Thursday, April 2, 2009

Marijuana: The Gateway Drug

For years, the legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic amoung today's culture. Marijuana use has skyrocketed in the lives of teenagers. Up to one in every five high school seniors is a marijuana user (2). However, the effects of this drug are detrimental to the body. Despite those who say marijuana is a harmless drug and can be used for medicinal purposes, marijuana should never be legalized because it disables the brain, causes long-term addiction, and invites the formation of cancer in the body.
The effects marijuana has on the brain are apparent and destructive. The psychoactive drug called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the many chemicals found in marijuana. When inhaled, this chemical travels through the bloodstream and reaches the brain. Once in the brain, THC blocks the actions of neurotransmitters (1). Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow neurons (brain cells) to communicate with each other within the brain. When THC interferes with this "transmitting" process, the brain is unable to perform its regular duties, such as short-term memory, coordination, learning, and problem solving (1). Therefore, marijuana use is traced to short-term brain damage.
Not only does marijuana effect the brain, but it also creates addictive habits for the user. For some users, the high that marijuana creates provides a means to escape reality. Teens that have prior antisocial problems tend to follow the "escape route" of marijuana (2). However, some users grow tolerant to the effects of marijuana, craving more marijuana to produce its effects (2). Marijuana has also been called "The Gateway Drug" because it creates addiction to other drugs as well. Most drug users who are addicted to other illegal drugs, such as cocaine, have tried marijuana as their first drug (2). These addictive habits can only be stopped if marijuana stays an illegal drug.
Marijuana also paves way for cancer within the body. It has been proven that "marijuana smoke contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke." (2) These "cancer-causing chemicals" are also known to be called carcinogens. The harmful chemicals in marijuana will increase the chance of getting cancer.
As stated previously, marijuana damages the brain, leads to addictive drug habits, and increases the rate of cancer within one's body. Marijuana must stay a Schedule 1 controlled substance if the federal government continues to provide for the general welfare of the American people. It is dangerous and easily attainable. Government cannot stop its efforts to keep marijuana out of the hands of its users. Therefore, the legalization of marijuana is absurd and opposes the responsibility of government to protect the people of the United States.
Works Cited
Bonsor, Kevin.  "How Marijuana Works."  02 July 2001. <>  02 April 2009.
"Marijuana: Facts for Teens." Howstuffworks. Mar. 2008. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2 Apr. 2009 <>.




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Lance51 said...

Although it may be bad for you, people will still do it, regardless of what you or anyone else says. If people want to do it, they'll do it. Just legalize it, tax it, and make some moeny off of it. It would be much easier to regulate. You could make people get a license for selling it, and maybe a permit for buying to keep a registered database of pot users.

11235813213455 said...

The effects of marijuana may be detrimental, but can easily compared to those of other LEGAL drugs. The carcinogenic content of the substance is undeniable, but inhaling burning plant smoke of any type causes the same effect, ie cigarettes. The intoxicating effect is similar if not less dangerous than that of ethanol alcohol, the only difference being the inability to overdose. Intoxication poses a significant risk while operating machinery and vehicles, but, if legalized, will be as easy to control as establishing a drunk driving law. Legalization would lead to a decrease in usage, due to the psychological "forbidden fruit" theory. Another undeniable side effect would be the reduction of power in the drug cartels that plage all countries south of the border. It causes no direct deaths, and is relatively harmless compared to other everyday activites such as ingesting 30 grams of fat in your McDonalds hamburger. Legalization is by far the better decision, but with obvious regulations similar to those in place with alcohol and tobacco(age limit, driving under the influence, etc.).