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Marajuana Essay, Research Paper

A major issue in our country today deals with a very controversial drug called marijuana. It s one of the oldest medicines in the world, but are the side effects worth the benefits? The drug itself is comes from the plant cannabis sativa. It is usually a green, brown, or grayish mixture of leaves, stems and buds, commonly taken in its smoked form. Marijuana contains over four hundred chemicals, the major mind altering chemical being THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). This chemical makes up most of the drug s composition, and is the main ingredient that will make a person stoned. However, it is also the most beneficial part of marijuana in terms of using it as a medicine. So in order to find out if the gateway drug should be used a common medicine in our country, I wrote this report.

First we ll start with all the negative information I was able to find. Marijuana is a very slow acting drug. At the actual time of the high, only a half of one percent of the THC is actually going to the user s brain. This is why it is said to have no withdrawal symptoms. It seems like a good thing on the surface, but the reason for this is because marijuana is fat-soluble. This means it is stored in your fat cells rather than flowing through your bloodstream and being filtered by your liver. Essentially, marijuana could stay in your system for weeks, even months after taking it just once. Every time you use it afterwards, it just adds to the supply stored in your fat cells. Another negative side effect is the damage it causes to the T-lymphocytes. These are tiny white blood cells that aid in the body s immune defense system. Without these, you become very prone to bacterial and fungal infections that you will not be able to fight off without medication. Marijuana can have very harmful effects on the reproductive system as well. Regular use by children who haven t completely matured can permanently retard sexual maturity. Not to mention it could destroy sperm and egg cells causing sterility. This is especially bad for girls because they can not reproduce new egg cells. Babies born to mothers who smoked marijuana during pregnancy were generally smaller, weighed less, had smaller heads, and were more susceptible to developing health or nervous system problems. Prolonged use can lead to decreased coordination even when the user is not high. They also may experience cardiovascular problems if they don t exercise regularly. This is because your blood pressure rises significantly at the time the drug is used. If your body isn t used to this from regular exercise, your heart may palpitate irregularly. In many cases of constant marijuana use, a person may eventually end up experiencing loss of short and long-term memory, mental illness, behavior abnormalities, and many other psychological problems. Marijuana users are at an enhanced risk of getting cancer. Males may experience a decrease in their sperm count and testosterone levels. Controversy, women could experience an increase in testosterone levels. Even though users can not become physically addicted, psychological dependency may occur. When a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, they are said to be dependant, or addicted. An anonymous user was quoted saying, We who are marijuana addicts know that marijuana controls our lives. We loose interest in all else. Our dreams go up in smoke. Ours is a progressive illness often leading to addictions with other drugs. Our lives, thinking, and desires center around marijuana, scoring it, dealing it, and finding ways to stay high. Some effects of lesser concern are comprised of sleepiness, a feeling of hunger or thirst, altered perception, reduced concentration, difficulty keeping track of time, bloodshot eyes, paranoia, a sense of euphoria, and hallucinations may occur with lots of use.

