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Marijuana, a psychoactive drug, also called cannabis, or more commonly known as pot, weed, ganja, etc, is one of the most highly consumed drug in the world, with statistics escalating up to more than 3.8% of the world’s population using it. Yet still, its consumption and effective use constantly stands as one of one of the most debatable topics encountered by countries globally. Better yet, not just countries but a clear example of the contrasting views upon marijuana legalization can also be evidenced from the manner in which certain states in the USA such as California Washington D.C., Alabama, Alaska and more have legalized recreational and medical use of cannabis whilst other states such Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, etc. that strictly prohibit its use. So what to believe in? The conventional stereotype that marijuana is a drug and a harmful narcotic, following the ‘Controlled substances Act of 1970’, or is there any scope for a broader, much improved viewpoint noticed and passed by the House judiciary committee, through the ‘Marijuana opportunity, reinvestment and expungement Act’ about the essence of cannabis – any hidden qualities we probably fail to see?
“I find it quite ironic that the most dangerous thing about weed is getting caught with it” – Bill Murray. Certainly very ironic as the many dangers of marijuana have been widely talked about and even scientifically proven. Being a narcotic that contains high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), marijuana has been highly linked to numerous health and neurotic issues such as anxiety, depression and even up to the level of causing schizophrenia, particularly in teenagers by various research institutes and organizations. Not just stopping at that, a recent study conducted by University of Oxford found that such kind of narcotics can even lead to harsh mental conditions including paranoia due to the changes in the sensory perception of its users. Other leading negative health effects of marijuana consumption include heart damage, wherein, according to a study by University of Ottawa heart Institute, people that consume cannabis are 26% more likely to suffer a heart stroke than someone that doesn’t. Moreover, It is also a known cause of serious respiratory issues like airway inflammation, wheezing and many more lung problems due to its striking similarity to tobacco. Other physical issues caused by marijuana include low testosterone, which can lead to sluggishness, weight gain and a diminished libido, appetite irregularities due to the hight cannabinoids content in the drug, risk of greater potency, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome and extensively even aggressive testicular cancer (nonseminomatous testicular germ cell tumor) mostly in males.
Moving further, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana also known as one of the causes of serious accidents, at least those that could have been easily avoided. How? High THC contents tend to reduce response time towards daily activities, including motor coordination, making reactions towards sudden obstacles while driving extremely slow, causing unfortunate accidents.
While this is a direct effect on the brain, another way in which the brain is affected and hampered is that it reduces the mathematical, analytical and scientific skills that a person uses in daily life, thereby deteriorating the neurotic condition of its users consequently causing generally poor decision making, be it business, household, college, etc.
Certain studies show that people even seem to experience quite a bit of psychosis- frequent hallucinations and loss of identity and undoubtedly even memory after the phase is over.
While the problems above intimidate upon the effects of consuming marijuana to the user, there are many more negative spillover effects towards the society they live in, in other words, us…
Another manner in which we could look at this situation economically is that, if marijuana is legalized, now that everybody can get access to it readily, it will consequently become cheaper. As a reaction to this change in price of a substitute, producers of other drugs (most probably much more hazardous than hemp) will opt to supply for lower prices so as to attract customers. In this way, more and more people will be attracted to these drugs all around the world due to foreign trade, calling upon a global health crisis.
Looking at at the other side of the coin, marijuana does have its own perks, going back to all the way to where it first began; being native to the Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia, hemp had initially been cultivated for the purpose of fibre and then became more diverse as countries like China and Korea began using it for fabrics, shoes, ropes and a type of paper and quite peculiar but in cultures like the ancient Assyrians, was also used in religious practice.
Moreover, making a striking contradiction to my main point of why cannabis is dangerous, the fact that it is also widely used for medical purposes, helping and curing people all around the world. One of the most common uses of marijuana is that it is used as a natural alleviator of pain for severe pain such as post-surgical pains and broken bones, replacing NSAIDs like Advil, for people that are unable to take them kidney problems or ulcers. It can also be used to control nausea and cure glaucoma. According to a few studies due to the CBD (Cannabidiol) content in marijuana, is some cases, people have stated that it helps prevent and control epileptic seizures and the CBD also brings about another really impressive discovery that it stops cancer from spreading and significantly slows down the grown of certain topes of brain tumor cells. It also helps slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by stopping the enzyme in the brain that forms amyloid and simultaneously deals with side effects of Hepatitis C. Hemp is also a useful drug when it comes to controlling inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, relieving arthritis pains, helping veterans suffering from PTSD, promote sleep while eliminating nightmares and much more. These medical reasons manage to form quite a strong apposition when it comes to arguments upon marijuana and many a times it has lead to this narcotic being legalized in a lot of countries. The million dollar question is, a very important fact stands right before us, Marijuana use disorder-an addiction taking effect gradually and unknowingly, how do we know when the medical savior is going to become the monster in disguise?
As we focused on earlier, apart from the personal benefits to the consumer, hemp in the market can bring about lots of other positive effects on the national economy. According to an article by Mrinalini Krishna, marijuana legalization could boost the US economy by a whopping 30% with numerous people finding employment in the cannabis market, and the large amount of tax revenue generated, both from a greater labour force as well as the many firms that are now legally earning higher profits. Besides that, legalizing marijuana would help a lot in reducing the countess black-marketeering constantly taking place within the economy, (seemingly giving the GDP a somewhat more accurate value). Lesser corruption and crime related to marijuana would also mean that the police force does not have to spend time apprehending people for these ‘petty’ things and can now concentrate on more important, greater incidents in the country.
Talking about the risks and benefits, its quite important for the fact that most of the cannabis is FDA approved and in current times, is much lesser of a risk than other narcotics such as tobacco and even alcohol. Back to the stats, approximately 90000 deaths each year are caused by excess alcohol consumption compared to which, marijuana barely even has a stand. While it is stated by the police foundation website that most motor accidents as a consequence of drugs, has 85% accidents accounted by alcohol, so why is marijuana taken into more consideration when it comes to banning good when it really has much more benefits and less harm done than other dangerous narcotics?
Marijuana clearly has its advantages and disadvantages, it depends on us what we would consider to be a prioritize but comparatively it does seem to have a heavier side of danger. We can’t risk such a drug becoming an addiction to our friends and family under the pretext of medical purposes, not in this era of technology where we have newer discoveries and alternatives to cure many of our medical issues which are probably even much more efficient in the job. We can manage to save multitudinous resources and natural habitats on the price of some tax revenue which can be generated from any other market, it doesn’t necessarily have to be narcotics.
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