Essay, Research Paper: Marijuana

Alcohol and Drugs

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is the plant called "cannabis sativa" which is more commonly called
marijuana. Marijuana has been illegal in the U.S.. ever since the Great
Depression. The question we must ask ourselves is "why?" Why is a drug
that has so many beneficial uses illegal? Is it because its poisoning the youth
of today? Is it because itleads to harder drugs, the health problems, the
addictiveness, the short-term memory impairment, the auto accidents,or is it
simply because politicians tell us it is for "our own good?" We have
grown up learning that marijuana is a terrible drug, and that using it gives us
brain damage, kill all of our brain cells, and makes us lose our memory. The
fact is though, that marijuana does not effect us in any of the ways listed
above. The idea that marijuana impairs short-term memory is true, but
misleading. Any signs of short-term memory impairment vanish once the user is no
longer intoxicated. Mainly the reason we think marijuana is bad is because that
is what the Partnership for a Drug-Free America wants us to believe. They tell
us that marijuana will cause brain damage and memory impairment, it will kill
brain cells, and lead to more crime. But what they forget to mention is all the
benefits we can receive from legalizing marijuana. For example, the medicinal
uses, and the textile and construction uses. It is very likely that legalizing
marijuana would decrease the crime rate, and by legalizing marijuana we will
save a lot of money because we won't have to spend it on fighting marijuana as
part of the War on Drugs. There are many habits much worse than marijuana, one
example being cigarette smoking. "Tobacco smoking kills more people each
year than AIDS, heroin, crack, cocaine, alcohol, car accidents, fire and murder
combined. Tobacco smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the
US. Tobacco smokers have 10 times the lung cancer of nonsmokers, twice the heart
disease, and are three times more likely to die of heart disease if they develop
it. Does it make sense that tobacco is legal and marijuana is not, when so many
people die from tobacco smoking each year and there is not one reported case of
anyone ever dying from marijuana use in its 10,000 years of consumption? You
have probably heard that "one joint is that same as 10 cigarettes,"
but this statement is misleading. ALthough marijuana contains the same amount of
carcinogens as an equal amount of tobacco and more tar, tobacco is still worse.
Every yr 350,000 Americans die from tobacco-related disease according to the
American Lung Association. A tobacco smoker consumes much more tobacco than a
marijuana smoker consumes marijuana. This is probably because tobacco has a 90%
addiction rate while marijuana is less addictive than caffeine. Also, tobacco
contains nicotine that may harden the arteries and may be responsible for much
of the heart diseases caused by cigarette smoking. Marijuana on the other hand
contains the chemical THC which opens up the lungs and aids in the clearance of
smoke and dirt. I think it is safe to say that tobacco smoking is much more
dangerous than marijuana smoking. Another bad habit is alcohol, which in my
opinion is the worst of all. 8,000 American teenagers are killed each year and
40,000 maimed from driving under the influence. The mortality figures for
alcohol use are 100,000 annually, compared to the zero marijuana deaths. The
amount of marijuana needed to kill someone is 1 to 40,000, while the ratio for
alcohol fluctuates between 1 to 4 and 1 to 10. Not only do many people die each
year from alcohol poisoning, but alcohol has caused thousands of fatal car
accidents. Although, marijuana, when used to the point of intoxication, impairs
judgement and reaction time, actual studies suggest that the effect alcohol has
on one's driving ability is much greater than that of marijuana. In fact, it is
found that 85% of marijuana related car accidents also involved alcohol. It is
sad to think that a legal drug like alcohol, the drug of choice for most teens,
causes so many fatalities on our highways each year, yet marijuana is the drug
that is illegal. I personally feel that marijuana is an amazing plant, and it
should be being utilized today. The problem is that most people don't know the
benefits that can come from marijuana. There are many different beneficial ways
for which marijuana can be used. Marijuana can be used for medical and textile
uses, for food, for fuels, and for the economy. First of all, marijuana could be
used for food. It is believed that enough food is grown worldwide to feed
everyone and that famine exists because there are not sufficient means of
distribution. So why not let people grow their own marijuana? Marijuana grows
like a weed and has few insect pests. It is usually grown without pesticides and
chemical fertilizers. Hemp improves the quality of the soil because it is grown
without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Hemp is not finicky and grows under
many different conditions and has one of the largest worldwide distributions of
any plant. It is very nutritious and it contains high amounts of protein and
essential fatty oils. The average adult can receive an adequate amount of
protein and oils from just one handful of hemp seed a day. If this is the case,
which it is, why are people starving around the world when the solution is
marijuana for food? Hemp could also be used for fuel. By using marijuana for
fuel we could reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the
atmosphere. Hemp can also be used for heating homes. Using marijuana for fuel
would not only help our environment save us a lot of money for fuel, but it
would also benefit our economy by allowing the country to make huge profits
because the cost of growing marijuana is virtually nothing. Another way
marijuana can be used is for clothes, fibers, and paper. Marijuana has been used
in the past for textile and construction and should be used today. For example,
the first pair of Levi's jeans were made from marijuana because it is extremely
durable. ALso, sailors used marijuana in canvas for their sails because it does
become corroded from the sea water. The pulp fibers of marijuana can be used for
making paper, which would reduce the amount of trees that are cut down. One acre
of hemp will make the same amount and quality of paper as 4 acres of 20 yr old
trees without the need for chlorine in the bleaching process and, creating no
toxic dioxin pollutants. What I'm wondering in why haven't we used marijuana for
paper all along? I think it is senseless that are constantly cutting down trees
and destroying rain forests when there is another alternative. There is only 4%
of America's old growth forest still remaining, and yet we are still cutting
them down like they will grow back instantly. The fact is that it may take a
