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Marijuana, also known as “Nugs”, “Ganja”, “African bush” are only a few of the street names given to the drug. The terms refer to various forms which compose of dried flowering composites that includes seeds, stems and leaves derived from the Cannabis plant. The predominant mind-altering chemical found in the plant is called tetrahydrocannibol (THC), it is responsible for the psychoactive properties when any form marijuana is ingested. THC being a key psychoactive substance is responsible for the disruption of the brain which cause depression, suicidal thinking, and hallucinations which are only a few of the side effects that can occur. In spite of the possible side effect, there are also benefits that result when taking or using medical marijuana, including a reduction of blood pressure, increase in appetite, and a state of relaxation.
The United States has deemed marijuana a Schedule I Controlled substance which has high abuse possibilities, and possession of the narcotic is in fact, illegal. People want it to be legalized for their own personal benefit, but many will lack the knowledge of the negative consequences that can be brought about to our society—such as an increase in drug users and addicts, cognitive and physical impediments, thus it puts public safety into question.
As a Pharmacy Major, my motivation is to be able to broaden my expertise on a popular substance used recreationally and for medical purposes. In order to provide justification for my stance, citing, researching and employing deductive reasoning that marijuana should be not legalized throughout the United States and be taken off the Schedule I classification. With the brain still developing in adolescence, an alteration in the reward system of the brain mechanisms can allow other drugs to be engrossing, leaving room for trial of other substances. Marijuana is a gateway drug, which means that it’s not completely addictive itself, but it prompts the utilization of other drugs, such as cocaine, and heroin, and alcohol. Users could be associating themselves with people who also sell drugs, use them, which increases existing users, and non-users to have a further interest on engaging in its use, with or without reason to experiment with various narcotics.
Legalization of marijuana will allow individuals to think it’s appropriate to use this drug at any given time, as well allow one to get high more prevalently, which then can lead to and increase drug abuse. With people having access to marijuana, it would permit more individuals to be less cautious about how much they use, because it’s legal, and there’s no restriction on its possession. Employing the drug at a young age, allows you to develop disorders which can be affiliated with dependence, which means people would undergo withdrawals all times they don’t take the drug in one form or another. The youth that could be more susceptible to becoming substance abusers/addicts can resort to marijuana first because it’s easier to come into contact with in comparison to other illegal drugs. Education will be impacted, having teenagers dropping out, declines in overall classroom performance, and a lack of obtaining a degree in a post-secondary institution. (“How Does Marijuana Use Affect School, Work, and Social Life?”, 2018). Thus, the increase in drug addicts and users, is unfavorable for our society, and should be a virtuous reason to illegalize the drug.
There are 60 chemicals involved in cannabinoids, the chemicals itself contribute and therefore lead to the cognitive and physical hindrances of marijuana. Within the many methods of consumption such as inhalation, oral, or topical use. the chemicals involved are able to pass into the blood stream and reach the brain in a matter of minutes. Currently, I have a Drugs and Behavior class, our professor lectured about marijuana and experiments conducted on animals, and humans who have been using any form of marijuana, which have been taken to prove the exposure to THC underlies notable brain complications such as having difficulties with motor coordination, judgment, learning and memory, because it impedes natural chemicals in the brain from functioning normally, resulting in an imbalance in the Endocannabinoid System.
For example, attempting to drive after a smoke of a marijuana cigarette can be just as dangerous as if one was under the influence of alcohol. It can slow down critical ability and refluxes while on the road by requiring a longer time to process the surroundings and responding to emergency situations. This type of situation is destructive to the community, which opens gates for car accidents, injuries, and deaths. Furthermore, a New Zealand study that was conducted found consistent marijuana usage in adolescence resulted in an average loss of 6-8 IQ points when participants were examined in adulthood. (“Marijuana.”, 2018).
