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Marijuana A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly fifteen hundred pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response... In strict medical terms, marijuana is far safer than many of the foods we commonly consume. For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death." DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young. Between 9 and 17 million Americans are occasional users of marijuana and about 3 million are daily users. As many as 40 million have tried the drug for many different reasons such as experimentation and peer pressure (Schleichert 40). Much of America's youth is experimenting with the drug and between 1991 and 1994 the amount of eighth graders that used the drug increased two-fold. Marijuana effects each person based on many different factors including heredity, availability of the substance, expectations on how the drug will affect you, and the influence of friends. In 1988 it was discovered that tetrahyrdrocannabinol, (THC) the active chemical in marijuana, binds to certain protein receptors of nerve cells and once in place, THC begins the cellular reactions that cause the "high". Marijuana can help the United States if it was legalized. Marijuana has withstood the test of time and should be legalized because the medicinal, economic and environmental benefits out weigh the negative aspects. Marijuana is thought to have originated in central Asia and spread all over the world through trade. There is evidence that the Chinese had been growing the crop for over 5000 years; using it as a source of fiber, cloth, paper, oil, medicine and in some cases as an intoxicant (Abel 32). A Chinese ... ... middle of paper ... ... near future. With legalization, people will need to be aware of how marijuana affects them and what the physical limitations are while under the drug's influence. Bibliography: Works Cited "Marijuana Report: Let them smoke pot." New Scientist 30 December 1999. Abel, Ernest, L. Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: Plenum, 1980 Bellenir, Karen, ed. Drug Abuse Sourcebook, 2000. Boyce, Nell. "Bad Dope." New Scientist 25 July 1998. Marshall, Eliot. Legalization: A Debate. New York: Chelsea House, 1998 Ruzamenti, William. "Should Marijuana Be Legalized for Medical Uses?" Health November-December 1993. Schleichert, Elizabeth. The Drug Library Marijuana. Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1996

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