February 15, 2013
Dr. Mary Morriss
University of Phoenix
Medical Marijuana Legalization and Controversy
Legalization of Marijuana has become a controversy in the United States. Medical marijuana has many benefits although recreational marijuana cannot yet be controlled. Many important medical improvements will be gained when marijuana is legal. There will be a time, within the near future, when it is legal federally. Today there are many states in the United States that have legalized marijuana for medical use. There are two states, as of November 2012, which legalized marijuana for recreational use. The federal government still states that marijuana, to be grown or used in any form, is illegal and will be prosecuted. It is our duty to become well informed and change laws which will help us all. Marijuana comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. It is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. About 4% of American adults smoke pot at least once a year while 1% abuse pot, and one in 300 have a pot addiction. Marijuana can be ingested through food, smoke, or brewed into a tea. According to the government studies, as many as 30% of today’s teenagers are smoking marijuana. Marijuana use is rarely seriously harmful, but it has important medical effects. THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the active ingredient in marijuana and with different strains it has significantly different strengths. With the hydroponic growing, marijuana has been refined into different strains which produce different effects. These are used accordingly for the range of medical conditions patients have. According to Web MD, the signs of using marijuana include: rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased rate of breathing, red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, or “the munchies,” and slowed reaction time. These effects are reduced after three or four hours. However, marijuana hangs around in the system for as long as a month after smoking. The reason for this is that marijuana is fat soluble and stays in the fat cells of the body. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the main effects of marijuana on mood vary and may include euphoria, calmness, anxiety, or paranoia. Other short-term psychological effects include: distorted time sense, paranoia, random thinking, short-term memory loss, anxiety, and depression. These feelings induced by pot also decrease and subside after a short time. Residual effects can last for days. Many experts believe that with heavy pot smoking for a long period of time the risk of lung cancer may be implicated. Due to these known facts, recreational marijuana usage may be risky because there is an experiment with the pot and the smoker uncontrolled by any professional supervision. Other recreational drugs, such as alcohol, also have lasting effects upon the user and the possibilities of addiction. All drugs that are taken recreationally, with no limiting of their usage, can and will cause damage to the user. With supervision, of a physician or professional trained in the use of any substance, there can be benefits for the substance. Alcohol, for instance, was first used as a sedative by physicians before other drugs for that purpose were developed. Cocaine was used as a drug to numb an area for work, such as in dentistry. Amphetamines were used to control appetites of obese people needing to lose weight. All of these drugs under supervision were productive and useful. This is only some examples of what uses can be beneficial from drugs that people usually consider harmful. Drug abuse and addiction are often mistaken for thinking that people lack morals or willpower. The facts are that different people are more likely to become addicted than others due to personality, biology, and environment. Social influence from peers can help a younger person in their teens become abusive of substances...