The Harmful Effects Of Marijuana Have Been Exaggerated

1173 words - 5 pages

Thousands of people die every year from tobacco and smoking related illnesses, and hundreds of innocent people die every year in auto accidents caused by drunk drivers. It's even possible to die from alcohol poisoning, but marijuana has never been directly attributed to any deaths. Despite all this, public opinion on marijuana is still based on myth and prejudice even though it remains relatively harmless. The harmful effects of marijuana have been exaggerated.In the 1930's the United States was flooded with reports that described marijuana as an extremely dangerous drug that enabled people to accomplish "great feats of strength and endurance, during which no fatigue is felt", and proclaimed that "[Use of marijuana] ends in the destruction of brain tissues and nerve centers" (qtd. In Stroup 57). Early myths such as these have been debunked over the past few decades, and one of the only true negative effects of marijuana is short-term laziness, comparable to the well-known side effect of consuming alcohol: a hangover.The argument most commonly brought into discussion on marijuana is the addictive properties (or lack thereof) which it possesses. Although marijuana may cause "mild psychological dependence", according to Richard Lowry in his essay, "Marijuana is Relatively Harmless", it offers no long lasting physical addiction like that of nicotine (16). As long as one does not self-medicate their anxieties and depression with it the way so many people do with alcohol no dependence will be encountered. Most often if someone becomes psychologically dependent on marijuana they're most likely to experience only a few years, at most, of moderate to heavy use before somewhat growing out of the drug and discontinuing use altogether.There is scientific evidence to support the addiction theory of marijuana when speculation and opinion aren't enough. In 1991 a study found that marijuana exhibited addictive properties less than or equal to caffeine in lab rats when compared with nicotine, alcohol, heroin, and cocaine (Lowry 19). Lots of people could say they're addicted to caffeine, but it doesn't involve a physical dependence on the drug. One could stop drinking caffeinated drinks if they wanted to, but many don't, because drinking a Coke doesn't damage your body like a cigarette does.While marijuana is classified alongside hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, and LSD, it's virtually impossible to overdose on it. Cocaine and heroin can kill in a few doses and it's estimated that hundreds of thousands of people die from alcohol and tobacco related diseases. How harmful is marijuana when compared to these drugs? Of course inhaling smoke of any kind can lead to cancer if it's done enough, but other than the carcinogens inhaled through smoking there is no other chemical found in marijuana that causes any other health problems.The claim that marijuana use results in brain damage among other outrageous health risks, is false and such exaggerations have only been...

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