Essay: Marijuana: Drug or Medicine?

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  • Subject area(s): Health essays
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  • Published on: November 3, 2015
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  • Marijuana: Drug or Medicine?
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Marijuana is one of the most controversial plants currently in society today. It was labeled as being an illegal drug, but over time more and more research shows that marijuana may not be as bad as people think. Studies show that marijuana can help with symptoms from certain diseases that include: Glaucoma, Epilepsy, Eating Disorders, etc. However, even though these studies show that marijuana can help, at the end of the day it is hot smoke entering your lungs. But surprisingly, though there aren’t any reports of people getting cancer from marijuana. The fact is that uou are allowing a foreign chemical to enter your body which is never safe. Marijuana also rapidly increases your heartrate and for people with underlying heart conditions this could be fatal. Is marijuana really this bad drug as everyone says it is, or is it a medicine in disguise’?A Yale study found that alcohol and tobacco use were substantially more predictive of prescription drug abuse than marijuana: While 34 percent of those with prescription drug problems had used marijuana, 56 percent had started by smoking cigarettes, while 57 got their start with alcohol.'(1) So if that’s the case then it seems like many other legal activities today tend to be more of a ‘gateway drug’ than marijuana. ‘In 1999, Congress commissioned a study on marijuana’s status as a gateway drug; the commission found no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs, and concluded that most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana.'(2) Marijuana is by no means the cleanest and safest drug in the world, but there is no study that has been able to prove that marijuana actually leads to cancer. ‘A 2013 study from the University of California at Los Angeles concluded that habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function, and furthermore, findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk for the development of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use.'(2)
Not only that, but it is very hard to be able to determine whether or not marijuana actually negatively affect our brain because we barely understand what other chemicals are reacting in our brain when we smoke marijuana. ‘Researchers in Norway concluded in 2013 that most, if not all, of the correlation between neuropsychological function and marijuana use can potentially be chalked up differences in socioeconomic status between smokers and non-smokers.'(2) Smoking and the education system is another huge factor when it comes to marijuana. When young adults go to school their IQ slightly increases and decreases around the time school ends. Studies have shown that smoking marijuana actually stimulates the brain by constantly causing you to think. Also, ‘An addiction rate of nine percent is amongst the lowest of any commonly-used drug in the country. It’s less than tobacco (32 percent), heroin (23 percent), cocaine (17 percent) and alcohol (15 percent).'(2) As that study shows marijuana has the lowest addiction rate when compared to our average day legal activities like drinking and smoking cigarettes. ‘While most addiction specialists reject the dichotomy of physical vs. psychological addiction, the potential for physical harm can’t be entirely ignored in conversations about addiction.'(2) Some reasons why drugs like cocaine and heroin are dangerous is because people actually have the risk of overdosing and possibly dying when taking these drugs. As well as growing a serious addiction to these drugs where your body actually relies on drugs in order to perform the simplest of tasks. There have been zero reports of anybody actually dying from marijuana. On top of the fact, that there is no ‘withdrawal’ when you stop smoking marijuana like there is with alcohol. People you try and stop drinking suffer from withdrawal which is a painful process in which the person’s body shakes, sweats, and has a chance of possibly dying.
However, marijuana is harmful to human’s lungs because there is as much as five times the amount of carbon monoxide produced than cigarettes and about three times the amount of tar than our average cigarette. Plus marijuana requires people to take longer and more frequent breaths to inhale the smoke produced from marijuana. This means that society is breathing more carbon monoxide per puff and you are inhaling carbon monoxide even more often. On top of that, about one-third of the tar that you inhale from marijuana smoke actually gets stuck in the respiratory system after smoking. ‘Marijuana smoke also contains higher concentrations of certain carcinogens, notably benzopyrene and benzathracene, than cigarettes, and lung biopsies from marijuana-only smokers have shown tissue damage that’s recognized to be a precursor to cancer.'(1)
There have been multiple studies that have shown that when young people smoke marijuana they are highly affecting their brain and thought process. ‘In a 2013 study published in Oxford University Press, researchers observed cannabis-related shape differences in numerous parts of the brain in marijuana smokers, and subcortical neuroanatomical differences between those who smoke and those who don’t.'(1) Also, it has been shown that smoking marijuana can have a good chance to affect memory in young adults. Early adults have been shown to have shorter attention spans, poor grasp of their surroundings, and poor reasoning skills. ‘One study also found that people who start smoking marijuana as teens have lower IQs as adults and even when they stop smoking, their IQs don’t increase.'(1) Marijuana has been shown to have the ability for people to become addicted to it. There have been studies that show about nine percent or so of people who smoke marijuana have had the urge to smoke again. ‘A 2012 Yale study found that, amongst men and women between 18 and 25, those who’d previously used marijuana were more than twice as likely to have prescription drug abuse problems than those who were always pot-free.'(1)
Marijuana will always be a topic of discussion because both sides have promising arguments. The only middle ground that can be seen in the future is to legalize recreation marijuana and whoever doesn’t want to smoke it doesn’t have too. They will be the ‘New-Age Cigarettes.’ There are thousands of anti-smoking commercials all over television. Yet, a large population of people still smokes to this day. That is exactly how marijuana will be if it is recreationally legalized. Plus most people disapprove of marijuana because they compare it to cigarettes. Due to the fact that both involve smoking and smoking is in correlation with cancer. People are always going to point fingers and find negatives, but no one is forcing the smoke down their throat.

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