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Published: Thursday 31st of October 2013
Marijuana is more commonly known as cannabis and consists of the dried leaves of this plant. In many countries all over the world, it is classified as an illegal drug and is banned from being both consumed and sold. The active ingredient of marijuana is THC which causes changes in many of mental functions, resulting in a pleasant feeling of lethargy, a mild form of visual hallucination and hunger. It is not an addictive drug, yet people can often become addicted to that lifestyle associated with it and so can feel a compulsion to continue using it, much like a physical addiction. The vast majority of the time, this drug is smoked or ingested for recreational use but there have been numerous studies out that have linked the use of cannabis oil to treat diabetes, cancer and various other diseases. The evidence of marijuana use for medicinal purposes has shown that it may bring about real benefits, yet many still oppose its use in this regard. Evidence on recreational use has also shown that it is largely harmless and there is a large debate about whether or not marijuana should be legalized.
One of the major debates against the legalization of marijuana is that people feel that it can be abused by this general public. Although it is not physically addictive, marijuana is most commonly smoked so one can become addictive in this sense. There is some evidence that overuse of marijuana can impair motor neurons function and lead to long-term memory loss. There is a strong case put against the fact that young people will be at greater risk, with marijuana far more likely to exert damage to their nervous systems than adults, yet it could always be made illegal for certain age groups.
Ingestion or inhalation of a cannabis plant can also increase the likelihood of certain neurological disorders such as paranoid schizophrenia as well as other mental hallucinations. This drug, if taken consistently over an extended period of time, can result in mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, impairing everyday normal life. There have also been cases of people becoming more and more isolated – as marijuana makes you feel lazy and comfortable just to sit in one place; people can end up sitting around in their homes and not going out anywhere or doing anything, wasting away so to speak. Sociologically, there is an argument against marijuana in the regard that it can disintegrate society.
Advocates of marijuana would put forward an entirely different case and state that this drug has always been safe to use. Often, marijuana has been made illegal based on insufficient evidence or a blatant rejection of evidence, for instance. One example of this has been with the case of the United Kingdom government who have refused to lower the class of marijuana from a class B to class C drug, even though they have been given scientific reports by government advisors suggesting that marijuana does not have any harmful effect. In the United States, marijuana was also outlawed historically not on the basis of causing harm to society but because of lobbying against hemp by companies that saw it as powerful competition against producing their goods.
There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that marijuana is, in fact, a safe drug whose impact on one’s brain is largely exaggerated. Studies have shown that you are far more likely to die as a result of alcohol than you are as a user of marijuana, mainly because of the problems that arise from being drunk such as physical accidents but also because of higher risks of heart disease and other problems. Many governments actually feel the need to use marijuana for medicinal purposes and so this drug has stood up to the scrutiny of scientific testing, being used in all sorts of treatments from pain to glaucoma.
Advocates for marijuana legalization point to the fact that marijuana is being lumped into drug categories that are highly unrealistic and this is giving the wrong impression about the drug, for instance in Japan, the drug is class A, the same as heroin and “hard drugs”, yet it has none of the effects that hard drugs have. These advocates say that marijuana needs to be taken seriously and given the correct representation it deserves, for instance, putting it as a drug into the same category as cigarettes and alcohol which are actually responsible for more deaths and are addictive unlike marijuana, but it would be more of a step in the right direction it is argued. Another key argument for the decriminalization of marijuana is for the government to be able to benefit from significantly higher tax revenues. A lot of people consuming marijuana could lead to a lot of tax being collected for use by the government.
So whatever the case may be, this debate is likely to continue for some time. In general the trend by governments over time has been to move more in the direction of legalizing marijuana; however, there will always be opposition. The debate continues.