No to the Legalization of Marijuana

Cheyanne Humphrey, College Page Editor

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When people think of getting high, they typically think of smoking marijuana. Recent surveys have found that more than fourteen million people smoke recreational marijuana on a regular basis. This has tochange.

Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in the United States, third only to alcohol and tobacco, despite it being illegal in most states. According to CBS News, one in every eight people currently smoke weed for recreational uses. Not only does getting high off of marijuana for no other reason than just for fun, causes temporary effects, it can also have permanent effects on both your physical and mental health. This is one of the many reasons why recreational marijuana should not be legalized.

Some of the temporary effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, include but are not limited to: altered senses (ex. seeing brighter colors), an altered sense of time, changes in mood and behavior, impaired body movement, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and impaired memory. These effects typically wear off after the drug wears off, but there have been cases where people become permanently impaired after using excessive amounts of marijuana recreationally. The long term effects are in a completely different ballpark. These include permanent reduction of thinking, memory, and learning functions, affecting how the brain builds connections, and in certain cases with people who abused the drug between ages thirteen and thirty-eight, they lost an average of eight IQ points.

There are many serious physical health effects that happen due to smoking recreational marijuana. Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can eventually have the same breathing problems as tobacco smokers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it causes an increased heart rate,, and raises the risk of having a heart attack. Smoking marijuana also causes problems with the reproductive system, that can lead to problems with child development, during and after pregnancy.

Smoking marijuana recreationally can also cause problems with your mental health. Also, according to the NIH, smoking the drug can cause temporary hallucinations, temporary paranoia, and severe worsening of symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. In recent studies, it has also come up that the mind altering chemical in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or as it’s better known as THC, can actually activate the schizophrenia genotype. In addition to the effects of marijuana, studies show that recreational marijuana smokers have lower life satisfaction, poorer mental health, poorer physical health, and that it causes more relationship problems. All of this is stacked upon the known fact that weed is an experimentally proven gateway drug to more extreme drugs such as cocaine or heroin, and these have dire consequences to be avoided.

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