Legalization Of Marijuana Discussion Essay

1833 words - 7 pages

Marijuana is a mixture of the dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. The mixture can be green, brown, or grey. This one plant has become an extremely controversial topic among many, about whether it is harmful to your body and also whether it should even be considered a drug. A drug can be defined through Merriam Webster, as a substance that is used in medicine, or an illegal and often harmful substance that people take for pleasure. With a topic this controversial, there are numerous pros and cons to legalizing this plant.
There are numerous short term affects that marijuana has on the body. Research findings show that after only a few minutes of smoking marijuana, the individual’s heart rate speeds up, the bronchial passages relax and become enlarged, and the blood vessels in the eyes expand, creating the appearance of red eyes. The heart rate, which normally is 70 to 80 beats per minute, may increase by up to 20 to 50 beats, and sometimes even doubles. Several other studies have shown the harm that marijuana does to the body. For example, the Cannabis Sativa plant from which marijuana comes from, contains the psychoactive, mind-altering chemical, delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol. Delta-9-tetrehydrocannabinol is also known as THC. THC changes behavior by binding to receptors on nerve cells, which then respond with a change in activity. It also stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine which cause the euphoria, or “high” that users experience along with good feelings. THC can induce hallucinations, change thinking and cause delusions. The THC in marijuana has actually been shown to also trigger mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, in individuals who are vulnerable to mental illnesses. One study conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, shows the many different effects that marijuana has not only on the brain, but also the body. For example, marijuana impairs a person’s ability to form new memories and to shift focus. Marijuana users who have taken large doses, begin to feel a loss of sense of personal identity. Short term, marijuana has been shown to affect memory, judgment, and perception, as well as leading to a loss of coordination. It also interferes with the learning and memory process.
While there are numerous short term effects, many users never realize the long term effects associated with marijuana. Long term users are normally more susceptible to chest colds, coughs, bronchitis, depression, and anxiety. One reason for these health issues, can be shown in a major research study that reported that a single cannabis joint, could cause as much damage to the lungs as up to five regular cigarettes, smoked one after the other. These same long term users have also been reported to have a less life satisfaction rate, poorer education and job achievement and more interpersonal problems. An example of the interpersonal problems that marijuana can increase the...

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