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Marijuana Essay, Research Paper

I. Marijuana causes behavioral changes

A. Chronic Marijuana users become more aggressive

during withdrawal.

People who have smoked marijuana daily for many years display more aggressive

behavior when they stop smoking the drug, according to a new study by

researchers at Harvard Medical School. The study, funded by the National

Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, is further

evidence that a withdrawal syndrome is associated with abstinence from long-term

marijuana use, and suggests that aggressive behavior is part of this syndrome.

Human and animal studies conducted since the early 1970’s have suggested the

existence of a marijuana withdrawal syndrome, characterized by insomnia,

restlessness, loss of appetite, and irritability. "This syndrome–although

less dramatic than the withdrawal syndrome associated with alcohol, opiate, or

cocaine withdrawal–may contribute to relapse among those dependent on

marijuana," says NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner. "People addicted

to marijuana may continue to use the drug at least partly to prevent the onset

of withdrawal symptoms. Identifying the exact nature of this syndrome is crucial

to developing treatment strategies for those attempting to stop their marijuana

use."

The Harvard study, using a computer test of aggressive behavior, compared 17

long-term heavy users of marijuana with 20 people who were infrequent or former

smokers. All of the volunteers were abstaining from the use of marijuana and all

other drugs of abuse during the study. To avoid any suggestive influences, the

investigators did not reveal to the volunteers that their aggressive behavior

was being studied. Instead, the volunteers were told that they were

participating in a test designed to measure movements and a variety of

physiological characteristics, such as pulse rate and body temperature. They

were also told that another volunteer of the same sex was sitting in another

experimental chamber and would be participating in the test with them.

Facing each volunteer in the experimental chamber was a computer monitor and

a response panel. On a panel were two buttons, labeled A and B. Pressing A 100

times allowed the volunteer to gain 1 point, which was worth 50 cents. Pressing

B 10 times subtracted 1 point from the other participant, who, in actuality, was

not a person but a computer. Three 1-second beeps signaled that the

"opponent" was subtracting 1 point from the volunteer. The researchers

labeled the pressing of B as an aggressive response, and the point subtractions

from the volunteers as provocations.

The volunteers participated in one of these sessions on each of five

different occasions: at the beginning of the study, and at days 1, 3, 7, and 28

of abstinence. Results showed that the current marijuana users became

significantly more aggressive, as indicated by the number of times they pressed

B, on days 3 and 7 of withdrawal, as compared to the infrequent of former

marijuana users.

(National Institute on Drug Abuse)April 20,1999

B. Each youth?s brain wave tracings

(Electroencephalograms) Showed dysfunction

Research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show

that previously well–adjusted and intellectually endowed children inexplicably

are falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the

only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use. Marijuana use leads to

an inability to recognize good from bad, an inability to retain a strong

self–image, and an inability to visualize and plan for the future. Using

marijuana makes "great" people average, and average people

"dumb". Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic

to brain cells.

(Robert C. Gilkeson, M.D.)

C. Well adjusted and intellectually endowed children

Inexplicably are falling apart academically and

Emotionally with occasional marijuana use

Research studies of youngsters from kindergarten through high school show

that previously well–adjusted and intellectually endowed children inexplicably

are falling apart academically and emotionally in the teenage years with the

only new factor being that of occasional marijuana use. Marijuana use leads to

an inability to recognize good from bad, an inability to retain a strong

self–image, and an inability to visualize and plan for the future. Using

marijuana makes "great" people average, and average people

"dumb". Marijuana use is toxic to all cells, and most especially toxic

to brain cells.

(Robert C. Gilkeson, M.D.)

D. These impairments are the cause of the increase of violent and non violent

juvenile crimes

These impairments are the cause of increased violent and non-violent juvenile

crime, truancy and school dropout, teenage runaways and vagrancy, teenage

prostitution and pregnancy, venereal disease, adolescent depression and suicide,

poly-substance use and adolescent psychiatric referrals. Most alarming of all is

the fact that we have witnessed the appearance of a new chronic organic brain

syndrome called "burnout" caused by marijuana use.

Robert C. Gilkeson, M.D.)

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