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Marijuana: The Wrong Choice

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Marijuana: The Wrong Choice

Most people remember hearing the phrase, "It is just marijuana. It is not a big deal. Go ahead, try some." However, the opposite of this statement could not be truer. Marijuana is a big deal and it is extremely dangerous. There has been a lot of press lately regarding the United States' need to legalize this substance. I think it is important to examine what, exactly, people are talking about legalizing and the potential effects it could have on our society. Understanding the implications of using marijuana is crucial and people must not turn a blind eye to the facts. Otherwise, theoretically speaking, people could find themselves putting a gun in their mouth and playing Russian roulette. Marijuana is a dangerous drug that promotes hard core substance abuse, harms the human body and puts users at risk for hurting other people.

Marijuana damages the human body. One joint of this drug, which is also called cannabis or hashish, contains over four hundred chemicals, some of which are addictive and carcinogenic. These chemicals in marijuana have been proven to cause side effects similar to that of smoking tobacco, such as coughing, wheezing, excessive phlegm, pneumonia, bronchitis, cancer and more. (Effects) The most potent drug, however, found in marijuana is called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This drug, TCH, is the active ingredient that gives smokers a reported 'high' and euphoric feeling after consumption. But what exactly is happening in the human body when TCH is consumed? TCH, in combination with other drugs in marijuana, actually tampers with and attaches to certain fragile parts of the brain, called cannabinoids, during use. These cannabinoids are part of the limbic system in the brain. "The limbic system is sometimes called the "emotional brain" because it plays a primary role in a range of emotions, including pain, pleasure, docility, affection, and anger. It also is involved in olfaction (smell) and memory...People with damage to certain limbic system structures forget recent events and cannot commit anything to memory." (Tortora 495) This damage that can be caused by marijuana is confirmed by a majority of smokers reporting trouble with short or long term memory loss. Can the euphoric feeling that people get from smoking this drug ever be worth the negative physical consequences and risks? I do not think so.

Marijuana is addictive and can serve as a gateway drug to more serious substance abuse. Most individuals would not think that lighting up a joint would ever lead them down a path to more serious drug use. However, this gradual increase in drug use is the trend. "Cannabis...Because it is usually the first illegal drug used by young people, it is considered a "gateway" drug to more addicting drugs." (Lewis 180) Young people, as well as most adults, do not understand the addictive nature of marijuana. I was even surprised, while researching this topic, to find that there are more teenagers in treatment for marijuana dependence than all other illegal drugs combined. (Above)

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