Marijuana: Should It Be Legalized? Marijuana is the most common illegally used substance in the United States of America (National Institute of Drug Abuse). The drug itself has grown immensely in popularity in recent decades. The major problem with the drug is the naive misconception that the general public has of Marijuana; the general public believes that Marijuana is harmless and more medicinal than anything. While, Marijuana is not the most deadly or most addictive of drugs, disregard those facts and one would still have a drug. The drug can still cause dependence and physical ailments, if abused in such a manner as any drug. There is a growing trend in this country amongst adults in this country fifty percent would favor legalizing Marijuana; that is the single highest approval rating for Marijuana in history (Gallup). It’s the third most recreationally used substance in the United States only behind alcohol and tobacco (Gallup). More than ever before this drug is going to increasingly appear on the ballot of many states and maybe eventually federally by our lawmakers, should this iconic drug be legalized? No, is the simple answer and simply put there are too many negative affects associated with the drug to outweigh its positive effects and monetary value. Marijuana is especially dangerous for those who use it in their youth; your development can be disrupted physically and mentally. If used in your youth, the likelihood of dependence also increases; as well as, your motivation can severely decrease (National Institute of Drug Abuse). More and more the drug has become increasingly popular amongst our youth, which is particularly concerning. According to an annual national survey, marijuana usage is more prevalent amongst teens than cigarettes (National Institute of Drug Abuse). Marijuana already causes certain ailments, but when the use occurs before the age of twenty-five, the effects can be devastating and long lasting. According to new data, the human brain does not fully develop until the ripe age of twenty-five (Brain Development Kristen Rollins), so anything that disrupts brain function such as Marijuana can have even larger effects on those who are not fully developed.
The actual process of becoming “high” is chemically explainable and sheds light on why people feel this way and why our youth are more susceptible to the side effects of the drug. Marijuana is a dried and shredded mix of leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The drug also is presented in two other forms; one called hashish also known as “wax”, and as hash oil. The main chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (National Institute of Drug Abuse). Marijuana has a very distinctive scent sort of a “skunky” like smell very sweetish/sour extremely noticeable. Marijuana is usually smoked and the process of getting “high” or “faded” ensues. What actually occurs is THC from the smoke passes through the lungs to the bloodstream, which is then carried to the brain and other organs throughout the body; this is the quickest way to absorb the drug. The drug is absorbed much slower when digested through food or in a liquid (National Institute of Drug Abuse). In greater detail, the process of ingesting the drug is irrelevant; the actual chemical process is the same within the body, the duration of the effects are the only differing factor. The THC targets specific brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. Chemicals similar to THC called endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, usually activate these receptors or targets. These cannabinoids are naturally produced by the body and are important to normal brain development function. The actual system of nerves being targeted by the THC is called “the endocannabinoid system” (National Institute of Drug Abuse). The placements of these receptors are found in parts of the brain dealing with pleasure, memory,