In addition, the most prominent impacts were on young people whose brains are developing, maturing, and building new connections– thus the narcotic retards growth of neurological connections that are supposed to be established in young adulthood. The study was able to exhibit the essential day-to-day abilities will be impaired, increasing anxiety, panic attacks, and consistent mood changes if recreational use persists. Psychiatrists warn against the use of marijuana because the long-term cognitive consequences are irreversible. As a result, if a psychiatrist would warn against it, it’s another principled reason to add it as a reason to illegalize marijuana.
Cannabinoids in marijuana cause malfunctions in the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and neurotransmitters. Consistent usage allows for the normally functioning organs to transform into that of damaged ones. For example, an individual could be going through depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, or put into a place of psychosis, they will then resort to marijuana to self-medicate because it can be a narcotic that will allow for the symptoms they feel to temporarily terminate. However, one use isn’t going to provide a lasting effect, instead, each time they start feeling a symptom, they resort to marijuana. Which leads to consistent exposure, harming the lungs, and heart.
The Journal of the American Heart Association has published a study noting severe cardiovascular disorders materializing with the use of marijuana. (Walia 2017). From an animal study reported to CBS news, (Thompson 2016), cannabinoids effects on the cardiovascular system elevate heart rate, damage blood vessels which can heighten the likelihood of clogged arteries. When rats took a puff of the marijuana for one minute, a significant deficiency came about with their arteries carrying blood less effectively for 90 minutes, leaving a 30-minute time for recovery.
A one-minute inhalation exhibited the quick, and unbefitting effect of the depressant.Therefore, the substantial consequences that marijuana provides to mental and physical health predicaments that result in long term risks for the body, isn’t worth being in any individual’s hands. Studies being conducted on populations within young ages to adulthood, and even animals have been able to show the same long-term results persisting, whether it’s cognitive changes, lung and reproductive system damage, and adding more addicts/users to the country, are amongst a few of the agreeable reasons to keep it illegal.
Medical marijuana is used to treat the symptoms which come with illnesses by using the unprocessed extracts of the marijuana plant. It was prevalently prescribed to patients to control chronic pain which can occur after their surgeries, if bones were broken, and when other medication side effects soon became unbearable. Benefits arise with medical marijuana when they are known to being safer than opiates such as Codeine, Hydrocodone, or Fentanyl, the doctors I worked with at the Pain and Spine Unit at Presbyterian Hospital particularly preferred to prescribe it based on appropriate conditions the patients would possess, such as allergies to other medications, those with problems with their kidneys and ulcers would fit under the requirements to be granted a prescription. It can allow people to live a more fulfilling life. A Harvard publication written by a MD (Medical Doctor), expounds the phenomenal effects marijuana can work to supplement, such as functioning as a muscle relaxant which can reduce tremors involved in Parkinson’s disease.
Additionally, for veterans who may have PTSD, combing back from combat, the prescription of marijuana has alleviated individuals from pain and reported improvements from therapists. (Grinspoon, 2018). Though the advantages as provided to people are beneficial, if medical marijuana was “safe”, then the Food and Drug Administration would have approved it a long time ago, but they do not have much scientific evidence of the safeties of the drug and how potent it is for medical purposes. The FDA carries out large clinical trials to be able to demonstrate if drugs are safe or not, and thus the FDA has not been able to prove that it even is. (“What’s Wrong With ‘Medical Marijuana’?” 2014). Just because doctors have the right to prescribe it, if a federal agency disapproves of it, it should stay prohibited.
Conclusively, marijuana which has been viewed to be a depressant, and a Schedule 1 drug shall remain illegal, because it results in long-term psychological and physical destruction to the body, a rise in drug addicts and users, and a risk to public safety. Ultimately, the long-term effects will catch up to an individual, and have high chances of shortening one’s life span. It’s most commonly used and abused, and several are unaware of the costs it can come with. Moreover, to understand the other side of the spectrum, medical marijuana is in existence to alleviate one from suffering—mental or physical. Despite the convenience it can provide, it doesn’t mean it should be legalized because there could be individuals who can fake illnesses, get prescriptions from the doctor, and utilize the narcotic for erroneous motives. Hence, marijuana must remain illegalized for the benefit of the United States and its citizens.
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