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Marijuana is a compound extracted mostly from the flowers of the Indian hemp plant. Marijuana is brownish in color and is made up of dried-out hemp plant leaves, roots, and flowers. When weed is smoked, it emits a strong sweet odor. According to Ray, weed, and hashish contain over 400 chemicals (1). THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound that induces intoxication or the "high" in pot smoking. This chemical is responsible for generating effects that cause mental improvements, thus classifying marijuana as a "drug." Marijuana may be consumed by the body by smoking, ingesting it, or boiling it as tea. The use of marijuana is dubbed illegal as a result of its addictive properties. People who start to take marijuana ultimately become addicted and as a result, the drug dictates their lives. Marijuana has also been acknowledged to have a permitted medical use. According to Connoly, even though marijuana has been linked with the treatment of glaucoma and cancer mostly amongst the Americans, the innovation has not been taken seriously in the international community (55). Arguments such as this have made the medical value of marijuana appear controversial. In addition, the usage of marijuana has been linked with narcotics such as heroin which are thought to have severe effects once abused. Narcotics has been under parameters in the early antidrug laws. Due to its closeness to heroin, marijuana has been labeled an unusual leisure drug. Furthermore, marijuana has been allied to losers and truant kids thus making it an outdated way of living. The drug has been linked to the oppressed ethnic people, for example, the Mexican Americans in the case of the US. The blanket ban on the drug was, thus, seen as a measure of discouraging the community subgroups from developing. Likewise, lawyers do not regard in high esteem the cases involving marijuana legalization. They generally reason on the basis of its medical gains, creativity promotion, and ethical advancement. Specifically, it does not seem persuasive enough since the community appearance of a marijuana user is that of a loser at risk of either being taken to jail or arrest.
Marijuana is widely known around the world and is prohibited in most countries. Some countries have severe punishment for marijuana users while others are tolerant. Nevertheless, more and more people are choosing to side with pro-marijuana legalization in the United States. Individuals who never had time for the legalization of marijuana or were heavily biased against it are now beginning to believe that making marijuana legal would turn out to be valuable to America. There are a number of arguments on why marijuana should be legalized.
One of the popular arguments against the use of marijuana is that it is detrimental to the human body, particularly when consumed in large quantities. The human body is two-thirds composed of water, demonstrating its importance in preserving human life. In spite of this, too much water taken over a short duration can kill a human being. Similarly, this can be said in regards to the use of marijuana. It is just as unsafe to humans as cigarettes and alcohol. Smoking of cigarettes has been blamed for leading to almost 5 million deaths a year. Its active compound is nicotine, which is incredibly addictive when consumed. Conversely, overconsumption of alcohol leads to liver damage and “in 2012, about 3.3 million net deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to alcohol consumption” (“Alcohol”). The reality is that the only factor dividing alcohol and tobacco from marijuana is its illegality.
Legalization of marijuana can have a big impact on the economy. By making marijuana legal, the government could tax marijuana in the same way tobacco is taxed, thus, providing more money in the economy. In addition, imprisonment due to marijuana is very expensive due to the prison populations. The amount of money spent safeguarding the streets against marijuana could easily be utilized beneficially and productively by assisting in awareness raising, medication, and counteracting its use. This will subsequently reduce the number of people in jail purely because some people have been sent to prison merely because of smoking marijuana.
Building off its economic benefits, legalizing marijuana will lead to the reintegration of hemp into our society. Conrad mentions that hemp whose industrial properties are close to marijuana is a herb that can grow well in hard conditions and also grows from seed each year (7). Conrad also adds that industrial hemp has more economic value to farmers and manufacturers alike due to its numerous commercial uses for its fiber and oil (9). Currently, farming of hemp has been prohibited since it is deemed to be marijuana. Hemp has several industrial uses that trump the present resources being used by America. Common among this is the manufacturing of textile based products. Fibers from hemp are significantly sturdy and are suitable for the making of a number of products such as paper, textile fabric, and rope.
Hemp has a higher crop harvest per acre when compared to cotton, contains more protein than soy and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, you can produce four times as much paper from an acre of marijuana than an acre of trees; plus, marijuana can be harvested at a quicker rate than trees (Cannabis News).
The principal quality of hemp is its power to generate considerable amounts of cellulose. Through research, cellulose has been transformed into a biofuel termed cellulosic ethanol. This can be used to generate more power than gasoline and is being manufactured from corn and cotton seeds. According to Cannabis News, the advantage of hemp over other seeds is that it can be produced more frequently than cotton, and it yields four times the amount of cellulose you can get from a corn stalk (1). All the hemp in use in America is imported from nations such as Canada and China who farm the crop. If hemp was grown here, it would bring revenue to the economy in addition to the trickling effects of job creation and the reduction in dependency on fossil fuels.
In recent years, the campaign towards legalization of marijuana has been gaining ground as most states and territories across America have approved the use of marijuana for medical or recreational use with some reducing penalties for being in possession of marijuana. The free American also states that the federal government is also cutting down on a number of funds it puts aside for interdiction and prosecution (1). According to Jones, Americans' support for legalizing marijuana is the highest Jones has measured to date, at 58% (1). In addition, almost half of all U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes (McKenzie, Pinger, and Kotecki 340). If a national referendum were to be held today in America, legalization of marijuana would win with a resounding victory. In parts, for instance, Washington and Denver, states which are tolerant to cannabis, the general way of life has not fallen apart nor the overwhelming of state prisons or resources due to the effects of cannabis. Marijuana should consequently be legalized since it is only a matter of time before all states will succumb to pressure for legalization and no adverse effects have been realized in those states where marijuana is legal.
