Marijuana is not a Dangerous Narcotic
Marijuana has long been classified as a dangerous narcotic. Not only has Marijuana been linked to health problems but also to ‘undesired’ character and uncouth behavior. However, this is not always the case. Alcohol and tobacco have been observed to be far more detrimental in addiction and some health issues in relation to the inhalation of marijuana. In addition, there has been increasing speculation as to marijuana’s potential medical use. An in-depth analysis has been conducted here-in as to whether marijuana is a dangerous narcotic or not. The conclusion is that marijuana is not a dangerous narcotic and should be legalized just like tobacco or alcohol.
Proponents have normally phrased various reasons in support of marijuana being classified as a dangerous narcotic. Among the reasons is the health concerns posed by smoking in general and the particular side effects of Marijuana itself. In addition, Marijuana has long been considered as negative to any person’s public image. In comparison to cigarettes, which can be smoked publicly and by anyone in any position be it of power and influence, with possibly worse health concerns, marijuana has long been associated with a scruffy and ‘ungentlemanly’ character which is a biased evaluation. However, there have been numerous reasons put forward as to the classification of Marijuana as a dangerous narcotic.
First, Marijuana is perceived as addictive. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed which outlawed the usage of Marijuana and classified it as a Schedule I drug after it was observed that there was ‘high potential for abuse.’ This intuitively implies that once a person starts using Marijuana, there is a high probability that it will soon dominate his or her life. Although this may not be entirely true in some cases, there have been a considerable number of persons who are addicted to weed. However, alcohol, which is not classified as dangerous, has been found to be more addictive than Marijuana (Code of Federal Regulations 1).
Secondly, analysts have over time discredited that Marijuana has any substantial medical use. Nonetheless, research on its medicinal value has normally not been conclusive. There are numerous claims that it reduces pain and cured some major ailments in several patients suffering glaucoma, cancer and respiratory problems. If these claims were to be exhaustively investigated, and any one of them found to be true, then, Marijuana would no longer be viewed as dangerous, but rather, beneficial to man. Thirdly, Marijuana is associated with a ‘careless’ and reckless lifestyle. A major stereotype is that Marijuana, being cheaper than cocaine or heroin, is a gateway for losers and those who have failed to achieve their dreams. This can be disproved since most such persons are normally high on numerous illicit substances.
Fourthly, marijuana is normally linked to hard and addictive narcotics such as cocaine and heroin. Weed is perceived as a gateway drug by most anti-drug crusaders. However, weed has also been linked to religion, which serves to disprove this perception. The degree of usage and the purpose for use among a cross-section of users determines how each is affected. Rastafarians believe that the herb brings one closer to God via enabling meditation and as such, use it for this purpose. They also view Marijuana as a natural herb just like tea or coffee, unlike other narcotics. Tobacco and alcohol can also be said to be getaway drugs yet they are not classified as dangerous. Antidrug laws have classified Marijuana as a narcotic such as opium and its numerous derivatives. The assumption that Marijuana is a narcotic is highly controversial since this was done on the basis of the reaction observed in the users. ‘Expected’ reactions in tobacco, nicotine and alcohol essentially led to them being legal while an ‘abnormal’ reaction was observed in methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin users, hence such were outlawed. Marijuana was categorized in the later group since it was popular with such users. Classifying it as a dangerous narcotic was therefore biased since it has been observed that alcohol and tobacco are popular with such users too.
Marijuana, in the 1930s, was highly popular with oppressed ethnic minorities. The Mexican Americans are known for incorporating Marijuana into their culture. As such, some American states found it crucial to ban the usage of weed so as to suppress the Chicano movement. This essentially curbed the development of some Mexican cultures in the United States and hence ensuring that the American culture remained dominant. However, as times changed, especially in the 1960s and the 1970s, Marijuana gained popularity among the White Americans and thus it was no longer an ethnic drug. Therefore, in current times, all laws banning its usage and any classification as dangerous should be done away with for they no longer serve their purpose (Ortiz 3).
The classification of Marijuana as a dangerous narcotic is a de facto federal ban. Marijuana has been banned for over 70 years in the United States. Most people are comfortable with such legislation as far as it is not enforced stringently. Hence, although the law outlaws its usage, Marijuana is widely used with minimal legal consequences. This can be compared to the ban on sodomy which till 2003 in the Lawrence vs. Texas was still unconstitutional yet it was being practiced since time immemorial. Most persons are comfortable with the status quo and a campaign for the change in such a law is not likely to boil over as far as the enforcement remains literal.
The case for the legalization of Marijuana and its declassification as a dangerous narcotic has normally not been presented appealingly before any constitutional court. Advocates in support of its declassification as a dangerous narcotic have been quoted saying that it promotes ‘moral progression, open-mindedness and innovation.’ These claims cannot hold before any legal affairs court since they cannot be substantiated. Alcohol is a more addictive drug, yet the case for legalization has stood the test of time since it has been sufficiently defended. However, there still remains a lot to be desired if Marijuana will be declassified as a dangerous narcotic given the negative image associated with its usage.
