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MARIJUANA...

Marijuana: Friend or Foe

 

"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to the individual than the use of the drug itself" said President Jimmy Carter in a message to Congress in 1977. The penalties for possession of marijuana include fines of up to $2000.00 and up to two years of imprisonment, yet the legalization of marijuana would number over hundreds of benefits towards the United States and its citizens (NORML).

We all know what marijuana does to our bodies; we've seen the commercials to support a "drug-free America". We know that marijuana kills our brain cells, makes us stupid, destroys families, causes depression, leads to acts of violence, and causes lifetime addictions (Freevibe). Yet, studies done by several universities have proven the complete opposite of these effects of marijuana. By completing these studies, we have actually learned that marijuana does not kill our brain cells, does not make us stupid, does not cause depression, does not lead to acts of violence, and does not cause lifetime addictions (Erowid).

Marijuana is one of the safest herbal drugs known to man. There has not been a single case regarding illness or disease that has been linked back to marijuana (Erowid). Its medicinal uses number over a hundred, proving to be beneficial in the treatment of AIDS, glaucoma,cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain (MPP). It also leads to pacifism, stress reduction, euphoria, muscle relaxation, and philosophical thinking.

Marijuana can enter the body through two forms: by an oral method and by smoking marijuana. Some benefits of smoking marijuana over the ingestion of the drug are instant relief and better control over dosages. Several organizations believe that marijuana should remain illegal because it can be smoked to receive its effects (Freevibe). But tobacco, an intoxicant with no medicinal use, is legal and available to all citizens of the United States.

Tobacco smoke contains over 1000 harmful chemicals and carcinogens,and causes nearly three times as much smoke as marijuana. Tobacco causes a physical addiction, lung cancer, bronchitis, emphysema, and kills an average of 395,000 Americans per year (Erowid). However, marijuana smoke causes no physical addictions, has not killed a singleperson, and is actually beneficial towards the body. Marijuana smoke has actually been proven to be an expectorant, dilating the air channels it comes in contact with; this provides instant relief for those suffering from asthma. There have also been studies which have shown that marijuana smoke clears the lungs, which reduces the risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis. So, it is clear that the assumption that smoking marijuana is unhealthy can be discarded (MMP).

There are also many medications which are more harmful than they are beneficial, such as vicoden, darvocet, and oxycoton. These drugs are made from opiates, where possible side effects of these medications range from addiction, nausea, dependence, drowsiness, depression, oreven fatal overdose. Some medications might not have any effect at all. Marijuana would make for an excellent substitute for these drugs as there is no dependence and no chance of fatal overdose. Marijuana would also have the potential to replace 15 to 20% of medications on the market if legalized (NORML).

If marijuana was legalized, it would reasonably substitute other legal intoxicants available in the United States. One of these intoxicants is alcohol, which is one of the most dangerous substances available in America. Excluding automotive accidents and acts of violence while under the influence, alcohol consumes the lives of 150,000 Americans per year (Erowid). And when concerning driving while under the influence of marijuana, most users are able to make proper judgment and retain from driving a vehicle.

Marijuana's healing powers have been used in worldly cultures forover 2000 years. These cultures understood its ability to curedisease, and many countries today understand and use its healing power. There is no point in allowing so many Americans to suffer from such diseases when their cure has been available since the beginning of time. The laws concerning marijuana are outdated, and as we now have research to prove its value, the laws should be reversed and allow marijuana to be legalized for use in the United States.

Marijuana Policy Project, "State-By-State Report 2004", State Policies Department, Washington, DC: www.marijuanapolicy.org, 2004Erowid, "Erowid Cannabis Vault", Erowid.org,www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis.html, January 2004Freevibe, "Freevibe | Drug Facts | Marijuana", freevibe.com,www.freevibe.com/Drug_Facts/marijuana.asp, 2004The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, "NORMLHome / State by State Laws / Michigan", norml.org,http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?wtm_view=&Group_ ID=4544, March 2004

This article sent in and published with consent of Peter Karadsheh, it is copyright protected and should not be copied, reproduced or otherwise used in anyway wihout written consent of the author.