MarijuanaConsumption Should be Prohibited Due to its Detrimental Effects onMental Health Development and Learning Capability
Theuseof marijuana became popular in the late 1960’s and most usersexperienced minimal adverse effects. However, the type of marijuanaavailable today is more potent and the users are younger than thoseof the past generations. Since 1960’s, the average age of cannabisusers has dropped from 19 to slightly above 17 while other youngpeople are exposed to the drug at even earlier ages. By the year2001, the proportion of young individuals using the drug increased by67% (Office of National Drug Control Policy 2).
Marijuanais the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States ofAmerica. Statistics on the use of cannabis indicate that 95 millionAmericans over the age of 12 have attempted using the drug. Besides,75% of illicit drug users report having used the drug within a month.Cannabis is associated with adverse repercussions on health, economy,behaviour and academic performance(Office of National Drug Control Policy3).It is astonishing that most people view the drug as “harmless.”The popular notion that marijuana is a benign natural herb underminesthe basic message to the society that similar to other drugs,marijuana is not okay for any one and especially, the young people.The current essay extends the conception that marijuana is harmful byevaluating the possible effects of legalizing the drug on youngpeople. Specifically, it pays attention to the possibility of thedrug to interfere with students’ learning capabilities (NationalInstitute on Drug Abuse). Therefore, theUnited States of America should enact strict policies to control theuse of bhang due to its detrimental effects on mental healthdevelopment and learning capability.
The Drug Enforcement Administration recognizesthat the use of marijuana is associated with learning problems. Theintoxication caused by the drug creates difficulty in thinking, aswell as causes distorted perceptions. It induces impaired memorycoordination and challenges in thinking that further limit thecapability of the user to learn and solve problems. The impact of thedrug on one’s memory lasts for months or even years after the acuteeffects wear off. Consequently, the drug users may be operating atsuboptimal level whenever they are under the influence (DrugEnforcement Administration).
Another reason the use of the substance shouldremain illegal is that it enhances crimes that hurt communities andfamilies. Duke claims that most individuals who abuse the drug areoften involved in repeated crime incidents. On the same note, asubstantial portion of inmates who are convicted for the possessionof the narcotic has a history of serious offenses where they wereable to appeal for lighter sentences after engaging plea agreementswith the prosecutors. Consequently, Duke contends that the ultimategoal of the drug law is not to punish the offenders, but to reducecrime and prevent the addicts from harming themselves, as well as thecommunity through the associated destructive behavior (Duke 877).
Marijuana should remain illegal since it haseffects similar to those triggered by heroin and cocaine. Hendricksobserves that the drug disrupts the course of neurotransmitters thathave particular receptors in the brain. Such receptors are associatedwith the creation of desire therefore, they result in addictionafter continued use (Hendricks 3).
The National Institute on Drug Abuseprovides further that decriminalizing the use ofcannabis would escalate the number of users. The increase would inturn cause skyrocketing costs of rehabilitating marijuana addicts aswell as treating diseases attributed to the consumption of the drug.Specifically, the user population would double after legalization. Addiction is one of the significant effects of consuming cannabissince the customers develop tolerance after regular usage.Consequently, the consumers demand a larger quantity of cannabis toachieve the same intensity of ‘pleasure’ they desire.Unfortunately, higher doses of marijuana, especially the smokedvariety, make the consumers vulnerable to numerous diseases, such aslung cancer (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
Proponents for the legalization of marijuanaobserve that criminalization of the drug not only increases offenses,but also strains the law enforcement resources used to fight othercrimes. Police officers and other law enforcement generals focus onchasing marijuana-related offenders instead of targeting majorcriminals such as sex offenders and wife batterers. Besides,outlawing the use of cannabis clogs the criminal justice system withdrug cases hence, leaves less room for punishing other lawbreakers.As a result, the law enforcement resources could be better utilizedby focusing on offenses such as aggravated assault, rape, murder, andchild abuse, as the majority of marijuana consumers use it forrecreation purposes (Duke 879).
The use of marijuana should be banned since it iscorrelated to homicide, sex offenses, and child abuse. Inmates’statistics indicate that it is extremely rare for individualsparticularly, first-time offenders to be imprisoned for possessing atrifling amount of cannabis. The laws in most states treat thepossession of an ounce or less of marijuana as a misdemeanor.Besides, countries have downgraded the possession of small quantitiesof the drug to a civil offense, which is analogous to a violation oftraffic rules. The statistics indicate that only 1.6 percent of stateprisoners are convicted of a marijuana-only crime, including,trafficking. Furthermore, only 0.3% of the inmates were first-timeoffenders thereby, implying that 99.7% of cannabis related prisonershave also committed other serious crimes (National Instituteon Drug Abuse25).