Last but not least is the medical concern associated with the use of marijuana. The case against the declassification of Marijuana has mainly been deterred by caution put forward by medics over time. Although substances found in Marijuana are less harmful than a myriad of other similarly classified narcotics, it would be unwise to view it as perfectly safe. Researchers have documented a wide range of effects ranging from health to memory loss. In addition, the usage of Marijuana for any medical purposes must involve the administration of a balancing drug or test such is in the treatment of cancer by chemotherapy so as to cancel out any resultant harmful effect.
There are various detrimental effects that have been associated with the habitual smoking of Marijuana. First, there has been speculation that Marijuana may cause an aggravation of the disorders which it is being used to treat. Secondly, smoking at least a joint a day may cause irreversible damage on the bronchial passage which protects the body from harmful micro-organisms and hence decreasing the body’s potential to fight off infections. This is especially dangerous for patients who have a weakened immune system such as those suffering from AIDS who would be prone to pneumonia. In addition, Marijuana has been known to heavily contribute to respiratory illnesses. These are mainly pulmonary infections and respiratory cancer. Although such a study has not been conclusive, there is substantial evidence depicting this as the case. Marijuana has also been known to cause chronic bronchitis, inflammation in the lungs and the development of cancerous cells in the lungs and bronchial passages. However, all such respiratory effects are not unique to Marijuana but are also associated with cigarette smoking. Hence, Marijuana should be viewed no way different than cigarette smoking.
An outstanding factor against Marijuana is tar. Marijuana is smoked without a filter and contains 4 times as much tar as a cigarette. Hence, marijuana promotes lung cancer more than any other inhaled drug. Cigarettes have been linked directly to lung cancer which is known to cause an average 125,000 deaths in the United States every year. Hence, it has been argued that Marijuana would cause four times as much if it is declassified as a dangerous narcotic and consequently legalized. In addition to lung cancer, Marijuana is linked to more than half of the patients suffering from the cancers of oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx. In these cases, the usage of Marijuana as treatment would only serve to worsen the situation. Finally, Marijuana has also been linked to numerous mental disorders such as panic attacks, hallucinations, delusionary vision and thoughts, paranoia, depression, extremely aggressive behavior and acute toxic psychosis. Persons have been known to murder their families under the excessive influence of Marijuana. However, such impairment to judgment and reason cannot be limited to Marijuana alone. Numerous other drugs, such as alcohol, or hard core narcotics, such as cocaine, have been known to influence individuals to carry out rash acts. Hence, Marijuana, and its effects, should be evaluated just like alcohol or tobacco.
In an attempt to investigate whether the use of marijuana leads to start of abuse of other drugs, Jan van carried a study for a period of over ten years in Amsterdam. From his findings he found no association between smoking of marijuana and use of other hard drugs like cocaine and heroine. When he studied cocaine takers, he found that most of them even had never taken cannabis. Also at the United States institute of medicine, they found no effective conclusion to prove that the effects produced by smoking of marijuana are in any way related to the abuse of other drugs.
An article written in the American journal of public health by Andrew and Johnson indicates that there are no or very few marijuana users who turn to use of hard drugs. Basing on the data from the national household survey on drug abuse which was collected in the years 1982-1994, showed that the teenagers who took cocaine and heroine did so independent of whether they had used marijuana a time before. This showed that smoking of marijuana doesn’t have any influence on whether one will ‘graduate ’to using other hard drugs. Apparently, those who abuse other hard drugs, do it out of a need of testing or due to other life triggers.
Marijuana itself is not addictive, as per the research that has been carried out. Its use can not develop substantial level of dependence. It is worthy to note that only a minute fraction of the marijuana smokers are bound to have a psychosomatic reliance on the drug. Watt indicates that the habit of smoking cannabis is a social habit that can be stopped very easily. He suggests that in order one to develop dependence then he or she must have an existing disorder or might be in the process of developing one.
Further, cannabis does not in any way pose health danger to the user. It has not been found to cause any impairment be it psychological or physical. The only thing that is does is to stimulate of brain cells and makes them ready to be used by the smoker who can use them at his purposes. In fact marijuana products have proved effective more so in the medical sector where they are used as pain reducer and hence used in surgical wards.
Marijuana is a flower from a plant referred to as Indian hemp which had been grown in the United States for purposes of making of ropes but it grows in the wilderness as it was declared illegal in many countries. The known effects of the drug are excitement, reduction of exhaustion, and relief of nervousness. It is also found to boost the appetite, disrupt the sense of time, increasing self self-assurance and in most cases it can cause relaxation of some inhibitions (Fort, 1965). Smoking of marijuana has also been found to trigger the sense of color recognition and creates a sense of a beautiful environment.
