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Marijuana is a drug obtained from dried and crumpled parts of the universal hemp plant Cannabis sativa (or Cannabis indicia). It is smoked by rolling in tobacco paper, or by placing it in a pipe. It is also otherwise consumed worldwide by an estimated 200, 000, 000 persons for pleasure, an escape from reality, or relaxation. Marijuana is known by a variety of names such as in the United States, marijuana is called pot, grass, weed, Mary Jane, etc. The main active principle of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol. The question of marijuana being legalized has been a very controversial issue for a long time.
Its been controversial because of the bad track record it has sustained over the years. Marijuana is considered to be a schedule one drug. That means that it has a high potential for abuse and lacks an acceptance for legal medical use, as it is clearly stated under the controlled substance act. However there many pros and cons to whether it should be legalized or not. One advantage of Marijuana is that it can relieve pain where other drugs or techniques have failed, opening the door to all of the healing benefits and increased life options of pain relief. Cannabis also has direct beneficial physiological impacts on certain diseases such as glaucoma, migraine, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. (Dr.
Potter, Beverly (1998) The healing magic of cannabis. Berkeley, CA: Ronin Publishing INC. ) Marijuana is also known to help victims of various other diseases in various different ways. Pro marijuana legalization groups such as the Physicians Association for AIDS care & National Lymphoma Foundation believe that marijuana should be legalized in order to treat terminally ill patients. Among them are AIDS victims, who find that marijuana stimulates their appetites so that they can fight off dangerous emaciation. Marijuana has also been proven to be less harmful than other legal drugs. Legalizing it might decrease violence and crime, boost our economy, and allow its use as an effective form of medicine for the treatment of many fatal illnesses.
Every year, 400, 000 Americans die of complications caused by tobacco products. (S. Michels, letter, September 4 th, 1999) Smoking kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, murder, suicide, car accidents, fires, and AIDS all put together. Alcohol abuse contributes to almost 50 % of all traffic accidents, suicides, and homicides. Drinking also is known to cause liver damage and liver cancer, which is in many cases fatal. The bottom line is that tobacco and alcohol are very high-risk drugs, much higher than marijuana.
However, despite the proven dangers of these socially acceptable drugs, they are still legal. Research has yet to pin any specific dangers to marijuana and it still remains illegal while the dangerous drugs with proven effects remain legal. Alcohol prohibition tore America apart once and now it is the war on drugs, particularly marijuana. Harsh laws and the threat of lengthy jail sentences still do not stop the distribution and drug use of marijuana.
All they do is drive the price of the product up and give dealers a reason to sell, making it an impossible war to win. However there are also negative effects that the legalization of marijuana might have. Nobody disputes that marijuana is mind-altering. But is it a harmless herb or a step down the slippery slope of drug addiction? Two reports, both published in Science in June, throw a sinister light on the funny cigarettes. In the studies of rats, researchers turned up evidence that marijuana produces the same biochemical changes in the brain as heroin, cocaine (Richardson, S. (1998), Better not inhale.
New York) In addition Dennis James, Clinical Director of Assessment and General Treatment at the CAMH, has also observed adverse effects of marijuana use in some clients such as impairment in memory, impairment in problem-solving, motivation and focus, as well as moodiness. All these factors might not sound very fatal, however they do disrupt ones ability to function in total control of mind and body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active drug in marijuana used to help relieve nausea in cancer patients. This THC has been proven to lower testosterone in the blood stream for men. (Angier 15) This is not a major concern to full-grown men because the level of testosterone quickly rises back after the smoker is done smoking. However, it may be harmful to adolescent boys. "In adolescence, a boy's body is going through many changes -- it grows taller, it gets hairier, the voice deepens -- and these changes are controlled by testosterone. Marijuana could very well block the normal growth process. " says Carol Smith, of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethsheda Maryland.
Columbia University did a study on 16 men who smoked five to fifteen joints a day. After they finished smoking their sperm counts were counted. It was discovered that all of the men experienced a dip in sperm count for weeks after and had malformed sperm cells. This could cause some serious malformations in conceived children. Studies were done on female rhesus monkeys, which have very similar body chemistry to human women. The monkeys were injected with doses of THC.