Duke, states that “sanctioning the drug woulddrastically increase grave offenses” 878). Other supporters ofmarijuana endorsement argue that the drug does not cause permanentaddiction to the users. The majority of consumers who try to use thedrug do so for experimental purposes and experience minimal chancesof addiction. Unlike other substances, the consumption of marijuanahas fewer withdrawal symptoms therefore, addicts quit taking thedrug quickly. Some of the associated symptoms include sleepdisturbances, anxiety, and depression. They further claim that theeffects are very mild compared to the dependence effects ofsubstances such as cocaine, heroin, and alcohol (Falconi).
Nonetheless, the DEA dismisses the argument thatmarijuana is not addictive as a myth. Instead, research on the use ofcannabis indicates that it can lead to addiction that is greater thanthat caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Besides, heavy usersdevelop dangerous withdrawal symptoms, in hours that requireprofessional rehabilitation treatment (Drug EnforcementAdministration).
Marijuana consumption is associated with highdependency behaviors. Some of the identified actions includetolerance to the substance, which is reduced effect from the use ofthe same quantity of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include giving uprecreational and occupational activities. The drug wields a strongpull on the users that make it hard for them to quit. Besides,addicts indicate heavy signs of irritability, insomnia, and anxietyas they try to stop. Psychological tests suggest that the level ofaggression peaks after one week of trying to quit marijuana (DrugEnforcement Administration).
The advocates of legalizing marijuana also claimthat there are practical uses of cannabis that serve as legitimatereasons for its legalization in the medical industry. Some of theactual applications of marijuana encompass the treatment ofintraocular pressure from glaucoma, vomiting associated withchemotherapy, pain management, spasticity caused by multiplesclerosis, and the wasting syndrome present in HIV/ AIDS patients(Hendricks 3). However, the Office of National Drug Control Policydismisses the conceivable benefits as a myth. It states, thatmarijuana is established as a schedule II controlled substance underthe comprehensive drug abuse prevention and control Act of 1970. Thus, the drug is dangerous despite having significant medical value.Although THC is used to control nausea in cancer chemotherapypatients, and in stimulating appetite in patients diagnosed withAIDS, it is safe in synthetic form as opposed to when smoked. Smokingof marijuana is related to a myriad of health complications. First,smoking is a dangerous way of delivering unsafe and unregulateddosages of medicine since it creates carcinogens that result into anew set of health problems. Therefore burning marijuana exposes theusers to four times the level of tar produced by a tobacco cigarette.Besides, prenatal exposure to marijuana affects child intelligence.The THC component in marijuana damages the brain and causes psychoticsymptoms, paranoid delusions, and hallucinations. As such, thedemerits of marijuana surpass its benefits (Office of National DrugControl Policy).
The above arguments indicate that legalizing theuse of the drug would result in more harm than benefits to thesociety. In particular, due to the addictive nature of the marijuana,it will be hard to limit its use to medical benefits. Most of thehealth advantages are dismissed as myths since smoking is not a safemethod of administering controllable amounts of medication. Instead,it results in the production of harmful components such as tar.Legalizing the drug should contribute to additional problems causedby the obtainable legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.
Consequently, it is imperative to tighten thepolicies that would minimize the rate of marijuana consumption. Thepaper observes that the drug suits as a schedule II controlledsubstance under the comprehensive drug prevention and control Act of1970. It has effects on learning capabilities, increases crime, andlacks medicinal value. besides, it serves as a great threat to theupcoming generations therefore, the creation of strict guidelines tothe access of the drug would better serve the community thanlegalizing it. Finally, the effect of the drug on memory andinvolvement in recreation and productivity activities is most likelyto harm people’s output at work.
DrugEnforcement Administration“Speaking Against Drug Legalization.”N.d. web. 24 July 2016.<https://www.dea.gov/pr/multimedia-library/publications/speaking_out.pdf>
Duke,Steven. “End the Drug War: Social Research.”Academic search premier68.3 (2001): 875-880.
Falconi,James. “TheGreat Legalization Debate and the Repercussions of Past Policies: AReview of the Current Literature.” University of Massachusetts,Curtis.(2015)N.d. Web. 24 July 2016http://people.umass.edu/curtis/academics/researchtoolbox/pdfs/James_Falconi_LiteratureReview.pdf
Hendricks,LaVelle, Amir Abassi and Dean Aslinia. “The Pros and Cons ofMarijuana.” NationalForum Journal of Counseling and Addiction2.1 (2013): 1-5.
NationalInstitute on Drug Abuse. “DrugFacts: Marijuana.” 2016. Web. 24July 2016.<https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana>
Office of National Drug Control Policy.“The Truth Behind 10 Popular Misperceptions.” MarijuanaMyths and Facts, n.d. Web.24 July 2016.<https://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/pdf/marijuana_myths_facts.pdf>
(Office of National Drug Control Policy)