lifetime for what has already been destroyed to grow back, so why keep ruining
America's old growth forests when growing marijuana grows much more quickly and
it is cheaper? Most importantly, marijuana should be legalized for medicinal
reasons. Hemp can be used to treat many diseases, some of which include:
multiple sclerosis, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, asthma, glaucoma,
cancer treatment, AIDS treatment, emphysema, and stress reduction. This list
does not even include the many medicines that can be made from marijuana, it
only includes the illnesses for which marijuana is used today. Marijuana is
commonly used for controlling nausea and vomiting in cancer and AIDS patients
that are being treated with chemotherapy or AZT. Because of nausea caused by
chemotherapy, these patients sometimes can't eat, which could kill them. One way
of controlling the nausea is to smoke marijuana, but the problem is that it is
illegal. So what are they supposed to do, starve? I don't think there is
anything wrong with smoking marijuana, especially if it means their happiness.
My neighbor, Jason, has an aunt who is dying of cancer. She has very little
chance of beating this disease, and wants to be comfortable for the time she has
left. She doesn't want to be on all the heavy drugs. She tells Jason that she
would rather be in pain than be all drugged up. She hates feeling dizzy,
lightheaded, and sedated. When she smokes marijuana she feels much better. The
pain doesn't go away completely, but at least she can function. I think the fact
that she could be put in jail for smoking marijuana is terrible. It is okay for
a patient to be on serious narcotics to kill the pain, but smoking marijuana is
out of the question. Marijuana has no side effects, whereas drugs like Demerol
and morphine have both short-term and long-term effects on the patient. The
short-term effects are dizziness, sedation, itching and rash, respiratory
depression, delirium, decreased heartbeat, vomiting, disorientation,
hallucinations, decreased cough reflex, and problems with urination. The
long-term effects can actually be more serious than some of the illnesses, one
example is liver damage. Marijuana, however, has no side affects, except
sometimes euphoria, which is minor compared to the serious effects of narcotics.
Glaucoma and multiple sclerosis are also illnesses in which marijuana is
sometimes used. Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness, is caused by
uncontrollable eye pressure. Marijuana helps control the eye pressure and keeps
glaucoma from leading to blindness. Another illness that marijuana is used for
is multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is the disease in which the body's
immune system attacks the nerve cells. Marijuana can stop the spasms from
occurring and can prevent the disease from getting worse. Marijuana should be
legalized in th US because it has medicinal and textile purposes which can
benefit everyone. Marijuana can be used as a material for clothing and the
effects it has on both cancer and AIDS patients are positive. Marijuana is
inexpensive to grow, allowing us to obtain a huge profit on the medicinal and
textile industries, and it can be used as an alternative form of cigarettes. If
the US government were to take hold of this operation, new jobs would open and
money for the War on Drugs could be distributed to other programs. Marijuana
must not be ignored or destroyed. Marijuana's many uses are not and cannot
currently be used to its fullest potential because of the drug laws. Among the
most important uses of marijuana are for medical and health reasons, and textile
and construction materials. The undeniable truth is that the benefits that can
come from legalizing marijuana greatly outweigh the weak and unsupportive myths
that keep this great resource from being utilized. The solution to this problem
is to legalize marijuana and its many uses today. By legalizing marijuana, many
problems would be solved. The only way for marijuana to be legalized though, is
with the support and help of everyone. Now that you have a good understanding of
what some of the many uses marijuana has, you'll help to decide. The most
important step to making marijuana legal is educating the public. One of the
biggest problems is that the people who know about marijuana and agree that it
should be legalized are too busy and too paranoid to help. If you are interested
in helping, there are several organizations you could join. These organizations
need your help with getting the word about marijuana out, so join one of the
many committees in putting this issue onto the ballots and into legislatures of
this country, where everyone can state their opinions in a straight forward
manner set forth in our United States' and individual states constitutions. The
Florida Legalization Organization is looking for sponsors for the Hemp
Re-Legalization Act which will re-legalize hemp for food, fuel, fiber, medicine,
recreation, sacramental uses and almost all known purposes. One of the most
important things you can do to help is talk about marijuana today, talk to
friends, parents, co-workers, etc. Tell them you think marijuana should be
legalized, you may actually be surprised at how many people will agree. Talk
about the medicinal uses for marijuana , and the many other uses you know about.
You could photocopy fliers and literature and pass them around to friends or
anyone for that matter. Spread the word about marijuana and have your friends
pass the information along to others. Post fliers about meetings on campus or in
the library. This is an easy way to inform people about marijuana. Mostly what
these organizations need is volunteers, and funding for office supplies,
printing, postage, transportation, telephone, etc. You can also write letters to
elected officials such as the president, senator, or state or local officials.
Maybe even spend some time with a local group doing telephone outreach, folding
and mailing literature, etc. Finally, you can donate money and resources to
activist groups like NORML, BACH, HEMP, etc. I think that the best way in
spreading the word about marijuana is by talking about it. Go to the rallies
with some friends that are unsure about the idea, and they can find out for
themselves what it is all about. Also, go to Hempfest, they are a lot of fun
from what I hear. They usually are much more fun than rallies and they are very
educational. So, if there is any question in your mind about legalizing
marijuana you should definitely attend. Every year the number of people that go
to Hempfest gets bigger and bigger, but it is still not big enough. They need
your support. Whatever you do, do it right away, This is an important issue that
needs to be resolved soon and chances are that if you don't get started right
away, you never will.

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