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Legalizing Marijuana? The Debate Rages On.

Posted Jan 23 2013 10:40pm


The debate about whether or not to legalize marijuana has become such a hot topic, particularly now that Colorado and Washington have voted to decriminalize its recreational use. The electoral win in 2 American states indicates that both states actually agree that marijuana is largely not life-threatening and its non-legalization only serves to encourage criminal activities linked with it. Both states also believe that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana is a much awaited breakthrough in healthcare since it is also used to ease the extreme discomfort of people with cancer while undergoing chemotherapy.

But those who disagree argue that there’s a good reason why marijuana hasn’t been legalized. Those who voted for the legalization of marijuana may have their own arguments, but to many people, there are still more cons than pros. According to the University of Michigan News Service “Marijuana use among teens rose in 2011 for the fourth straight year—a sharp contrast to the considerable decline that had occurred in the preceding decade. Daily marijuana use is now at a 30-year peak level among high school seniors.” Plus, the number of teenagers who enter rehab and transition into a sober living home for marijuana use has risen by 20%.

Worldwide Illicit Drug Ban

The trade of illicit drugs is considered a global black market that competes with the legal drug trade. It’s described as the growing, manufacturing, distributing, and selling of illicit drugs prohibited by law. One of these illicit drugs is cannabis sativa a.k.a. marijuana. Most countries regulate the cultivation, possession, trade, transfer, and use of marijuana. Widespread prohibition of the drug began in the 1930s but since then, over 10 countries have already decriminalized its cultivation and allowed its use in limited quantities. It’s an illicit drug in the United States, but proponents of its legalization are now looking to overturn the policy, arguing that the drug isn’t actually dangerous to health… or is it?

Marijuana’s Effects on Health

© Mirko Ilic / NY Times

Marijuana or pot has been romanticized by writers, movie makers, and musicians like Bob Dylan. But the use or abuse of this drug can have detrimental effects on health which may lead to a hospital, rehab facility and ultimately a sober living los angeles.

Scientists have learned that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the major active chemical in pot that gives users that “high” experience, affects the lungs, bloodstream, and other body organs. But it’s the brain that THC damages the most as it targets specific brain areas called cannabinoid receptors. High levels of these receptors are located in the brain and if THC gets to these receptors, it can affect concentration, coordination, memory, pleasure, thought, and time and sensory perception. The problem is that marijuana is addictive. 9% of pot users develop addiction which in turn affects their physical, social, and mental well-being. Studies show that chronic marijuana use can cause mental issues like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. And when users start as teens, they can suffer from cognitive disabilities, decline in IQ, and even long-term brain damage later in life.

So with all these negative effects on health, one can’t help but question if the legalization of marijuana would be really worth it citing the healthcare side, or if it’s just going to do more harm than good given the increase in patient check-ins at rehab centers and sober living homes.

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