It has always been a tough debate whether Marijuana is a gateway drug or not. It also has been questioned whether it is addictive or not. Marijuana is a gateway drug to more addictive and severe substances that is causing a harmful impact on the way a person develops. Legalization of marijuana has made it easier to obtain and because of this, more and more people are falling into this trap. The legalization of marijuana needs to be brought to an end. There has been substantial research which provides information on how Marijuana is not addicting itself, but the way it makes you feel can be the breaking point to trying other addictive drugs. Research shows, adults who are addicts admit their first time of use and first drug of choice was when they were an adolescent and smoked Marijuana. Until today, many argue for or against legalizing marijuana throughout the United States, and it is still a struggle for some to overcome.
As of 2011, Marijuana became legal in 16 States in the United States (Inaba & Cohen, 2011). According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP, 2013), there has been increasing efforts to legalize marijuana which can cause marijuana to drop in price and increase the use of the drug (ONDCP, 2013); keeping it illegal keeps the price of marijuana up keeping the use rates low. According to Caron.org, (2013), marijuana can be purchased in almost any neighborhood in any city or state in the U.S., thus contributing to the pervasive nature of the drug. It is also considered a drug of convenience because it is easily concealed, both for transport and use. This is why it has become widely popular with adolescents or young adults who have a lot of authority figures involved in their lives. Most marijuana users or those with marijuana in their possession do not go to prison. According the ONDCP, a survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that .7 percent of all state inmates were imprisoned for marijuana possession only because they had pleaded down from a more serious crime (ONDCP, 2013). By States legalizing medical marijuana, it makes marijuana more easily obtainable for teens and normalizes it making it seem okay to use.
Between the ages of preteen and teens, any disruptions in normal brain development, including chemical disruptions and/or changes can make physiological and psychological changes that can last a lifetime. According to Inaba & Cohen (2011), early-onset drug use is the single best predictor of future drug problems in an individual (P. 8.13). Children, whom experiment with any drugs or alcohol, including marijuana, before the age of 12, are four to five times more likely to have major addiction problems than those who wait until after 18 years of age (P. 8.13). Adolescents contain less body fat and water content than adults and have immature enzyme metabolism systems. They also “manifest the condition shortly after beginning use if genetically vulnerable to addiction,” (8.13). Adolescents are more vulnerable to environmental stressors and drug availability and had less time to develop life skills and healthy coping mechanisms (8.13). Marijuana can have negative effects on the body and makes a person more susceptible to colds, flu, and other viral infections. THC can lead to “enhanced growth of tumors, including those associated with breast cancer, due to suppression of the anti-tumor immune response. Marijuana smoking also damages the lungs and other respiratory tissue (Inaba & Cohen, 2011). The legalization of marijuana is making the drug easier to acquire and because of this more and more adolescence are using this drug. With the vulnerability of the young human brain the impact of marijuana can be extremely sever.
Legalization is making the use of marijuana a social norm which is slowly leading users to try other drugs, causing marijuana to be a gateway drug. According to Time (2013), Marijuana is “indeed a gateway drug,” and is the most popular...
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Narconon International. (2013). Drug Abuse. Signs and Symptoms of Marijuana Use. Retrieved from http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-marijuana-use.html
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The White House
Time Health & Family. (2013). Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth that Will Not Die. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/29/marijuna-as-a-gateway-drug the- myth-that-will-not-die/
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