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Marijuana Is A Social Problem Essay

1218 words - 5 pages

Marijuana is a Social Problem

"Marijuana is the second most popular drug after alcohol in the country today. So many people smoke marijuana that the numbers alone seem to legitimize and condone its presence in people's lives. Yet, even in moderation marijuana is not 'safe.' Somehow this information had not filtered down to people who think they are smoking a fairly innocuous drug. Our society perpetuates the myths about pot being a fun, harmless, recreational drug. These myths feed into people's denial of marijuana's problems" (Baum 6). However, the abuse of marijuana is a problem. It is not only a personal problem, but also more importantly a social problem. Throughout history marijuana has been used to serve various purposes in many different cultures. The purposes have changed over time to fit in with the current lifestyles. The cultivation of the marijuana plant in the United States began as far back as the Jamestown settlers around the year 1611. At that time the main focus was on survival rather than for psychoactive purposes. Medicinal uses of marijuana eventually changed to enjoyment manipulation. Beginning in the 1960s marijuana use saw a reemergence with the rebellious youth, and the "hippie movement." This evolved into increased use among the older population as well. This trend continues to this day. Marijuana use can be termed abuse. Today the debate over marijuana is a major controversy that affects our society as a whole. During the 60's it was easy to depict marijuana as a beneficial and completely harmless substance because there was not enough scientific research done during this time (Grolier Wellness Encyclopedia). Today we know that the levels of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol, in marijuana are four to ten times more than they were in the 60s. We also know that THC had shown negative affects in the learning process. It's destructive to the learning performance, memory, and attention span. It has insidious side effects including lung damage and cancer risks. It also impairs ability to work, drive, and make clear decisions, not to mention, the lack of motivation, depression, and paranoia. In addition, "daily marijuana use has been associated with a doubling of the risk for psychosis. The most common type was a brief acute organic reaction characterized by mental dulling, distortion of time, dreamlike euphoria progressing to fragmenting thoughts, and hallucinations. More potent marijuana can cause even more severe reactions" (Baum 16). This means marijuana has tremendous costs on those who use it as well as society. The effects of marijuana abuse on an individual can be substantial, but the costs to society are innumerable. The effects can be felt in the rising of health care to increased insurance premiums. As the number of marijuana users increase, the number seeking medical attention also increases. In addition, being treated for various illnesses caused by marijuana abuse, results...

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