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The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side

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Earl Perry

ENC 1101 1:15


Paper#2 Draft C

Research Argumentative

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side

It is said to have the power to cure cancer, to alieve any un-wanted stress, and to promote creativity, but it also can have negative repercussions, to put innocent citizens in jail if one caught with a large amount of it. Marijuana, Marijuana is a very controversial drug and has been since the 1950’s. Today I will research the following questions to clear up any “myths” about Marijuana. I want to know “how does marijuana compare to other drugs?”, “Is Marijuana lethal?”, “Does marijuana have bodily side effects?”, and lastly” Is Marijuana a gateway drug?”

Many people believe Marijuana can kill you and it is the worst drug ever, but from my research I have found Marijuana is actually the complete opposite. For example, Huffington Post National reporter Matt Ferner reported” Researchers found that marijuana has the lowest risk of mortality and is safer than the commonly used alcohol and tobacco as well as the rest of the drugs in the study. They determined the risk of mortality by comparing the lethal dose of each substance with a commonly used amount of each substance” (Ferner 1).  Many people even with documented research still believe Marijuana is harm compared to other drugs.

Many people also believe Marijuana causes death and also the loss of brain cells, however there have been no documented Marijuana deaths and or brain cell loss. Daniel DeNoon, a reporter for WebMD Health news, states, “marijuana smoking can't kill outright -- there's no such thing as a fatal marijuana overdose -- short-term use isn't deadly. Long-term use can't be good for you. But Sidney notes that most marijuana smokers don't become long-term users” (DeNoon 1) he goes on to compare now men and women from different cultures.  “Sidney points to two large studies. The first is from California. A large HMO looked at 65,177 men and women age 15-49. Over 10 years, marijuana users died no sooner than nonusers” (1)

Also many people believe that Marijuana is a “gateway drug”, which causes you to venture to other harder drugs. I found this to be not true because correlation does not equal causation. Many researchers believe that Marijuana is the first step before transitioning to harder drugs, but the research Dave Levitan findings show that “the U.S. actually has slightly higher rates of use than the Netherlands, and there is evidence for a “weakened gateway” in the Netherlands: about 15 of every 100 cannabis users have tried cocaine in that country, a lower rate than others where marijuana is illegal such as Scotland, Italy, and Norway” (Levitan 1).

Being that, the majority of experts claim Marijuana is a safe recreational drug with low risk, and zero bodily effects there are some that still believe Marijuana is a harmful drug, but I believe the total opposite. Now I will explain the argument of the research paper. George Bierson is a part of the Massachusetts News Staff, he believes that Marijuana is harmful because it can affect your body and is a drug that makes it easier to venture to harder drugs.

In 2000, George Bierson’s "Marijuana, the Decisive Drug", was published by the Massachusetts News. Bierson concludes that marijuana is deleterious in many ways, including encephalon damage, damage to the reproductive system, and emasculating of the immune system” Regular marijuana use at levels,[…], seriously damage the chromosomes, the immune system,[…], the reproductive system, the lungs, and, as we have seen, the brain”(Bierson 1). He withal endeavors to convince the reader that marijuana is a "gateway drug" that leads the users to venture into much harder drugs” In time their brains,[…], graduate to the use of cocaine and heroin,[…],being caught in the marijuana trap”(1). I believe that research to fortify anything can be found if one is looking hard enough, but that the fallacy of Bierson’s conclusion is due to his research seeking facts to fortify an already-postulated conclusion. Predicated on my research and my own personal experience, I have found that several of his points, were out dated and in valid, do not reach his conclusion.

 One of Bierson’s most vigorous fortifying claims is of the physical harms of marijuana. He argues that Heath's tests of the monkey's encephalon seemed to show conclusive evidence of encephalon damage; however, he fails to mention that the tests were later discredited” Many critics still cite,[…],studies of Dr. Robert G. Heath,[…],find brain damage in three monkeys that had been heavily dosed with cannabis,[…], never replicated and has since been discredited by,[…],much larger monkey studies, one by Dr. William Slikker of the National Center for Toxicological Research,[…],Charles Rebert and Gordon Pryor of SRI International”(Thistle 1) the monkeys were given astronomically high doses, doses exponentially higher than that of the average recreational or medical marijuana utilizer, and the test’s sample size was too minuscule. More current studies of people who are heftily ponderous marijuana smokers show no evidence of encephalon damage” A study published in 2000 by researchers at the University of Iowa found no evidence of cerebral atrophy or regional volume differences in MRI scans of frequent cannabis users when compared to non-users” (“human studies” 1); in integration, the American Medical Sodality has officially endorsed the decriminalization of marijuana.  I perceive this to be quite marginally more compelling than an archaic and poorly executed test. His claims of damage to both the reproductive system and the immune system are again predicated on invalid experiments with unusually high lethal doses administered to mice and other animals, not humans. Moreover, several studies of the effects of marijuana on the human reproductive and immune systems have failed to demonstrate unpropitious effects.

One of the longest standing arguments against the utilization of marijuana is that it gives users a "gateway" to harder or more illicit drug use. Bierson states in his article that "Marijuana is the seed from which the scourge of drug abuse grows. If we stop the marijuana, we will stop the rest of drug abuse"(Bierson 1). I have several issues with this verbal expression: first, the simple fact that many heroin and cocaine users used marijuana first does not conclude that the latter is the result of the first. Correlation is not causation. Bierson’s vehement argument against marijuana alone become suspect, as most heroin and cocaine abusers had withal antecedently used alcohol and tobacco. According to regime surveys, a conservative estimate of “100 million American have tried marijuana in their life, and 25 million admit to utilizing it recently” (Norml 1); if marijuana were genuinely a gateway drug, we would visually perceive a higher percentage of conventional users. Instead we are seeinng an even more diminutive percentage of abusers of Alcohol and tobacco. In fact, most people who utilize marijuana most often quit on their own afore the age of 34” The use of marijuana usually peaks in the late teens and early twenties, and then declines in later years,[…],which continues into a person's early twenties”(Caron 1) .If anybody is still compelled to buy into the "gateway" theory, an authentic-life example is available for all too see: In Holland, marijuana has been partially decriminalized since the 1970's “Since 1976, authorities across the Netherlands have chosen to openly ignore that cannabis use is illegal here, and they prosecute no one in possession of less than five grams of marijuana for personal use”(Winston 1). Reports show that the utilization of cocaine and heroin has significantly decreased, thus contradicting the hypothesis of marijuana as a gateway drug. Instead, these statistics appear to point to the conclusion that marijuana is more likely a superseded for harder drugs rather than a launching pad.



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