drugs are those mandated by appropriate governing bodies both nationally and internationally. Such drugs include alcohol and caffeine. Contrariwise, heroin, cocaine, and cannabis are examples of illegal medicines. Water and food are neither examples nor types of drugs. However, the legality and morality surrounding the use of different drugs remain a controversial issue in contemporary society. A drug could be legal in a specific jurisdiction but raise multiple moral issues. Such issues entail the drug's manufacturing process, its distribution, and consumption. However, some drugs, such as marijuana, are illegal, but their use has multiple moral benefits (Webb, 2014; Todd, 2018). Therefore, this paper presents a detailed reflection on drugs with respect to moral and legal perceptions.
The drug is a broad term that cuts across multiple disciplines. Medicines play a vital role, for instance, in the health care industry by helping people to not only relieve pain but also heal from different medical conditions (Buchman, Skinner, & Illes, 2010; Lovering, 2015). However, it is critical to underscore the fact that each drug tends to have adverse effects. Therefore, it is wrong for people to focus on the benefits associated by a specific drug strictly. Nevertheless, the issues of morality and legality tend to arise when trying to analyze the overall effectiveness of a certain drug. Different accreditation bodies and agencies consider legal drugs as those with evidence-based benefits and approve them. However, the same agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), discuss illegal drugs as those with adverse health effects, and prevent their consumption. For instance, many countries across the world classify cannabis as an illegal drug and prohibit its use (Karst, 2018). As a result, such countries have punitive measures to ensure that their citizens do not exclusively use drugs such as cannabis, heroin, and cocaine.
Contrariwise, the same countries consider some drugs such as alcohol and Khat legal and safe for use (Webb, 2014; Todd, 2018). However, the adverse effects associated with these legal drugs are severe and affect a plethora of people across the world. For instance, Khat contains a stimulant, referred to as cathinone, whose effects are dangerous to people. For example, Khat is a significant cause of raised levels of excitement among its users, leads to loss of appetite, leads to insomnia, and causes euphoria. On the other hand, the adverse effects of alcohol are prevalent in contemporary society despite being a legal drug. These effects can be either short-term or long-term. Short-term effects of alcohol include lack of coordination, garbled speech, temporary loss of memory, and slowed breathing. Extreme drinking of alcohol may also lead to changes in one's mood and vision impairment, which may become severe in the long-run (Lovering, 2015). Long-term effects of alcohol brewing include contraction of liver diseases such as cancer and liver cirrhosis, development of cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, and permanent nerve damage.
Nonetheless, taking alcohol in large amounts over a long time can lead to respiratory infections, cause permanent blindness, and culminate in death. Unfortunately, there are numerous legalized drugs with multiple adverse effects, such as alcohol (Buchman et al., 2010; Rehm, 2011). The reasons behind the legalization of such medications raise numerous moral and ethical questions. For instance, researchers argue that it is imperative to ban alcohol and instead legalize the use of marijuana. The latter is a typical form of psychoactive drug commonly used for both medical and recreational purposes. Marijuana originates mainly from a naturally growing plant referred to as cannabis. However, cannabis is also artificially planted and domesticated in some jurisdictions, although under specialized care as the drug is illegal (Rehm, 2011; Webb, 2014; Todd, 2018). Unlike alcohol, cannabis has multiple benefits in society.
According to Karst (2018), cannabis contains numerous chemical compounds, mainly referred to as cannabinoids. Research shows that these compounds are crucial in relieving chronic pain among patients after suffering from severe conditions such as surgery following an accident. Secondly, cannabis plays a pivotal role in, helping the body to regulate the amount of insulin secreted alongside managing caloric intake. This approach is critical helping people to effectively manage their weight. Thirdly, cannabis's role in insulin regulation is crucial in regulating and preventing diabetes (Webb, 2014; Todd, 2018). Comparative research shows that marijuana is essential in helping the body to stabilize blood sugars, improve blood circulation, and lower blood pressure. These processes result in the effective prevention of diabetes. Fourthly, cannabis contains unique compounds referred to as the endo-cannabinoid, which are crucial in treating depression. These compounds help in stabilizing people's moods, which in turn lowers depression (Lovering, 2015; Karst, 2018). Therefore, the effective use of medically-beneficial drugs such as cannabis is morally critical and legally-sound as opposed to allowing the use of risky drugs such as alcohol.
Drugs are a critical component of the global health industry. Drugs not only help in relieving pain but also cure different diseases. However, drugs can be legal or illegal. This legality and illegality raise the overall question of morality. For instance, some legal drugs such as alcohol remain morally wrong due to their adverse effects. Conversely, some of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, have multiple benefits that make it critical for legalization. Therefore, it is vital to consider both the legal nature and the moral perspective of a given drug before consuming it.
Buchman, D. Z., Skinner, W., & Illes, J. (2010). Negotiating the Relationship Between Addiction, Ethics, and Brain Science. AJOB Neuroscience, 1(1), 36-45. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2910924/.
Karst, A. (2018). Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Medical Marijuana Use: A Brief Review. Pharmacy, 6(4), 128. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6306710/.
Lovering, R. (2015). A Moral Defense of Recreational Drug Use. Research Gate. 1(2), 1-213. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280879196_A_Moral_Defense_of_Recreational_Drug_Use.
Rehm, J. (2011). The Risks Associated With Alcohol Use and Alcoholism. Alcohol Research & Health, 34(2), 135-143. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307043/.
Todd, T. (2018). The Benefits of Marijuana Legalization and Regulation. Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, 23(1), 99-119. Retrieved from: https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1124&context=bjcl.
Webb, S. (2014).Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey. Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health, 73(4), 109-111.Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3998228/.
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