The menstrual cycles of the monkeys were greatly disrupted and some stopped ovulating altogether. Says Smith, "Nothing we have ever tested including oral contraceptives, has as radical an effect on the menstrual cycle as marijuana does. " The hormones in men and women are definitely thrown off by marijuana use. (Angier 15). We have two factions fighting each other; one those who are pro marijuana and those who are anti marijuana. These two factions have been fighting on this issue on the halls of justice for years. Pro marijuana legalization groups such as the Physician's Association for AIDS Care, National Lymphoma Foundation argue that marijuana should be legalized in order to treat terminally ill patients. Among them are AIDS victims who find that marijuana stimulates their appetites so they can fight off dangerous emaciation; glaucoma sufferers who have used marijuana said it has prevented them from going blind, and cancer patients for whom it alleviates the severe nausea that is often accompanies chemotherapy and sometimes makes lifesaving treatment impossible.
Due to all these lobbying groups which show substantial evidence that marijuana can be used as a prescribed drug. Also many advocates who are pro marijuana complain that morphine and cocaine are legal and are very dangerous drugs, that brings up the question why not legalize marijuana as medical drug which is proven to be less dangerous than cocaine and morphine. Lobbying groups in a San Diego, California, council committee unanimously voted to urge President Bill Clinton and congress to end federal restrictions against the use of marijuana for legitimate medical use. " City council women Christine Kehoe said she wanted the city of San Diego "to go on the record we support the medical use marijuana. ; marijuana can be a drug of necessity in the treatment of AIDS, glaucoma, cancer and multiple sclerosis. '' Many agencies which are anti marijuana such as Drug Enforcement Agency and police departments argue that marijuana shouldn't be legalized. These agencies believe that marijuana shouldn't be legalized because if marijuana is to become legal then thousands more patients using marijuana. Then people will raise the question why marijuana illegal at all if its a medicine.
The main reason why the Drug Enforcement Agency doesn't want marijuana to be legal is because there are know hard core evidence that proves that marijuana is an effective drug as a medicine. In twenty years of research have produced no reliable scientific proof that marijuana has medical value. The American Cancer Society, American Glaucoma Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, or the American Medical Association, say that their is no evidence that marijuana is a medicine. The agencies also argues that no other drug prescribed is smoked and that knew findings show that marijuana is acutely harmful to AIDS, Cancer patients because the active ingredient in marijuana acutely reduces the bodies white blood cells which fight off infection.
The Drug Enforcement Agency along with police departments all over the United States believe, with the legalization of drugs crime will increase due to a higher increase of pot users which will eventually become addicts and will still or kill in order to get their drugs. These are the main points and reasons why the Drug named marijuana shouldn't be legalized in the United States of America. Seeing booth sides of the issue I come to a conclusion that marijuana should be legalized in order to help people suffering from terminal diseases such as AIDS, Cancer and Glaucoma. Prohibition of marijuana over the past decades hasn't diminished the demand of the drug in the United States. The use of marijuana has acutely gone up due to the mass attention given to marijuana by rappers such as Cypress Hill who promote the use of marijuana as a social drug. But I believe that marijuana is here to stay in our society and is only going through the stages that alcohol had during the prohibition era.
Marijuana will become legal due to the new administration which is liberal and who's leader, President Bill Clinton who had acutely used marijuana during the nineteen sixties. Due to all these factors marijuana will become more widely accepted by the American people who will pressure congress to rewrite the laws on the drug marijuana. Now its only a matter of time before lobbying groups pressure the legislature to legalize it. Due to legalization many states will be able to grow marijuana as a cash crop, and the United States government will be able to tax marijuana and make revenue off it. The revenue made from marijuana will be in the millions which can be used for drug rehabs and anti drug programs targeted at elementary children. All this makes one question if the idea of legalizing marijuana is that great.
There are many positive and negative effects that these actions might have, and it will probably take years until this debate will reach its solution. Theres simply not enough evidence to prove whether marijuana can be used medically, or not at this point of time.
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