Every 54 seconds, someone in the country is arrested for smoking marijuana. While some see this as a sign of the epidemic proportions of marijuana use in this country and as support for a continued crackdown; others argue that pot arrests are a waste of time and money, and a sign that its — forgive the pun — high time to legalize marijuana. What do you think: should lighting up a joint, join, beer drinking and puffing tobacco as an inalienable American rights?
Supporters of legalized marijuana argue that it should be legalized to protect the greater social good, to prevent government hypocrisy towards recreational drug use, and to protect individual rights of choice. By defining all marijuana use as criminal, they argue, we are clogging courts and already-overburdened prisons, wasting police resources, and needlessly destroying the lives and jobs of otherwise model citizens. By legalizing marijuana, we would not only avoid these problems, we would also be drying up the money that goes to organized crime and drug smugglers through the marijuana market.
The government would be able to regulate marijuana, preventing more dangerous substances from being combined with it. The economic benefits of legalization of marijuana would also be substantial. Not only would the government receive revenue from marijuana taxation, farmers would also be able to grow hemp, which was an important source of fiber for rope, cloth, and paper in the United States until sixty years ago. Marijuana, AKA: pot, dope, grass, weed, Mary Jane, reefer, ganja, kaya, and doobie, an illegal drug, is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa.
It can be eaten in certain foods or smoked. Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States. Fewer than one in four high school seniors say they are current users. And fewer than one in five eight-graders report using the drug in the past year. The effects vary from person to person depending on how strong the marijuana is, how its taken and whether other drugs or alcohol are involved. At first, pot can make people feel relaxed, in a good mood and even silly.
Users will likely experience dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of coordination and poor sense of balance, and slower reaction times, along with intoxication. Blood vessels in the eye will expand causing the red-eye effect. Smoking marijuana may impair short-term memory while people are using the drug. This happens because all forms of marijuana contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana, which alters the way the brain works. After a few minutes, paranoia or anxiousness may set in, then intense hunger (a. k. a. the munchies). Finally, sleepiness.
For some people, marijuana raises blood pressure slightly and can double the normal heart rate. This effect can be greater when other drugs are mixed with marijuana. Adding more evidence to shatter the myth that marijuana is not an addictive drug, researchers in Massachusetts have identified significant withdrawal symptoms in 60 percent of participants in the first out-of-laboratory study of chronic marijuana users. Symptoms included increases in irritability, anxiety and physical tension, as well as a decreases in appetite and mood, among participants the four-week study.
Experiments performed on mice at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that THC, the major psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, may promote tumor growth by impairing the body’s anti-tumor immunity system. In addition, researchers say smoking marijuana may be more of a cancer risk than smoking tobacco because the tar portion of marijuana smoke contains higher concentrations of carcinogens. They also say marijuana smoke deposits four times as much tar in the respiratory tract as does a comparable amount of tobacco.
Further studies will be needed to evaluate this possibility. Article published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in March 2000. NIDA-supported researchers demonstrate that individuals who regularly smoke marijuana experience withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, stomach pain, aggression, and anxiety, after they stop smoking the drug. A group of researchers in Boston found that middle-aged marijuana users were almost five times more likely than usual to suffer a heart attack after smoking marijuana.
The study also showed that marijuana negatively impacts heart health by increasing heart rate, dilating blood vessels, increasing blood pressure, and decreasing the amount of oxygen that the blood vessel can carry to the heart muscle. The smoke still hasn’t cleared in the debate over the medical use of marijuana, but a prestigious panel of experts said Thursday there is promising evidence that smoking pot may ease the suffering of some seriously ill patients. The chairman of an eight-member panel of specialists sponsored by the National Institutes of Health suggested that some new studies should be done.
I’d say that for at least some of the potential indications, we feel that it looks promising enough to recommend that there would be some new controlled studies done,” Dr. William Beaver, a professor of pharmacology at Georgetown University, told a news conference. The panel concluded that while marijuana smoking may help some patients deal with cancer, AIDS or glaucoma, there is little hard scientific evidence. Although a final committee report is not complete, “the general mood was that for some indications, there is a rationale for looking further into the therapeutic effects of marijuana,” Beaver said.
NIH might finance studies. Another panel member, eye specialist Dr. Paul Palmberg of the University of Miami School of Medicine, said that in at least one of his patients, smoking marijuana had been an effective treatment for glaucoma some years ago. He said that Marijuana is definitely effective for some patients in which nothing else worked eight or 10 years ago, but that may not be the case now, it needs to be looked at again. Dr. Alan Leshner, head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, organized the meeting after California and Arizona enacted state laws that allow medical uses of marijuana.
Under U. S. w, marijuana is illegal and has no approved clinical use. Leshner said NIH would finance medical marijuana studies, if proposed research is approved by the agency’s peer-review process. The White House did ask NIH to see if marijuana, when smoked, has any medical benefit. “The major problem here is getting good, scientific data. That is the bedrock of the whole enterprise, Beaver said. Marijuana’s active ingredient, a compound called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, exists in pill form. But proponents of the drug say it’s much more effective when smoked, because that way, patients can control the dosage.
Marijuana has been widely touted as a treatment for the drastic weight loss associated with AIDS and for reducing the nausea caused by chemotherapy. “Three years ago, I lost 40 pounds due to AIDS wasting syndrome, AIDS patient Kiyoshi Kuromiya said. “I since regained that 40 pounds thanks to smoked marijuana. ” Panelist Dr. Kenneth Johnson of the University of Maryland Hospital said it’s possible that smoked marijuana helps to control some multiple sclerosis symptoms. But there have been no comprehensive studies. Smoking pot is linked to many behaviors that can screw up your plans.
Marijuana affects memory, judgment and perception even in the short-term, as was found in a study conducted by Pope and Yurgelun-Todd published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It can mess you up in school, in sports or clubs, or with your friends. If you’re high on marijuana, you are more likely to make stupid mistakes that could embarrass or even hurt you. If you smoke a lot, you could start to lose interest in how you look and how you’re getting along at school or work. Athletes could find their performance is off; THC affects timing, movements, and coordination.
Also, according to a study conducted by Reitbrock and Harder, using pot can affect thinking and judgment, which can mean users may do things they wouldnt do with a clear head. This can mean unsafe sex or other risky behaviors. We can debate this issue all day long. I dont feel America is ready to legalize marijuana at this time. Give it some time and some extensive comprehensive studies, and then, maybe, just maybe there could be a place in the medical field for this herb, if it is administrated in a controlled environment.