Marijuana: The Good and the Bad
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*This article does not promote or discourage the use of marijuana*
Marijuana: A psychoactive drug or medicine extracted from the hemp plant (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
The main psychoactive ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The drug can be smoked, vaped, or cooked in foods. Marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes, but its main use is for its mental effects: a euphoric ‘high’ with changes in perception. Some side effects of the drug include red eyes, paranoia, and decreased short-term memory (Wikipedia).
Although there are many adverse effects of marijuana, Business Insider suggests that there are many positive medical uses. Marijuana can improve lung health, control seizures, decrease anxiety, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, treat muscle spasms, relieve arthritis, and help with Parkinson’s disease, along with many other medical conditions.
Green Flower agrees with Business Insider in that a more common medical reason for using the drug is to help cut back on alcohol. Marijuana is not only a safer drug than alcohol, but also a less addictive one. Marijuana is less likely to cause withdrawals, so it can also be used as a replacement for hard-drugs such as heroin or meth.
Another positive use for marijuana is that it can be used to treat PTSD and nightmares (Business Insider & Green Flower). The Department of Health and Human Services recently signed a proposal to test the drug on veterans with PTSD (Business Insider). This works through the release of natural cannabinoids which regulate the system that causes fear in the brain. As for nightmares, marijuana can disturb sleep cycles, especially the REM stage, which is where dreams take place. This significantly reduces nightmares and acts as a sleep aid.
Some constant positive effects of Marijuana listed by Green Flower that are unbeknownst to users are:
- It can help lose weight
- It can help depression
- It can help with ADHD
- It can help with headaches
- It can improve skin conditions
- It can be a replacement for viagra
- It provides more pleasant dreams
- It can increase productiveness and creativity
Some positive effects of the legalization of marijuana on the economy supported by Green Flower:
- It creates jobs
- Legalization creates jobs for dispensaries and farms.
- It generates revenue for schools
- Nothing is more important than educating the people of the future. Legalization of marijuana provides tax money to schools, rather than money going straight to dealers.
- It gets people out of jail
- This is important because it creates room for people who actually do bad things like murder and rape, rather than people who smoked some plants.
- It lowers crime rates
- States that have legalized marijuana have statistics that show significantly lower crime rates.
Even though some might say that marijuana has positive effects, marijuana also has many negative effects. The main short-term side effects include red eyes, dizziness, dry mouth, and fatigue (WebMD). Some say that marijuana can also cause an increase in anxiety in some people. According to drugabuse.com, there is a correlation between depression and the use of marijuana, but it is unknown whether people use marijuana because of depression or if depression is caused by marijuana. Reported by Drug Free World, a significant negative effect of the drug is that it can be addictive, and once people become addicted, it can empty their wallets very quickly.
According to Drug Free World, the main ingredient of marijuana, THC, remains in the body for weeks. The smoke causes 60% more carcinogens than tobacco. Because of this, long time marijuana smokers often suffer from bronchitis. The main reason that people avoid the drug recreationally is because marijuana has been linked to the loss of brain cells, which affects memory. It also causes abnormal cell division, which is basically heredity defects. Many children of marijuana users have been born undersized, underweight, with reduced initiative, less concentration, or even higher risks of leukemia (cancer of the bone marrow).
Since marijuana is illegal, there are major consequences for the recreational aspect. There are federal consequences for interstate trafficking, possession, and sale. According to norml.org, the first offense for possession for any amount is one year of incarceration and a $1,000 fine. The offense for sale of less than 50kg are 5 years of incarceration and a $250,000 fine. For South Carolina, possession of one ounce or less is 30 days incarceration and a $200 fine. The trafficking of less than 10 pounds is incarceration for 5 years and a $5,000 fine. This prevents the recreational and illegal use of the drug, and provides a negative punishment to stop two-time offenders.
Some say that: “Contrary to popular belief, marijuana provides many benefits such as relaxation. It gives people a time to calm down and chill so that they can get their head in the right place and succeed in the future.”
Others say that: “It’s the devil’s lettuce”
One student said “what is marijuana”