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Cannabis may well be the most hotly debated drug some advocating for its legalization, others maintaining that it is a gateway to the so-called hard drugs. Using the text and additional materials, argue the case for marijuana being a dangerous drug on its own merits (regardless of your personal view). Marijuana has dangerous long term and short term effects. Inaba and Cohen (2004) discuss marijuana by stating that, “within a few minutes of smoking the user becomes confused, drowsy, and may have trouble concentrating” (p.252). The authors go on to say that the user may see distortions in color, or hear distortions in sound. The user may also suffer short term memory loss. Inaba and Cohen (2004) maintain that “there is a loss of the ability to appropriately discern distances and depth” (p.253). For this reason, it would be very dangerous for an individual to operate a motor vehicle. Gupta (2006) warns that “if you get high before climbing behind the wheel of a car, you will be putting yourself and those around you in danger” (p.01).

Marijuana called Cannabis Sativa or referred to as hemp, comes from a growing plant and thrives in all climates (Jaguar Education, 2001). It was originally used for making clothes or medicine and industrial purposes. Then early in the 20th century, it was a symbol of rebellion and protest for the youth and young adults. The whole plant is used, the leafy, flowering buds are smoked as marijuana. The stems, called hemp, may be used as industrial use to fabricate paint, rope, or some construction material. Resin from the plant is made into hashish or hashish oil that is smoked, and has a high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or the psychoactive substance in marijuana (Inaba & Cohen, 2002). Hemp is used to describe plants that are high in fiber content, where marijuana is used to describe Cannabis plants that are high in THC or psychoactive substances. Then there is the sinsemilla technique where the marijuana is grown saturated in the THC content.

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The majority of marijuana used in the U.S. comes from Mexico and Columbia, unless it is being grown in the U.S. (Inaba & Cohen, 2002). Marijuana was outlawed in the late 1930’s in the U.S. for anything but medicinal purposes (Jaguar Films, 2001). It was made a crime to possess or grow the plant, then in the 1950’s the Marijuana Act was passed so the user and the dealer or growers of marijuana could face stiff prison terms for the use or trafficking in marijuana.

The long term effects of marijuana use are even more severe. Gupta (2006) cites that marijuana use can “lead to long-lasting depression or anxiety” (p.01). Inaba and Cohen (2004) discuss respiratory problems stating that “marijuana smoking on a regular basis leads to symptoms of increased coughing with acute and chronic bronchitis” (p.253). Additionally the author’s share that marijuana use combined with cigarette use is even more dangerous to individual’s lungs. There is also evidence that smoking marijuana may be detrimental to an individual’s natural immune system. Although some individuals would argue the use of marijuana to alleviate pain, it may be dangerous to put a sick individual at risk to contract colds flu’s or more serious ailments. Smoking marijuana can make it difficult for an individual to concentrate. Most individuals have several commitments that they are responsible for. Marijuana use will only slow down an individual’s progress towards meeting these goals. Inaba and Cohen (2004) discuss acute mental effects by stating that “if marijuana with high THC levels is smoked, acute anxiety or temporary psychotic reactions can occur” (p.253). This would not be healthy for the individual or for those that surround them.

Marijuana is even more dangerous when mixed with other substances like embalming fluid. Marijuana is a gateway drug. Inaba and Cohen (2004) state that “in a recent study of twins, those who smoked marijuana were 2.1 to 5.2 times more likely to develop alcohol or drug dependence” (p.257). As with all drugs that are not prescribed by a physician, marijuana can have detrimental effects on an individual’s health and personal relationships. While this drug may be understood by the general population to be less harmful then other drugs, it can greatly impede the success of the individual user. It is more beneficial to solve a problem, and experience the pains of the problem, then to escape through drugs. When an individual feels that it is fine to use marijuana, they may feel that it is fine to use other drugs in the future. Later an individual may look back to their first experience with marijuana and credit that experience to when they lost control over their life. According to an article titled Kids and marijuana: Not a harmless high, “Kids who use marijuana regularly show a decrease in academic achievement. Even short-term marijuana use has been shown to cause problems with memory, learning, cognitive development and problem solving” (p.01). With all the problems that young people experience today, marijuana use does not need to be one of them.

References

Gupta, S. (2006). Why I would vote no on pot. Retrieved August 15, 2007, from

Time Magazine: www.time.com.

Inaba, D. S., & Cohen, W. E. (2004). Uppers, downers, all Arounders: Physical and

mental effects of psychoactive drugs (5th ed.). Ashland, OR: CNS Publications, Inc.

Jaguar Educational Films. (2001). The grass is not always greener. Atlantis Beach,

FL: Jaguar Educational Films.

Kids and Marijuana: Not a harmless high. (2007). Retrieved August 15, 2007, from

Parents: The anti-drug: www.theantidrug.com.

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