Marijuana Shouldn't Be Legalized Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Marijuana Should Not Be Legalized

Physical Health Concerns

According to a Harvard University Law School document, it would be "…fallacious to conclude that because the chemicals in marijuana have been found to present fewer dangers…" than cocaine, heroin, alcohol and tobacco, that the recreational use of marijuana "is safe" (Harvard). In fact, even though many states authorize the use of cannabis for medical purposes (for AIDS sufferers and for those experiencing harmful side effects from cancer chemotherapy and glaucoma), marijuana has "potentially dangerous side effects" (Harvard).

Those "dangerous [physical] side effects" include: a) damage to cells in the bronchial passages that could cause chronic bronchitis; b) a decrease in the ability of the body's immune cells to "fight off fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells"; c) the possibility of getting "pulmonary infections and respiratory cancer"; and d) since one joint of powerful cannabis has "four times more tar than a cigarette," lungs are exposed to the same dangers that cigarettes create (Harvard).

Mental Health Concerns

The Harvard paper asserts that use of marijuana "is at the root of many mental disorders," and those include: a) "acute toxic psychosis"; b) "panic attacks," which is one of the "very conditions it is being used experimentally to treat"; c) "flashbacks"; d) "delusions"; e) "depersonalization"; f) "hallucinations"; g) "paranoia"; h) "depression"; and i) "incontrollable aggressiveness" (Harvard).

The authors of this research assert that marijuana has "long been known to trigger attacks of mental illness" -- and those triggered responses include bipolar (manic-depressive) psychosis and schizophrenia (Harvard). The American Psychiatric Association explains that heavy use of marijuana can cause memory lapses along with "impaired motor coordination, anxiety, impaired judgment, sensation of slowed time, [and] social withdrawal" (Harvard).

Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) Report on Marijuana

The CNBC reports in a 2010 research paper that currently marijuana is the "…leading cause of substance dependence other than alcohol in the U.S.; that is, of the 7 million Americans said to be dependent on "an illicit drug" some 4.2 million (aged 12 or over) are suffering from dependence on marijuana. Hence, the numbers show that roughly two-thirds of Americans "suffering from any substance use disorder" are dependent on marijuana (CNBC, 2010).

This report claims that there are about 15.2 million regular marijuana users -- and there are an estimated 129 million users of alcohol and 70.9 million tobacco smokers. And if marijuana was to be legalized, the number of marijuana users would "increase" and that would result in "…subsequent increases in addition" (CNBC, p. 2). Echoing the Harvard report, the CNBC paper asserts that "Rapidly accumulating new research shows that marijuana use is associated with increases in a range of serious mental and physical problems."

Another problem may result from the legalization of marijuana, the CNBC paper explains -- and that is an increase of "drug-impaired driving." Reportedly marijuana is already a "significant causal factor in highway crashes, injuries and deaths," and a recent roadside survey reflects that "8.6%" of "weekend nighttime drivers" tested positive for either marijuana or "its metabolites" (CNBC, p. 3). And more than 25% of injured drivers that have been admitted to a Level-1 shock trauma center tested positive for marijuana, CNBC continues.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Position on Marijuana

The DEA flatly states that "The clear weight of the currently available evidence" supports the statement that "…smoked marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medicinal value in treatment in the U.S.…" and there is a lack of safety involving its use under medical supervision (DEA, 2011). The DEA statement that there is no "accepted medicinal value" to marijuana is contrary to the policies of the 18 states that now make marijuana legal (with a doctor's prescription) for medicinal purposes, and yet the DEA sticks to its position that "marijuana is not medicine,…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Bernstein, Douglas A. (2007). Psychology. Independence, KY: Cengage Learning.

CNBC. (2010). Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.cnbc.com.

Drug Enforcement Agency. (2011). The DEA Position on Marijuana. Retrieved December 12,

2012, from http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/marijuana_position_2011.pdf.

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