More than 158.8 million people worldwide use marijuana. It is the second most frequent drug related to drivers that caused fatal automobile accidents. The US Drug Enforcement Administration reported up to forty percent of adult males tested positive for it after committing a crime. Marijuana is the most used illegal substance in the United States. It is not only addictive, but it is a gateway drug that can lead to alterations of the brain and an increase in major health risks ("INTERNATIONAL STATISTICS"). Marijuana should not be legalized for the negative effects it causes on the mind and body of users far outweigh the small instances where it may be used for medical purposes or recreational use.
Marijuana, also known as weed, pot, or reefer, is cannabis, a drug derived from the Indian hemp plant. Marijuana is a hallucinogen which distorts the mind. The chemical found in cannabis is THC which creates the distortion. Marijuana is most often smoked in a variety of ways, and sometimes ingested. Whether it is used medicinally or recreationally, its effects include increased heart rate, a dreamy sensation and lessened coordination and balance. For many first time users they may enjoy the effects and describe it as a pleasurable experience. But there are many negative side effects to this drug. It has a huge impact on ones lungs, exposing them to cancerous chemicals and an increase in colds and sore throats ("What Is Marijuana?"). According to the British Lung Foundation, smoking three to four cannabis cigarettes a day can lead to chronic bronchitis and it is equivalent to smoking twenty or more tobacco cigarettes a day. Smoking cannabis weakens the immune system, leading to more infections of the lungs and impairment of immune cells. If legalized, more people would smoke more often due to accessibility. This would cause a rise in health related issues involving marijuana ("Top 10 Pros and Cons").
Marijuana is not only physically harmful, but mentally as well. Smokers of this drug often have worsening memory, and are even found to have lower IQs after use. John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy stated “smoked marijuana damages the brain and it impairs learning and interferes with memory, perception and judgement." Also, a study held by the University of Arkansas Center for Addiction Research provided fact that marijuana is addictive and can cause withdrawal effects similar to nicotine. These effects, all negative, include cravings, decreased appetite, weight loss, sleep difficulty and more. Also when in use, because of the alterations and effects it has on the brain, it is a high cause for automobile and workplace accidents. If legalized, the number of accidents and deaths related to the drug would increase greatly ("Top 10 Pros and Cons").
Along with proven negative side effects, the legalization of marijuana can have a gateway effect and lead users to abuse other illicit...