Among all drugs known to mankind, marijuana is the most condemned one for being perceived as harmful. However, in contrast to these perceptions, it appears to be the least harmful drug, but not as detrimental as caffeine, alcohol or tobacco. Scientific evidence linking marijuana use to deaths is insufficient. On the other hand, there had been significant evidence in relation to social and medical benefits derived from the use of cannabis substance. Marijuana has many benefits especially in medical perspectives.
Cannabis or marijuana has been used medically as an antiemetic or achieving various therapeutic outcomes. Arguments against the use and distribution of the commodity have therefore no scientific backing. This is despite opposition from governments, organizations and individuals. Practically, the herb has been utilized for health related purposes for a long time and it makes no sense why some of these individuals and entities are strongly against it. Many counties including but not limited to Australia and Canada have identified the benefits derived from marijuana. As such, they have embraced its use within the medical environment. In Canada, the plant is cultivated freely and this business has not only helped patients with various medical ailments, but it has also improved the economy of the country. Therefore, cannabis could be considered as particularly not harmful. In other words, it has a number of benefits that can be exploited to improve the lives of individuals. The paper discusses the pros and cons of marijuana legalization stating that its advantages are prevail over disadvantages.
In support of the opinion that marijuana has a number of benefits, studies have identified a group of endo-cannabinoids responsible for activating cannabinoid receptors (D’Souza, Sewell and Ranganathan 413-431). These and many other discoveries of chemicals present in the plant have resulted in the emergence of various CB receptor protagonists and antagonists. There are also studies, which have confirmed the therapeutic potential of cannabis. Six studies that were sponsored by the US back in 1980s found out that smoking bhang reduced pain, nausea, and glaucoma (Isaacs and Kilham 471-472). Isaacs and Kilham explain that many patients, families and doctors have witnessed the medical benefits accrued from cannabis. A lot more doctors, patients and researchers have testified and contributed to journals and books on the medical usefulness of this plant.
It can also be argued that marijuana legalization would boost the economy of a nation. A good example could be derived from Washington and Colorado states, which have seen major economic growth from legalization of marijuana. Consequently, the economists have estimated that cannabis legalization could save the government of the US more than $14 billion every year. This assumption is supported by the study by the Cato Institute (2010), which establishes that marijuana legalization would provide a new stream of revenue (Waldock and Miron 2010). Although one may not estimate the size of the current market of cannabis and be able to know either the demand or price of marijuana under different circumstances, one can be sure in the positive impact the commodity will add to the state and national economy.
In another perspective, individuals deserve the right to choose for themselves on what they want to do with their lives. No one is supposed to impose conditions on how they should protect themselves or how they should keep their bodies. The government authorities have a right to limit such choices if the individual’s actions happen to endanger the lives of other people. A person who engages in marijuana consumption does so in accordance to his or her own will. The government, therefore, should only come in the case when the individual actions appear as a significant threat to either himself/herself or other people. This may, however, not be applicable to marijuana since the drug is acknowledged to be less dangerous in comparison to other drugs such as tobacco, alcohol and others (Oglesby 2014).
Some studies have indicated that when children begin using marijuana in their early years, then there is a tendency of them being addicted. Further, there are arguments stipulating that the use of cannabis in America has been increasing at a tremendous rate. This owes to the fact that the commodity is not only easily accessible but also cheap. The fact that juveniles as young as ten years are able to obtain the commodity easily is saddening.
According to Caulkins, Lee and Kasunic, approximately 10, 000 teens in the US undergo treatment for aliments related to excessive use and dependency of marijuana each year (2012). This implies that cannabis cannot be safe, especially for juveniles. Consistent marijuana use has also been identified as the cause of various health disorders including respiratory dysfunctions, cardiovascular effects, mental and psychological problems, and unproductivity in work or home places. They caution stakeholders and concerned parties to take proactive measures in preventing excessive use of cannabis (Caulkins, Lee and Kasunic 4-34).
