The active ingredient in marijuana is THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, but this is only one of the 400 other chemicals that are in the plant (TheWELL). It was prescribed for conditions such as labor pain, nausea, arthritis, and rheumatism (DeLisle). It was only after individuals began committing crimes while under the influence of Marijuana that the U. S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics gave marijuana the image of a powerful, addicting, substance that would lead users into a more serious addiction.
In the 1960s, it was mainly used by college students and “hippies,” and subsequently became a symbol of rebellion against authority. Marijuana use became a commonplace issue in congress which led to The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 which classified marijuana along with LSD and heroin as S1 drugs, otherwise known as substances which have the highest relative abuse potential and no form of medical use (DEA). Widespread eradication of marijuana and marijuana products began. The current opponents of marijuana legalization claim that marijuana does have addictive qualities and is an epidemic on America’s youth.
This crowd presents that marijuana is a “silent-killer” due to a fungus and mold which can easily grow on the part which is smoked by users (PRNewswire). This fungus can cause lung cancer and they have deemed marijuana as bio-hazardous. The opposition also goes to say that marijuana can have adverse effects on the brain and can cause brain-cells to die. Some research suggests that use of marijuana during pregnancy can result in premature birth and low birth weights and can even cause temporary loss of fertility.
Along with adverse effects on the reproductive system, the opposition claims that marijuana use during adolescence can be harmful to physical and sexual development. This side pushes for further prohibition of marijuana and stricter punishments due to their beliefs that the negatives outweigh the benefits. In the middle of this debate, stand the moderate marijuana use supporters. This side views marijuana use as a potential alternative to painkillers which are detrimental to vital organs. This crowd is mainly made up of physicians and health-care professionals, as wells as patients of chronic illnesses and pain.
Doctors and nurses say that cannabis is a less toxic and less expensive medicine for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, migraines, cancers, and many other disorders which cause chronic symptoms and pain. This side also states that marijuana’s versatile nature allows patients to gain the pain relieving effects through ingestion, canceling out the negative effects of smoking. Besides all these benefits, this crowd pushes for a safe, reliable and quality-controlled source of marijuana which can only be achieved through legalization.
It is believed that after this source is created, many adverse effects of “bad” marijuana will disperse. Another camp of this debate is the supporters of full legalization of marijuana use and growth for medicinal and recreational use. These supporters claim that marijuana should be allowed to be used in the way alcohol and cigarettes are used recreationally. They state these comparisons have worse long-term effects than THC and yet they are taxed and regulated. Another point they make is that marijuana would inject millions of dollars into the economy once government grown marijuana is taxed.
Besides the smoking and ingesting of the drug, the plant can be used for its naturally produced fiber known as hemp. This can be cultivated from the stem of the plant and used commercially and industrially for paper, textiles, biodegradable products and medical purposes. Overall, they believe the claimed dangers of marijuana are exaggerated and not enough medical trials have been done to verify these claims. As a college level youth and the Legalization of marijuana use in California is on the ballot, I am interested in learning about this issue before I cast my vote.
I have seen the benefits of medicinal marijuana in my family and can attest to the pain relieving effects. As for the recreational use, I believe that alcohol is a much more dangerous substance that can be detrimental to mental and physical health and cause irrational decisions while under the influence. Prohibition has shown to not be a viable solution in the past and I don’t think it can ever solve anything. Regulation on the other hand can prove to be effective because substances will not be bought and traded illegally. I think the legalization of marijuana will improve lives, decrease crimes, and slightly improve the economy.
Works Cited DeLisle, Judi. _Medical Marijuana Research Guide. Valencia West Campus Library_. Web. 20 Mar. 2007. 7 Apr. 2010. “DEA, Controlled Substances Act. ” Welcome to the United States Department of Justice. Web. 08 Apr. 2010. “The Marijuana Initiative Is a Silent Killed and It Should be Defeated – Los Angeles, March 25/PRNewswire/. ”_PR Newswire: Press Release Distribution, Targeting, Monitoring and Marketing. _Web. 08 Apr. 2010. “Fact Sheet – Marijuana. ” The WELL – The Birthplace of the Online Community Movement. Web. 08 Apr. 2010.