Most smokers have explained that they had a psychedelic experience which heightens the awareness and triggers critical thinking. Marijuana is also known to promote perspective change be it to life or about the smoker and his environment. These effects though are not as great as those produced by the other drugs like LSD which alters perspectives and thoughts with immediate effect once they are taken. Marijuana in itself acts as a guide or a driving force towards creating of a more deepened awareness. The smoker follows this path out of his or her discretion but not a forceful drive. Marijuana’s most active component is referred to as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the oldest chemical known to produce hallucinogenic effects. It was used in ancient times by the Chinese as a herbal remedy since the 1st century when it was wildly grown.
Though the studies about THC are not yet complete, some studies have still proved of its harmless nature when taken wisely and when not abused. The delaying in the research of THC and marijuana plant have been delayed due to the fact that it seems as a complex plant with complex compounds and which can therefore be thought to have complicated effects to the health of a human being. When it is experimented using rats, there is less effects to the rats since they developed less or no impairments (Bernardi). When the rats were administered with injection of marijuana extracts, they appeared to become more active than before. This can be explained by the fact that Indian hemp has so many compounds that counter the effects of each other and can cancel the effects. A good example is that it has a sedative and also excitement compounds so if in any case there is a compound that is triggering pain or causing the feeling of being ‘low’ it can be definitely catered for.
The effects of marijuana can be definitely be different between the users depending on the user’s interpretation, the way he or she uses it, and if there have been an already existing habit of developing the effects. Many psychologists owes that environment has a major role to play on the development of the effects of marijuana. It is worthy to note that in most cases the smoker has no effect when smoking the herb for the first time but as the time of use increases there is development of some psychological effects. Therefore Becker indicates that it is essential fro the potential users of marijuana to first understand the effects of smoking before indulging themselves into the same.
Globally the number of marijuana users has increased significantly from some few hundred thousand during 1950’s and from the middle class persons to those who are highly respectable persons including professionals and college students(Goldstein, 1966). Reports from colleges indicates that on average, about 15% smokers are present in middle class colleges which goes to about 30 to 60% when it comes to big metropolitan colleges. It also indicated that smoking of marijuana has even been adopted by the bodies governing the students and extended to the entire college fraternities (druglibrary).
Many people today counts cannabis as a social hazard which has been proved otherwise by a series of studies. Some of the studies are includes New York City Mayor’s Committee (1994) and British government initiated event in research the marijuana’s effect in India. These studies concluded that marijuana has no negative effects either to the user or the society in question. They also indicated that the use of marijuana should not be declared illegal since it is like any other drug that has been declared legal like alcohol. But later this recommendation was not considered due to pressures in the political and economic spheres.
On comparison to other drugs like tobacco and alcohol that are considered legal, marijuana is better than both in the sense that it is not toxic in itself and it is not addictive. It is therefore futile to ban the use of a drug that is not harmful while legalizing the consumption of dangerous drugs. The effect of the other drugs have been felt across the globe, alcohol which is legal in so many parts of the world has rendered many men infertile and therefore depriving the world the ability to increase the population. On the same note, tobacco, legal in so many countries, has lead to increase in cases of cancers and with no known positive effect, such as medicinal. In women smokers, tobacco has increased the birth of defective babies. On the contrary, no such case has been associated with the use of marijuana. Marijuana has been used to reduces the pain to cancer patients most of them who can be associated to smoking of tobacco.
Attorneys have risen to challenge the existing world laws on the prohibition of marijuana. They claim that the classification of cannabis as narcotic is based on unreasoning nature of law makers and marijuana is not a threatening factor to the health of the public, its safety, morals and peoples welfare. Instead it is on the constructive side. They claim that any punishment endorsed on the individuals found in possession of this drug is cruel and discriminative and if marijuana was to continue being prohibited and so should alcohol and tobacco should be since their effects can easily be seen, unlike the one of marijuana which is yet to be confirmed (Kubby).
Amongst the advocates of marijuana are some paramount religious leaders, doctors, psychologists, and some sociologists. A good example is a statement made by a religious bishop, Bishop Pike that the world has no valid reason to ban the use of cannabis; instead it has a very viable reason to declassify it as a dangerous narcotic.
All arguments for and against having been considered, Marijuana should not be viewed as a dangerous narcotic. Alcohol is far more hazardous to the human body in comparison to Marijuana, which, except for its effects due to tar, has a lesser effect on the human health in comparison to cigarettes. Although the medicinal purposes that marijuana can be put into have not been substantiated, there is still a possibility that it is useful in the medical field. Rather than stereotype the inhalation of marijuana, it should be declassified as a dangerous narcotic and also legalized. Classifying it as dangerous ignites more curiosity. This only serves to fuel its popularity and usage.