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Marijuana has been illegal for many decades. People who are caught with it are charged with possession and are sentenced to probation or even given jail time. Being caught with the drug a few decades back was a very serious offense. Now, people are beginning to turn a blind eye to it and are coming to terms with the idea of normalizing weed whether it’s for recreational use or medical use. Recently, the idea of legalizing marijuana has become a very popular topic of discussion.
Scientists are still currently researching all aspects of it. While some people are completely for legalizing marijuana, others refuse to turn a blind eye to it and want it to stay illegal. There are even some people out there who are either strongly for it or strongly against it. Although marijuana can help medically, marijuana should stay illegal because there are a lot of risks that come with the drug.
When looking at the cons of legalizing marijuana, we have to address the long term effects as well as the short term effects of smoking the plant.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they collected data that proved that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and had an ongoing marijuana use disorder lost an average of 8 IQ points between ages 13 and 38 (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Even though medical marijuana would be given to people 21 or older, it can still have those long term effects on people between 21 and 38 as well.
Along with this long term effect, it can also change the way you think, learn, and memorize things. If someone were to smoke heavily and regularly, these effects could be permanent.
With these long term effects of smoking marijuana, there are also short term effects that will go along with it. Short term effects of marijuana typically last anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour depending on how much is put into the body. According to an article posted be the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “THC acts on specific brain cell receptors that ordinarily react to natural THC-like chemicals. These natural chemicals play a role in normal brain development and function”(National Institute on Drug Abuse). Because of this, the marijuana that people smoke is overstimulated the parts of the brain with the most receptors which causes people to feel “high”. This article also stated that smokers of the drug would experience short term symptoms such as “Altered senses, changes in mood, impaired body movement, difficulty thinking and problem solving and impaired memory”. However when taken in high doses the smokers would experience “hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis” (National Institute on Drug Abuse). While these effects are only short term, it is still very dangerous while you are in that state. If medical marijuana were to be legal, these would be the symptoms that the people would be left to deal with. Smoking medical marijuana would ultimately cause more harm than good in this case.
Contrary to popular belief, smoking marijuana does come with health risks. While they are not like cigarettes in the sense that cigarettes can cause cancer, smoking marijuana can cloud your judgement. When you are under the effects of marijuana, you will experience an altered sense of reality. Because of this altered experience, it could cause you do be more daring than the average person typically is which could lead to injuries or even death. For example, if you are under the influence of the drug, you could be more tempted to do something daring that will cause immediate harm to you. Even though smoking marijuana does not immediately cause you harm, with the clouded sense of judgement you will experience, it would be easier to cause harm to yourself as a result.
There is also a growing debate as to whether or not marijuana is considered a gateway drug or not. Gateway drugs are drugs that ultimately will lead you down the road of trying other drugs that are more dangerous than marijuana. According to a personal statement written by Paul, he first tried marijuana on a dare when he was just fourteen. He liked the feeling that he got from smoking it and as a result, he became attached to it. For the next seven years afterwards, he struggled with addiction. After his first time smoking marijuana, he wanted to try other drugs to see how they made him feel which sent him on a slippery slope downwards in his life (). Marijuana is a gateway drug because it makes people curious as to how they will react to other drugs.
Smoking Marijuana, like cigarettes, could cause health risks for your respiratory system. According to an article written by WEBMD, when inhaling the smoke brought about my smoking, it could cause damage to your lungs much like cigarettes do. It can cause severe coughing and constant phlegm in the lungs. If you are a heavy or regular marijuana smoker, you could become diagnosed with asthma later on in life or it could even lead to your lungs not working nearly as well as nonsmokers lungs even if you stopped smoking (Medical and Recreational Marijuana). If you think having bad lungs isn’t that much of a risk, according to the same article, if you are a regular or heavy smoker you could experience even worse health risks. While you are in the state of being “high”, you will experience an increased heart beat which elevates your chance for a heart attack. Along with this, you are also at a greater chance of having a stroke(Medical and Recreational Marijuana). At the end of the day, smoking marijuana will put you at a more elevated risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or having bad lungs.
Some people feel as though marijuana should be legal because it helps take away some of the pain they are experiencing if they have a terminal illness or if they have a mental illness. According to an article written by Mark Hay, he states that people with anxiety who have tried medical marijuana have not had nearly as many symptoms as they did before they smoked. They described themselves as feeling more “relaxed” and “less stressed” (Hay). However, even though marijuana could help treat the symptoms of anxiety, there is still not enough information yet on the full lasting effects of smoking this plant. Even though it could make the patient diagnosed with anxiety feel better for a few hours, it would not be worth the lasting effects if the effects caused more negative symptoms than the actual illness would.
In conclusion, marijuana causes more harm than good. While you are under the influence of smoking marijuana, it could cloud your judgement, causing you to be more daring and leading you to do things that you normally wouldn’t do. In some severe cases, it could even lead to an injury or even death. Along with this, it comes with health risks. For example, smoking too much too often could lead to your lungs not being as healthy as they could be with would also lead to you developing a respiratory disease such as asthma. When you are under the influence of this drug, you could be a better candidate for having a heart attack or a stroke as a result of an increased heart beat that so fast that your body can not handle it. Along with these health risks, there is also a lack of information about marijuana. It has even been proving that the IQs of young adult smokers could drop drastically between the ages of thirteen through thirty eight. Scientists and researchers have already admitted that even though the short term effects of it seem okay, it is hard to say what the effects would be ten twenty or even fifty years down the road. While smoking marijuana may seem cool now, it could be costly in the future.
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