Our American society is facing a tremendous drugproblem. In order to eradicate the drug problem, a public debate is going on to find some solutions to this drugdilemma. It has become a highly controversial issue whether drugs such as marijuana should be legalized or not. Somepeople advocate this issue and believe that legalization is the only solution left for the nation while others opposebecause it will increase the number of drug users and drug related crimes. Marijuana is a drug that is illegal in theUnited States. This drug as you know is bad and causes severe side effects to your brain and body.
Scientist have foundthat smoking marijuana can cause you to loose your memory. Marijuana has many psychological and physical effects. People usually smoke marijuana in cigarettes or pipes, but it also can be mixed with food and beverages. Short-termeffects of marijuana include both psychological and physical reactions. These reactions usually last for three to fivehours after a person has smoked marijuana. The psychological reaction, known as a high consists of changes in theuserOs feelings and thoughts.
Such changes are caused mainly by THC. The effects of a marijuana high vary fromperson to person and from one time to another in the same individual. In most cases, the high consists of a dreamy,relaxed state in which users seem more aware of their senses and feel that time is moving slowly. Sometimes, however,marijuana produces a feeling of panic and dread. The different reactions result partly from the concentration of THC inthe marijuana.
Other factors, such as the setting in which marijuana is used and the userOs expectations, personality,and mood, also affect a personOs reaction to the drug. Long-term effects of marijuana are not completely known, butstudies have shown that some people have used marijuana regularly for several months or longer have develop seriouslong-term problems. Among males, marijuana use can reduce the production of sperm and of the male sex hormonetestosterone. Among females, it can cause menstrual irregularity and reduced fertility. Extended use of marijuana alsohas a long-term psychological effect on many people.
These individuals loose interest in everything. However, accordingto scientific experiments, marijuana is known to be beneficial in medicine. The question is should marijuana belegalized? One of the consequences of legalization will be a tremendous increase in drug users. Right now, drug usershave fear of law enforcement agents, but if drugs were to be legalized, they no longer will have fear and will feel that itwill be okay to use drugs. Over twenty years ago, estimates of drug use among Americans went as high as 24 million,but we now estimate that the number of Americans ho use illegal drugs is down to some 11 million.
And a recent studydone by my office shows that Americans are spending less on illegal drugs, not more. In 1993, Americans spent $49billion on illegal drugs, down from $64 billion in 1988 (Brown 629). This decline is due to more officers on the streetsand drug awareness programs. An increase in drug use will result in an increase in drug related crimes if drugs arelegalized.
Supporters of drug legalization believe that crime and violence would decrease if drug use was legal. Statistics tell us that almost half of those arrested for committing a crime test positive for the use of drugs at the timeof their arrest. Making drugs more readily available could only propel more individuals into a life of crime and violence(Brown 629). Also drug users turn to crime to pay for their habits because they are stimulated by drugs and thereforeact violently. If drug is sold legally, it will become easy for users to buy it around the corner.
Thus, it will increase thealready existing problem of crime. Church mentions that every year drug lords make over twenty billion dollars fromcocaine and marijuana business, and legalizers believe that legalization will wipe out their major sources of funds(Church 12). However, drug use is a matter of supply and demand. As long as demand exists, someone is going tosupply it, either legally or illegally. Supporters of legalization believe that if government regulate drugs such as cocaineand marijuana by imposing taxes, then the black market will be eliminated (Church 12). However, the higher the taxrate, the higher the price of the drugs, and not many users can afford to buy high priced drugs such as marijuana andcocaine.
Therefore, they will have to go to drug gangs who sell marijuana and cocaine under the market price. Inaddition, children and teenagers will be obviously banned from purchasing marijuana and cocaine just as they areprohibited from buying beer and liquor. Nevertheless, there will be drug pushers who will continue to encourage theyoungsters and try to get them hooked to marijuana and cocaine. Hence, legalization will encourage a growing criminalblack market. The main benefit of marijuana legalization can be in medicine and will give patients with severe anddangerous diseases a new and effective medicine to help them.
Yes, marijuana can help in medicine. “Marijuana is oneof the safest therapeutically active substances known” (Nagorney 1). “One of marijuanaOs greatest advantages as amedicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions. Marijuana is also far less addictiveand far less subject to abuse than many drugs” ( Grinspoon and Bakalar 1875).
Marijuana as medicine has beenstudied for many years. In some cultures, it is already used as medicine. There are many good uses for marijuana to beused as medicine which will be discussed. The problem is that in order to be used in United States as medicine,marijuana must be legalized.
Many doctors already recommend that their patients break the law and get marijuana. ThatOs because there is a very strong evidence that marijuana works as a medicine. Marijuana is often useful in thetreatment of the following diseases: Cancer: Marijuana alleviates the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused bythe chemotherapy treatment. AIDS: Marijuana alleviates the nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite caused by thedisease itself. Glaucoma: Marijuana by reducing intraocular pressure alleviates the pain and slows the progress of thedisease.
This disease damages vision by gradually increasing eye pressure. It is the leading cause of blindness in UnitedStates. Multiple Sclerosis: Marijuana reduces the muscle pain and spastically caused by the disease. Epilepsy:Marijuana prevents epileptic seizures in some patients and allows more fresh areas of bronchi to open up.
ChronicPain: Marijuana reduces the chronic often debilitating pain caused by a variety of injuries and disorders. In order to beeffective, marijuana must be taken daily. It seems to be the most effective three hours after dosage, and last for fivehours. Some critic contend that after taken for a period of time, the person may become tolerant to the drug andreduce effectiveness.
This is true for a lot of pain relieving drugs. A person cannot rule out marijuana because it hasnot been proven that a person will develop tolerance. “Marijuana could benefit as many as five million patients in theUnited States” (Nagorney 2). This situation to many people is intolerable.
Those patients who choose to stay within thelaw suffer and die, both from disease and from many prescription drugs that cause side effects. “Nearly all medicineshave toxic, potentially lethal effects, but marijuana is not such a substance” (Nagorney 2). This successful use ofmarijuana has given many patients a much more positive outlook on their treatment. There is now an enormousamount of public support of medical marijuana. A scientific survey of oncologist (cancer specialist) found that 54% ofthose control medical marijuana availability and 44% have already broken the law by obtaining marijuana illegally. “Thirty-four states letting patients with certain conditions smoke dope” (Foreman 25).
States such as Texas, California,Massachusetts, etc. , have recognized marijuanaOs therapeutic potential and have passed legislation supporting itsvalue. These reforms could be passed throughout the nation with the help of people like you. Meanwhile, the only wayfor patients to gain legal access to marijuana as medicine is from the doctor. The patient must get a written note fromthe government and participate in a special program setup for them.
We know that legalization is neither a reasonablenor rational policy for this country. One of the things that bothers me most about legalization argument is the mixedmessage it sends to our young people. The legalization will advance a laissez-faire attitude about drugs. I believe thatwe must change public attitudes toward drugs and focus on prevention and treatment, but we must also maintain thelaws that make drugs illegal. Some of the drugs such as marijuana and cocaine should be legalized for medicalpurposes.
“Polls and voter referenda have repeatedly indicated that the vast majority of Americans think marijuanashould be medically available” (Grinspoon and Bakalar 1875). A final important prevention strategy is to enforce thelaws against illegal drugs in order to control their availability. There are many uses for marijuana, and many areunexplored. Actually some are explored in depth because of interest and others are left behind.
There are probablymany other uses that have not been found because of the lack of experimentation on the drug as a whole. If marijuanais legalized there will be much more research done on the drug, and hopefully the drug will begin to be approved foruse.