Whether it is legalized or not, let’s all be clear about a couple of things. The idea that smoking marijuana is only good for you, or has no harmful side effects, or doesn’t affect your ability to concentrate or focus is just bogus. People are human and just try to justify their actions and this is just another example. First take out the medical reasons for using, because as we all know this will not be the typical reason most people purchase the drug. Just like drinking, prescriptions pills, and other ‘street’ drugs, marijuana can be dangerous and detrimental to people and their livelihoods.
There are some simple truths about marijuana. It is estimated that the average THC content in marijuana went from 1% in 1972 to at least 17% today. Marijuana reaches the same pleasure centers in the brain that are targeted by heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. The effects of marijuana can include feelings of panic, anxiety, fear, hallucination, increased heart rate, trouble concentrating, decreased ability to perform and to finish tasks, decreased interest and focus. The notion that smoking pot always leads to a calm relaxed state is false.
Long term users have reported trouble thinking clearly, organizing thoughts, multi-tasking, remembering things, and slow reaction times. Marijuana smoke can cause the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, and raises the heart rate by 20-100% shortly after smoking and lasts up to 3 hours. The death rate due to cardiovascular disease from marijuana users is as high as 25.6%. It adversely affects the immune system, meaning it weakens it.
When users begin in their teen years, it can impact brain development and decrease brain activity. Research has even shown that it decreases the size of the hippocampus, which controls learning and memory functions. The effects of marijuana last up to 2 years after use has stopped.
We know that with most things, research can show pros and cons. There are two sides to every story as they say. I realize the benefits that marijuana offers to cancer patients, but it’s interesting that because it can help cancer patients, all of a sudden that is a reason to make it readily and easily available to all.
Let’s go into some ‘real’ data. Personal experience. Every person I have ever known that uses marijuana first of all uses it regularly. There is seldom the occasional user. This means at least on a weekly basis. The majority of the people actually are those that use it daily, or constantly. I have known numerous people that fit in this category. I think it is very hard for the average person to use marijuana occasionally. I’ll repeat, most of the people (like 98%) that I have known in life have never been able to control their use. Every time I see it start, it turns to daily use and ‘can’t function without it.’
So forget all the research and facts for or against on paper, I’ll base my ‘feelings’ on firsthand experience. After occurrence of use, let’s talk about the behavior of these people. Every one of them start repeating things, lose focus, lack of interest increases, and other areas of their life (that are truly important) suffer some type of way. Does this mean they can’t function? Of course not! Just as there are many ‘functioning alcoholics,’ there are also many ‘functioning potheads.’ By functional I mean that many can hold jobs (sometimes very good jobs) and many can be parents, and many can be social. But any substance that becomes addictive is ultimately harmful.
When people start to shake violently because they haven’t gotten their high for the day, I’d say that marijuana might be harmful. When people can’t remember things and lose control, I’d say it is harmful. When people lose focus and just want to sit and ‘veg’ out, I’d say they might need to learn a more healthy way to relax.
Is legalizing marijuana going to get rid of the dope boy on the street? Of course not. There will always be ‘dope’ boys pushing something on the streets. The only way to get rid of them would be if the police actually arrested them instead of all the users. We know that isn’t going to happen.
Will legalizing it increase its usage? I can confidently state that I fully believe that it won’t decrease its usage, so you can summarize. The people who pretend that it won’t again, just justifying. Take a look at the people who are advocates of legalizing. Let the images speak for themselves.
Is marijuana a gateway drug? Of course. All drugs are in essence gateway drugs. If a person needs a ‘high’ and gets it from one substance, eventually that substance will stop having the same effect and they will need to get the high from another substance. With addictive personalities, it will obviously lead down a bad road. With those that aren’t addictive by chemical nature or otherwise, it can certainly lead to more use. By arguing that it isn’t a gateway drug, people are being completely ignorant and refusing to accept reality. Of the people that I know that are smokers, about 60% of them have gone on to use other substances. Maybe it’s oxycodone or another prescription pill, maybe it’s heroin or another street drug, either way it’s the same answer. Don’t be naive.
If you are dying of cancer and/or in pain and need to use marijuana, go for it. I am guessing that the majority of advocates for marijuana use do not fit this category. Do your own research, from both sides. More importantly, take a look at people in your life that are users. Take all the evidence and decide for yourself if that’s how you want to live your life. Don’t let your ignorance teach a child to become a pothead please.
It is vital to teach our young children the harmful effects of marijuana and all other substances. This includes prescription pills, alcohol, heroin, crack, the list goes on. Let’s not kid ourselves and walk around and act as if marijuana is this great herb that is healthy for us.