According to Deranek, peer pressure is among the causes of increased trend of marijuana use among juveniles (2014). Consisted use of this substance by the youth subsequently leads to addiction. It affects a teen’s life course, such as academic performance since it becomes cumbersome for a teen to focus on normal school activities. It can also have adverse effects to the user’s health, hygiene, relationship and other aspects (Deranek 104-106). These authors also point out ethical and social issues pertaining to use and abuse of drugs among children. Such issues are more complicated, especially due to the contradictory values that concern the drug use in the present societies. These values may be influenced by various factors such as religious, social and individual views. Within a particular society, opinions and values may substantially differ, thus resulting in conflicts concerning different issues that involve the use of drugs.
D’Souza, Sewell and Ranganathan explain that marijuana harbors a number of immediate dangers. Some of them include impaired coordination, distortion of space and time perceptions. These factors have been attributed to the risk of increased traffic accidents (D’Souza, Sewell and Ranganathan 413-431). The researchers have also identified that consistent use of this drug leads to impaired memory, consequently interfering with the learning processes, problem solving and generally, difficulty in thinking. These authors continued to observe that excessive use of marijuana has been attributed to high incidences of schizophrenia and psychosis. These points have been more significant in increased drug potency that has been experienced over the last two decades. While the average potency has gone up by 9% from 3% some decades ago, there is some type of marijuana, in which tetrahydrocannabinol (the intoxicating ingredient) has been found to measures as high as 25%.
In essence, evidence on the harmfulness of cannabis use is rather weak. It may be true that the use of marijuana carries with it tars and carcinogens the same way as tobacco does. However, it can also be agreed that there is no definitive data, which connects the use of cannabis with chronic disorders such as lung damage. Further, recent studies that have seemed to link excessive use of marijuana with memory impairment and a low IQ have been challenged by counter-analysis. This counter research has subsequently indicated that socioeconomic status is a confounding factor. A survey carried out by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention establishes that although the use of marijuana has increased recently, the perceived risks have greatly declined.
The medical use of this substance overshadows many of its perceived risks. As opposed to several other drugs that may perhaps not even be illegalized such as alcohol, and cigarettes, various advantages may be obtained from the marijuana plant. One of this significance is its medicinal purposes. Cannabis plant can be used as a part of herbal therapy or as antiemetic. For many years, alternative medicines have become a common strategy in relieving many ailments including depression and back pain. The herb, which has its roots from Chinese medicine, has received praise from many people and entities. This owes to the fact that it harbors hallucinogenic and soothing qualities. Further, cannabis has also been found as an effective drug in the treatment of nauseas. These have been good news, especially for cancer patients who suffer from nausea as one of the effects of chemotherapy (Isaacs and Kilham 471-472). The drug can also be used to increase appetite, especially for people suffering from HIV/AIDS, as well as for relaxing spasms, muscle tension and chronic pain. It should be considered that the effectiveness of cannabis for medical purposes has led to legalization of this drug in many other countries. It is, therefore, necessary for America to legalize this substance in order to reap its medicinal purposes.
The argument that marijuana use leads to use of other drugs has been eluded by recent studies. For instance, a study by the Scientific American noted that the assumption that individuals use marijuana first prior to using other drugs is a correlation and not necessarily a causation. Individuals who go about utilizing other drugs have also a tendency of drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes prior to trying other substances. In other words, individuals, who may be engaged in other drugs, could be habitual drug users or addicts and their behavior could not have been necessarily caused by marijuana use (Levin 1).
Contrary to many people’s perceptions, cannabis plant has many medical benefits. The constant condemnations of this plant by individuals, organizations and even the government have therefore no basis. However, its effects can be felt among juveniles who start using it too early without being guided on the “proper use”. Drugs and not just marijuana are dangerous to children if they are exposed to them. It is, therefore, necessary for parents and caregivers to ensure that children are not using this drug to avoid negative consequences such as addiction.
Despite a number of risks and concerns associated with marijuana use, it is less likely that its consequences are dire, considering the quantity of studies that have focused on this subject. It is not possible to wake up tomorrow and find that marijuana leads to chronic disorder. This would have been seen by now. In contrast to many other drugs, marijuana has a low rate of addiction. The concept of being addictive to cannabis has only been used to mislead people. For instance, marijuana cannot be compared with drugs such as cocaine, heroin or tobacco that is the worst culprit in this category. Therefore, it is important that the USA legalize marijuana considering that its benefits far outweigh the perceived risks.