Marijuana has demonstrated health benefits. Making marijuana legal will expand the capabilities of doctors to practice in their field and enable researchers to discover new ways of making use of marijuana. It can be used in the treatment and averting glaucoma, a condition which leads to the pressure increase in the eyeball causing injury to the optical nerve with corresponding loss of vision. Marijuana decreases pressure inside the eye (Welsh and Loria). Marijuana also does not weaken lung operations and “can even increase lung capacity” (Welsh and Loria). According to a research carried out over a period of 20 years in search of risk factors of heart ailments, “tobacco smokers lost lung function over time, but pot users actually showed an increase in lung capacity” (Welsh and Loria). It is likely that the amplified lung capacity was due to taking deep breaths at the same time as inhaling the drug and not from a healing chemical found in the drug.
Marijuana has been proved to control epileptic seizures. The cannabinoids such as the active ingredients in marijuana have been seen to control seizures in rats by regulating the brain cells responsible for controlling relaxation. Indeed, the results that were presented offered evidence that warrants a comprehensive assessment of cannabinoid use in the control of refractory epilepsy via the use of animal models and placebo-controlled clinical trials (Wallace et al. 130). Marijuana users who have consumed medical marijuana have alluded to the fact that the drug assisted them in easing their pain and subduing nausea – the two major purposes it’s often utilized to get rid of chemotherapy side effects. Marijuana has been said to reduce apprehension in humans. This was attributed to researchers at Harvard Medical School who mentioned that the drug improved the mood of the smoker and performed similarly to sedatives in low doses(Welsh and Loria).
Marijuana has also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2006 study discovered that THC, an active chemical in marijuana, was a significantly superior inhibitor of Alzheimer’s. It reduced the creation of plaques by hindering the brain enzymes that produces them.
Marijuana can also reduce the painful signs of multiple sclerosis. Corey-Bloom et al. took 30 patients with sclerosis for study (Corey-Bloom et al. 1145) with hurting spasms in their muscles. The patients had no response to other medical care, but they experienced less aching after smoking marijuana for a few days. Patients with hepatitis C suffer from severe treatment that has adverse side effects such as exhaustion, vomiting, muscle pain, loss of taste buds, and depression. Many individuals do not complete their treatment due to the negative side effects they face. Nevertheless, a 2006 study discovered that 86% of patients using marijuana successfully finalized their treatment. The results suggested that a small amount of cannabis may offer symptomatic and virological benefit to some patients undergoing HCV treatment by helping them maintain adherence to the challenging medication regimen (“Cannabis News - Marijuana, Hemp, And Cannabis News”)
In conclusion, marijuana as any other substance has both its merits and demerits. Nevertheless, it is a substance that has the power to be both useful to humans and destructive to them. Notwithstanding the many disadvantages of marijuana, the advantages of making marijuana legal far overshadow the disadvantages. The use of marijuana can be done through several ways. They include through the mouth, on the skin, through tincture, and through the vein. The cannabis plant has been proved to treat several acute and chronic sicknesses for example glaucoma, cancer therapy and slowing down the effects of Alzheimer’s. Marijuana use does not lead to the user being addicted, suffering from withdrawal symptoms or acquire a worsening behavior. The use of marijuana in medicine should be affected as the advantages are greater than the disadvantages. Moreover, marijuana has the potential to save the government a lot of money from the judicial processes brought about as a result of marijuana arrests, and increase the proceeds to the government resulting from taxes and production. State after state is slowly reducing or minimizing laws that govern the use and ownership of the marijuana. The money saved from marijuana-related cases can be channeled to other pressing needs such as healthcare. In general, the legalization of marijuana is an ongoing debate in many nations and the US in particular for the reason that while marijuana is believed to be unsafe and illegal, it has the potential of saving the government billions of dollars every year. Nevertheless, the conclusion of the medical or economic benefits of marijuana still has a long way to go.
"Alcohol." World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/topics/alcohol_drinking/en/. Accessed May 09, 2017.
“Cannabis News - Marijuana, Hemp, and Cannabis News.” cannabisnews.com, http://www.cannabisnews.com/. Accessed May 09, 2017.
Connoly, Sean. Marijuana. Black Rabbit Publishers, 2006.
Conrad, Chris. Hemp for Health: The Medicinal and Nutritional Uses of Cannabis Sativa. Inner Traditions/Bear & Co, 1997.
Corey-Bloom, Jody, et al. "Smoked Cannabis for Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial." Canadian Medical Association Journal, vol. 184, no. 10, 2012, pp. 1143-1150.
Jones, Jeffrey M. "In U.S., 58% Back Legal Marijuana Use." Gallup.com, 21 Oct. 2015. http://www.gallup.com/poll/186260/back-legal-marijuana.aspx. Accessed May 09, 2017.
McKenzie, James, Robert Pinger, and Jerome Edward Kotecki. An Introduction to Community Health. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2011.
Ray, Oakley. “What Chemicals Are in Marijuana and Its Byproducts.” ProCon.org, 8 July 2009, http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000636. Accessed May 09, 2017.
Wallace, Melisa J., et al. "The Endogenous Cannabinoid System Regulates Seizure Frequency and Duration in a Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy." Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, vol. 307, no. 1, 2003, 129-137.
Welsh, Jennifer and Kevin Loria. "23 Health Benefits of Marijuana." Business Insider, 20 Apr. 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4. Accessed May 09, 2017.
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