So now that the bad issues have been discussed, lets examine the positive effects. I ll start off with the gateway theory. This is the theory that if a person starts using marijuana, that they will ultimately move on to harder drugs. This however is no more than just a theory. It is an association of the most commonly used illegal drug, (marijuana) to uncommonly used drugs. Chances are that if a person uses cocaine or heroine, that they have also in some point in time tried marijuana. You could make the same comparison to coffee drinkers and sugar users. It s a likely assumption, that if you drink coffee, that you also use sugar. I personally believe that marijuana should be legalized for medical use. There have already been steps taken in the legalization of marijuana. In California, Prop 215 was developed to give patients the right to take the drug marinol if prescribed by a doctor. Marinol is the drug patients are given which contains small amounts of THC. It is orally administered in order to keep tar from building up in the patient s lungs. It does eliminate carcinogens entering the body, but is very hard to regulate the dosage of this synthetic drug. This drug can alleviate nausea and vomiting, and actually induce appetites in AIDS and cancer patients. Many pharmaceutical nausea control drugs are swallowed by patients, but may not work immediately and only get thrown up anyways. Marijuana stays in your body s system regardless of vomiting. People think that this will make it easier for people to get a hold of marijuana, but doctors are already prescribing morphine, cocaine, and heroin, and they re a lot worse for you than pot. Another positive side effect is that marijuana is the best overall bronchial dialator. It actually helps rid the lungs of smog. It opens the bronchi allowing more oxygen into the blood. This makes it beneficial to cigarette smokers and emphysema patients. Some tobacco smokers even quit smoking cigarettes for marijuana use. For ninety percent of the glaucoma victims, it is effective in reducing intraocular pressure, three times better than any prescription out there, allowing the patient to see better. Eighty percent of asthma patients could take marijuana instead of a legal toxic drug such as Theophylline, which is prescribed to children. One hit of marijuana could stop a full-blown asthma attack within seconds. Marijuana can reduce chest pains, shortness of breathe, and headaches with only slight use. It can also reduce muscle spasticity in patients with neurological damage. Over sixty percent of epileptics can benefit as well. Marijuana works twice as well as dilantin, a commonly administered drug given to epileptic patients. Another good aspect would be in the area of dentistry. It can cause dry mouth, which could replace a currently used chemical (Probanthine), which is highly toxic. This one drug, which everyone thinks is so bad, could replace valium, librium, thoracine, and stelacine all by itself. You probably wouldn t believe it, but marijuana is incredibly successful in reducing many types of tumors, both benign and malignant. It s too bad the DEA gave orders to defund further research of how marijuana can cure certain types of cancer, because millions of people could ve been saved from horrible deaths just by using this terrible drug. You can t tell me people would rather go through chemotherapy, which is also extremely harmful to your immune system, than take a little pot. Another shocking use for marijuana is the treatment of gonorrhea and herpes. Young un-budded hemp plants provide CBD s (cannabidiolic acids). When these acids are exposed to herpes, they react instantly to kill the bacteria. It is not a cure for herpes, but can in faster drying and healing of herpes outbreaks. Another use is in dealing with rheumatism and even arthritis pain. With people who have sleeping problems, marijuana allows people to have a higher amount of alpha time while they sleep, allowing a more restful sleep.

These are all of the medical benefits that I could come up with. However, there are many other benefits that come from the left over parts of the plant cannabis sativa. Until 1820, eighty percent of all textiles, and fabrics were made from hemp. This includes tents, beds, sheets, linen, rugs, drapes, quilts, towels, diapers, and even our flag. The benefits of this are that hemp is softer, warmer, more water absorbent, has three times the strength, and is overall more durable than cotton. Another benefit is that over fifty percent of all the chemicals used in the US today go into the production of cotton. Hemp needs no chemicals to grow and has very few weed and insect enemies. Not to mention that in the olden days, all sails, rigging, anchor ropes, cargo and fishing nets used to be made from hemp. Paper made from hemp is very tough. It can last fifty to a hundred times longer than the paper made today, is a lot cheaper to make and we won t waste half as many trees. Even more astounding is that if you rip hemp paper when it s wet, it can repair itself as it dries, returning back to a sturdy piece of paper. It can width stand heat, mildew, insects, and isn t damaged by the sunlight. Oil paintings on hemp canvas have stayed in good condition for centuries. Hemp can also be used to make paints and varnishes. It makes very good lighting oil, only surpassed by whale oil. It is believed that ninety percent of all fossil fuels could be replaced with things such as cannabis, waste paper, and other such things. Biomasses like cannabis can be converted to methane, a type of gasoline, at a fraction of the cost. The mandated use could end acid rain and reverse the Greenhouse Effect. Hemp seeds are actually highly nutritious. They contain the highest amount of essential fatty acids in the entire plant kingdom. Plus they are of the highest quality in terms of protein. Birds were examined while searching for seeds, and it was found that they would pick out the hemp seeds before all others. When these birds were further researched, they were found to live longer than those birds without the hemp seed in their diets. And a final benefit is that hemp seeds are very effective bait when you go fishing. They have been the bait of choice in Europe for years and years to come. Fish come thrashing for the hemp seeds and then get caught on the hooks. No other bait has been proven to be more effective.

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