November 6, 2014
Pro Medical, Anti-Recreational
According to dictionary.com, marijuana is “the dried leaves and female flowers of the hemp plant, used in cigarette form as a narcotic or hallucinogen.” In our world today, marijuana is a hot topic because of the health advantages that come along with it. However, with advantages, there are disadvantages. The advantages are apparent when this narcotic is being used in a medical setting, under legal protection. If marijuana were legalized for recreational use, many bad side effects could come about concerning the health of the individuals who use and abuse this narcotic. Due to the health risks, medical marijuana should be legal in the United States, but recreational marijuana should remain illegal.
To begin, marijuana can pose many good advantages when used in a proper setting and should be legal for medicinal purposes. For example, an article written by Anne Harding looked at the different areas that can be helped with marijuana. It has been proved to help with many chronic diseases. It can control muscle spasms when dealing with multiple sclerosis and it helps cancer patients with their nausea from the chemotherapy treatments. If someone’s appetite has declined due to diseases such as HIV, marijuana will help regain their food cravings and promote weight gain. Of course there are side effects to using marijuana in a medical setting, just like any other drug, but they are only temporary. They include dizziness, drowsiness and slight short term memory loss (Harding, 2013). Also, THC, the main ingredient in marijuana, is told to help reduce pressure in the eyes which in turn reduces glaucoma. A report filed in 2014 says the hemp in this drug is a strong reducer of cancer, diabetes, ulcers, migraines and insomnia (“Marijuana,” 2014). When used for the right purposes, medical marijuana can be very beneficial. There are still many tests being done to see how marijuana helps others. If it is used under the right circumstances and for the right reasons, it can be used to treat many illnesses. Once the doctors have the knowledge and once marijuana is studied more, in the near future, marijuana should be able to be legalized under specific circumstances.
However, there are many more bad side effects to smoking marijuana just for recreational use, and it should not be legalized. For example, on the White House website, it is claimed that one of the main areas affected by the misuse of marijuana is the brain. The THC affects areas in the brain called the cannabinoid receptors. Once the drug are in these receptors, reactions start to take place creating the “high” that people claim to feel. The “high” causes partial perceptions, it make it hard to think and problem solve because it harms coordination, and also affects memory and learning. Marijuana also affects the respiratory system by increasing the risk of heart attack five times more than one who does not use marijuana. It also has more cancer-causing toxins than cigarettes (“Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Marijuana”, 2010). An article titled “Facts about Marijuana” states that THC is stored in the fat of our brains so it can potentially stay there for up to one month. Improper use of marijuana can also weaken the immune system. It lowers the white blood cell count which help to fight off infection and illness. With a lowered number of white blood cells, marijuana users would not be able to fight off diseases as well. In women, because of the THC, ovulation and fertility may drop, and if a woman were to become pregnant while smoking marijuana, the toxins will affect the baby’s growth and development (“Facts about Marijuana,” n.d). The health and wellness of a person could decrease due to recreational marijuana use.
Physical health is not the only area in which marijuana harms. Mental health and a person’s work, school and family relationships are affected as well. According to