Should Cannabis Use Be Legalized

Topics: Cannabis, Hashish, Global Marijuana March Pages: 5 (1634 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Should Cannabis be Legalized?
A Review of the Literature

Should Cannabis be Legalized?
A Review of the Literature
Whether cannabis use should be legalized has been always a controversial topic in worldwide. The supporters of legalization of cannabis use believes the health damages that caused by cannabis are less than those associate with cigarettes; as a result, if production and sale of cigarettes is legal, why cannabis use cannot be legalized? In addition, supporters believe the legalization of cannabis use can save government’s law enforcement funds and crack down smuggling of cannabis effectively; furthermore, governments can earn more tax revenue as well. On the other hand, opponents say that since cannabis is a kind of new-born drug, the physical damages that caused by using cannabis need to be studied further, in addition, the legalization of cannabis can cause many social problems because people who use cannabis are more likely to be out of control of their minds. Also, opponents believe that using cannabis can become an incentive of using harder drugs. With the recent legalization of cannabis in Colorado and Washington legalization, the existing drug prohibition was shaken. Based on two major factors, health and economy, whether cannabis use should be legalized becomes more and more controversial.       According to John A Henry, the professor of the School of Medicine of Imperial College, using cannabis does cause some health problems. In his article “Comparing Cannabis with Tobacco,” he points out that smoking cannabis may cause some similar health damages as smoking cigarettes, and many of these effects appear early (Henry, 2003). Also, he adds, besides physical damages, “Regular use of cannabis is associated with an increased incidence of mental illnesses, most notably schizophrenia and depression” (Henry, 2003). Also, he states that because the use of cannabis is a new-born phenomenon, the study of health damages that caused by smoking cannabis is lack (Henry, 2003). He explains that because cannabis cigarettes are not produced and used in standard sizes, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component in cannabis, and tar’ amount cannot be determined; as a result, it is hard to perform case-control studies (Henry, 2003). Furthermore, he adds that since most cannabis users smoke tobacco as well, the analysis of individual risks of smoking cannabis cannot be exactly accurate (Henry, 2003). Also, Henry says, “there will be a latent period between the onset of smoking and the development of lung damage, cardiovascular disease, or malignant change” (2003). All of these factors cause the study of health damages caused by using cannabis is hard to achieve, and it needs more time to overcome these obstacles. However, Henry says that from the existing studies, smoking cannabis will bring bullous lung diseases out in the young. In addition, as what caused by tobacco smoking, inflammatory lung changes, chronic cough, and chest infections are also appears in the group of cannabis smoking, even commoner and earlier (2003); furthermore, Henry notes that Tetrahydrocannabinol can cause cardiovascular diseases, and smoking cannabis will increase the possibility of occurring myocardial infarction and sudden deaths (2003). Based on these reasons, although there are some studies shows that smoking cannabis will cause less heath damages than smoking tobacco, Henry insists, “smoking cannabis would still be a major public health hazard”(2003). And he claims that the public should not ignore the mental problems and other potential diseases and death that caused by cannabis use (Henry, 2003).     Besides the health concerns of cannabis use, some opponents claim that using cannabis can also cause several social harms. In the article “Cannabis and social welfare assistance: a longitudinal study,” Willy Pedersen, who works in Department of Sociology and Human Geography of the University of Oslo, uses data of people who use...

References: Henry, J. (2003). Comparing Cannabis With Tobacco. BMJ, 326(7396), 942-943. doi:
Pederson ,W. (2011). Cannabis and Social Welfare Assistance: A Longitudinal Study.
Addiction, 106(9), 1636-1643.
Rosenthal,E & Kubby, S & Newwhat ,S. (2003). Why Marijuana Should Be Legal.
(2nd ed.). New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press.
Bradford, H. (2012, July, 11th ). 14 Ways Marijuana Legalization Could Boost The
Economy. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://
Mcvay, D. (1991). Marijuana Legalization: The Time Is Now. In James, A(Eds), The
Drug Legalization Debate(pp.125-151 ). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
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