The Marijuana Debate
Cannabis sativa, more commonly known as marijuana, is a highly controversial substance in regards to its’ use for medicinal or recreational purposes. The term marijuana refers to the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant which are most commonly smoked for their psychoactive properties. The current research on marijuana as a medicine and recreational drug is inconclusive, but as research continues and legislation is relaxed marijuana can be utilized to its full potential and may be a good replacement for tobacco, alcohol, and some prescription drugs.
One of the arguments that is used by supporters and opponents of the legalization of marijuana are the health gains and losses cause by marijuana. Different studies about the its effects on the body have obtained polar opposite results and it is illustrated in finding from the NIDA and federal government:
The federal government’s position is that marijuana is a highly addictive drug and that the consequences of this addiction can be extremely damaging to society. But according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), while marijuana can be addictive, the risk of becoming addicted is relatively low. In fact, experts report the addiction potential for marijuana is far less than for caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, or heroin. (Netzley 7).
Many of these studies have flaws in their scientific research and are influenced by the researcher’s personal bias, making the information invalid.
Marijuana is often compared to legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco. When all of the evidence is examined it is unclear as to why marijuana is illegal while alcohol and tobacco are legal. It is “the clear consensus of science that marijuana is far less ha...
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...ecause opponents of legalization had predicted that crime rates would increase significantly, but violent crime decreased by 3% and property crimes by an astonishing 11% (Netzley 41). Because of the success that Colorado has had thus far other states may be following suit and passing legislation to allow the recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21.
Marijuana use is becoming more acceptable in American society, but it is still illegal in most areas. To change legislation, we must continue to research the effects that the drug has on healthy and society. Marijuana is an issue that people have strong opinions about and they must look past these opinions to see the scientific evidence and research that is being conducted to see that marijuana could be useful in treating many diseases and its potential use as a recreational drug similar to alcohol and tobacco.
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