Marijuana Legalization Research Paper

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Should Marijuana be legalized in the U.S.?
Grass, skunk, kush, mary jane, chronic: just a few of the slang terms for Marijuana. Marijuana (of Indian origin) is the brown, green and gray assimilation of dried leaves, seeds, and stems. This plant is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States of America, and the third most used recreational drug behind only tobacco and alcohol. It has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use (“Medical Marijuana”). The drug comes from the Hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa), which contains hundreds of compounds, the main psycho-active one being THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) (“Marijuana History”). Shortly after this natural compound enters the body, it binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brains. When THC reacts with the cannabinoids, Dopamine (the chemical that allows humans to feel happiness) is let out in the brain. THC helps to reduce pain and nausea, and to stimulate the appetite. In some cases, it can also reduce aggression. Large doses of THC are known to result in the marijuana "high", which is an altered perception of time and space that comes with feelings of happiness, fatigue, or both in some cases. A Marijuana high usually lasts two to three hours, during which a wide range of effects may occur, varying both in intensity and Hawkins 2

quality. The usual, most noticeable effect is intensification of sensation and increased clarity of perception (Johnson 3). Colors seem much brighter, patterns are more evident, sounds and music have more depth, taste and smell are intensified (food develops a rich variety of tastes), and a variety of different thing are noticed that have never been noticed before while under the influence.

Marijuana is usually smoked as a joint (marijuana cigarette), or in a pipe. It is also smoked in...
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