Category Archives for "Euthanasia"

Insisting On Marijuana Legalization Across The World

Marijuana-The cure or just recreation?

There’s an ongoing emotionally charged global discussion on whether marijuana should be legalized as so-called recreational psychoactive substance or it should just undergo a process of decriminalization and be used for medical reasons. Strong arguments fly all over the globe while the number of users increase and the low age limit critically moves toward adolescents. Those who are pro-legalization accent enormous gap between pot and “heavy drugs”, so as the fact that marijuana doesn’t cause physical addiction or abstinence syndrome.

The percentage of teens using marijuana across America  is in increase 

They also insist on benign signs of being high, comparing weed with alcohol or smoking that manifest with far severe consequences for the user himself and people around him. Famous claim that marijuana will play a role of a trigger and lead to future using of heavy drugs also doesn’t stand ground since statistics show that majority of marijuana users tend to stick with pot.

When some medical benefits are added to that, such as using of marijuana – based drugs to prevent vomiting or cachexia in oncology patients, the controversial substance can look attractive.  Or maybe it’s just a little too much of glorification.

National Institute on Drug Abuse reports increased rate of teens using cannabis in North America

Some recent statistics indicate that over 180 million people, which is around 5% of total population, use cannabis in some form for personal joy. Its value on the illegal market is estimated to 140 billion and this market is quite spread in America. What sounds rather alarming are data showing significant increase and wide use of cannabis among teenagers with almost 15% of 8th graders tried it and one percent of them is smoking on daily bases. Weed induces a well-known state of relaxation, euphoric mood and feeling of bliss and usually, the consequences are weak and come in the form of hunger, transitory anxiety or slightly distorted perception. All of this sounds attractive to teens, but since their brains are still maturing, and neuronal connections are forming, it can lead to unexpected severe consequences.

Research conducted across Canada associate schizophrenia with using cannabis in adolescence

Young adults using marijuana expose their brains to higher risk than they imagine, increasing their chances of developing schizophrenia – like symptoms and various forms of psychosis later in life. These are the alarming results of a recently conducted study.

The study monitored nearly 2 thousand teenagers for several years and carried out a wide range of functional testing of major brain functions and psychological features. Scientists followed closely their behavior, cognitive development, chances of perception, levels of anxiety, motivation and the quality of social interactions. Furthermore, the participants passed regular EEG testing and molecular analyzes. The major aim of the study was to determine long – term effects of THC, the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis, on the brain of average adolescent, which is particularly vulnerable.

Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University revealed the results and launched further experiments

Steven Laviolette, the leader of the team of scientists, stated that statistic clearly showed morphological, molecular and behavioral persistent changes in prefrontal cortex and dopaminergic pathways, so as sub – cortical dysregulation. The overall picture resembles changes seen in patients with schizophrenia, both negative and positive type.

High risk of future expressing symptoms of psychosis is particularly found among participants with genetic predisposition, those who used cannabis more than five times and those who used cannabis rich in THC concentration.

Probably due to brain maturity, these changes were not found in a control group of adults. As a scientific contribution to the global debate on marijuana legalization, this group of scientists announced new large-scale research on the same matter soon.

Euthanasia Severely Debated Across Europe

The Netherlands is debating strongly about euthanasia

Many countries are seriously debating the raising questions and dilemma regarding euthanasia and propositions to make it legal in every country.
Medically assisted suicide and euthanasia were designed to provide professional help to terminally sick patients so they could end their life with as much dignity and as less pain as possible. Planned, steady, controlled, with the full support of their families and experts. When the legalization was formalized, the majority of candidates for euthanasia were oncology patients and people suffering severe, incurable neurological or other somatic diseases. The major idea was to free people from unbearable pain if all potential therapy methods have been exhausted.

The Netherlands was at the forefront

Back in 2002, this country has triggered the issue by becoming the first country to legalize euthanasia. Medically assisted suicide was officially accepted for those patients facing terminal illness and unbearable suffering, assuming they are in full consciousness to make this decision.

This legalization was severely criticized, but also approved by many and the medical professionals argued both opinions. More than a decade later, the country is facing new troubling trend.

Taking psychiatry patients into consideration came a bit as a surprise placing a lot of controversial ethical aspects at the table.Now the professionals and experts have to make up their minds and determine precise rules and criteria regarding emotional and psychological pain equally tearing apart many patients as physical pain can do. This put doctors in front of a bunch of tough dilemmas since we’re talking about the aspects of health modern medicine isn’t familiar enough with.

Controversial atmosphere in North Holland

This area shows alarming statistics and rapidly increasing number of patients requesting euthanasia due to mental illness or consequences of emotional trauma.
oThis brought up the first problem – How can we rate someone’s emotional pain as “unbearable” and how to be completely sure that no other therapy method could be applied?Mental health is a complex puzzle and, as cruel as it may sound, modern medicine needs these patients to study and analyze them in the quest for further knowledge and solutions. In other words, approving euthanasia to these patients could mean cutting them off the potential chance to face new found drugs or treatments that could come up within just a few years.
Other problems accented by many ethicists are the risk of taking euthanasia for granted, vague criteria, especially when it comes to minimal age of patients, so as tricky judging and estimating of suffering. Namely, there is an obvious increase in some patients with dementia requesting euthanasia due to unbearable suffering and terminal illness without a cure, but the questions are whether these patients experience their life as suffering or it is their relatives that see it that way.When it comes to patients with emotional trauma, such as sexual assault or emotionally caused anorexia, suicidal depression or personality disorders, the ethical aspects get even more complicated.

Amsterdam hosts the Euthanasia 2016 conference

Previously listed aspects of the mater are just some of the issues that have been discussed at the meeting where many experts gathered to face challenges of terminating patients’ lives.

Should modern medicine try to push borders or is it pushing them too far? What is the ethical thing to do in particular cases and how do we achieve correct approaches to this matter?

Dutch Euthanasia Commission announced its annual report on this matter where the newest achievements, results and conventions will be presented.