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The use of marijuana among college students has been the subject of controversy

for several decades. Marijuana use among young Americans peaked in 1979 with a

60.4% of high school seniors admitting to at least trying the drug. Today it is said that 60

million Americans have used marijuana at one point or another in their life. That is

approximately 1/3 of the nations population (Internet). If so many people have used it or

are using it, is it really bad? That is the question I am prepared to answer.

Marijuana is a plant. The buds of the plant are dried and smoked to reach a

“high”. A chemical known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active

chemical in marijuana. It is what gets someone high. During this stage of being “high” an

individual might experience euphoric feelings, giddiness, lowered inhibitions, and/or

contemplativeness. The negative side effects to smoking marijuana include red dry eyes,

slight coughing, some impaired judgment, and some reports of paranoia. Marijuana

contains no addictive substances but a user can become psychologically dependant on the


For decades people have speculated that detrimental effects of marijuana on the

human body. There are very few credible scientific studies that in fact support these

speculations. Some short-term effects of marijuana as stated by the National Institute of Drug Abuse include problems with memory (4), distorted perception of sight, sound, time, and touch (3), trouble with thinking and problem solving (1), and increased heart

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rate and anxiety. When five marijuana smokers were asked what they felt were the negative side-effects the agreed only with the negative effects like short term memory loss, loss of perception of time, and a slightly slower thought process while speaking. With all this aside, the most definitive study in this area showed that people who were occasional marijuana users were to be mentally healthier than those you abuse the drug or abstain from it all together (Shedler & Block 1990).

Marijuana is more than just a recreational drug. It in fact has several medical uses.

Marijuana was available in this country legally as a nerve tonic until 1937. (Internet) Marijuana also appears in almost every known book of medicine to date. The top two uses for marijuana in the medical field include aiding the cure for glaucoma (the second leading cause of blindness and can slow down if not stop the effects of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease where the bodies immunes system attacks its own nerve

cells. Marijuana weakens the immune system and that is how it can keep the Multiple

Sclerosis from getting worse. It is relatively easy to see that our nation needs to legalize marijuana at least for medicinal purposes to help with the fighting against these two devastating diseases.

Alcohol is legal in the united state when it is actually worse for the human body than marijuana. When drinking, alcohol creates certain “poisons” which damage brain tissues and cells. Marijuana on the other hand only stimulates these cells causing no permanent damage. Our society accepts the fact that alcohol is the cause for 22,000

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deaths per year in driving incidents and there are some 94,000 non-driving alcohol-related deaths per year. Drug related deaths total at about 21,000 a year. That is 95,000 cases of alcohol related deaths when compared to drug related-deaths. Mind you the drug related deaths include cocaine, heroin, and other harder drugs. (Internet)

Even cigarettes are potentially worse for the human body and they are legal. Tobacco contains nicotine, marijuana doesn’t. Nicotine can harden the arteries and may be responsible for much of the heart disease caused by tobacco. The THC in marijuana acts as a bronchial dilator. This means it acts like a cough drop and opens up the lungs, which aids in clearance of smoke and dirt. Nicotine does just the opposite; it makes the lungs bunch up and makes it harder to cough anything up. Although that the actual smoke of marijuana contains several of the carcinogens found in cigarettes and can lead to cancer over a long period of heavy use, there are no official documents that say marijuana causes cancer.

Former president Ronald Reagan once stated,