The Dangers of Medical Marijuana

Topics: Cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol, Tobacco smoking Pages: 6 (2264 words) Published: June 24, 2013
The Dangers of Medical Marijuana
Oscar Gonzalez & Rodger Blake
El Paso Community College

Abstract
The dangers of using smoked marijuana for medical purposes are often overlooked. The threats are not only physical, but also social and psychological. Although much research has been done, no conclusive evidence has been found to support the push for legalization of medical marijuana. If anything, more research has resulted in showing the physical and psychological harms that stem from using marijuana. With advances in science, there are more reliable and less harmful alternatives.

Due to the dangers brought upon by the use of marijuana, it should not be considered as a medical option. Though the argument for legalizing medical marijuana is a strong and valid argument, the dangers of usage highly outweigh the benefits. Agencies such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the IOM (Institute of Medicine) have run many studies that have concluded that marijuana is an ineffective and dangerous form of medication. There is no consensus of medical evidence that smoking marijuana helps patients. The FDA has noted that "there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful," and "that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use."(Merino 2011). With advances in science, there are more reliable and less harmful synthetic alternatives. These new findings promote a safer, drug-free environment that doesn’t teach children that marijuana is a safe drug nor does it encourage teens to use cannabis. They promote an environment that keeps neighborhoods crime free. Medical marijuana laws encourage teens to use cannabis. According to a Karen Tandy, an employee of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, teenage students believe that “if marijuana is medicine, it must also be safe for recreational use” (Tandy 2006). Misinformed teens will often overlook the harmful side-effects of marijuana. Use of the drug has adverse health, safety, social, academic, and behavioral consequences; and children are the most vulnerable to its damaging effects. Compounding the problem is that the marijuana of today is not the marijuana of the baby boomers 30 years ago. Average THC levels rose from less than 1 percent in the mid-1970s to more than 8 percent in 2004 (Merino 2011). Smoking a marijuana cigarette deposits about three to five times more tar into the lungs than one filtered tobacco cigarette. Consequently, regular marijuana smokers suffer from many of the same health problems as tobacco smokers, such as a chronic coughing and wheezing, chest colds, and chronic bronchitis. In Addition, smoking marijuana can lead to increased anxiety, panic attacks, depression, social withdrawal, and other mental health problems, particularly for teens. Research shows that kids aged 12 to 17 who smoke marijuana weekly are three times more likely the nonusers to have suicidal thoughts. Marijuana use also can cause cognitive impairment, to include such short-term effects as distorted perception, memory loss, and trouble with thinking and problem solving. Students with an average grade of D or below were found to be more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year as youths who reported an average grade of A. For young people, whose brains are still developing, these effects are particularly problematic and jeopardize their ability to achieve their full potential. The most disturbing new studies about early teenage use of marijuana showed that young adults who started smoking pot regularly before they were 16 years old performed significantly worse on cognitive tests of brain function than those who had started smoking later in adolescence. They performed particularly poorly on tests assessing executive function, which is responsible for planning and abstract thinking, as...

References: Singha. (2012). Is Weed Bad For You.
Merino. (2011). Marijuana Is Dangerous for Its Users and Others
Opposing Viewpoints
Rabin. (1/72013) Legalizing of Marijuana raises Health Concerns.
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