Marijuana Research Essay, Research Paper
There is a large drug problem facing the United States today, and this problem extends to all citizens and cultures. Society tend to view that only the poor and the uneducated whom are effected by this problem. The most largely used illegal drug in the United States is Marijuana, and thus is targeted the most by law enforcement, costing the taxpayers lots of money. This paper will show you that Marijuana is not as large an evil as it may appear, and that if legalized the economy would be strengthened and the efforts of law enforcement could be focused on more serious drugs.
The information comes from a wide variety of sources: journals, magazines and the internet. This paper is to enlighten those who want to learn about marijuana.
The uniqueness of this paper is that the author has chosen a topic which people tend not to think about. Firstly, the author elaborates the method on the definition of marijuana. Secondly, the author explains the health effects. Thirdly, the author explains the benefits on medical, economics and environmental upon view. Finally, the author summarizes his research and his recommendation on the topic.
Definition of Marijuana
First off, to understand what we are dealing with I will give a brief explanation of what Marijuana is and it s uses. The plant has been used for many things such as hemp for clothing and paper, and the flowers for food, medicine, paper, tools, and for many other purposes. The hemp plant can be manufactured into a variety of construction materials. So many that it is possible to design a house which is almost completely made of hemp. Some common products which can be made from hemp include:
joists, columns, support beams, plywood, trusses, concrete, plaster, paints, sealants, wallpaper, fiber board, paneling, insulation and plastics. Marijuana is classified as a hallucinogen and is a psychoactive drug. Its medical name is Cannabis Sativa and it is found in the Indian hemp plant, of which there are three types; Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Rudderalis. Some of its nicknames and street names are pot, weed, green, herb, and grass. The drug was mentioned in historical manuscripts as early as 2700 B.C. in China (Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia). Marijuana is almost always smoked to experience the effects, but eating it and brewing it into tea are common practice also. It can be smoked by rolling it into a paper (joint) or by placing it into a pipe (often called a bowl). Often times there is a mixture of marijuana with tobacco to create a pleasurable taste. When someone smokes marijuana for the first time they do not get high, it is usually the second or third time a user feels the effects. These include chronic laughter and heightened senses. Afterwards a dry mouth and hunger, called the munchies, often follow. The ingredient in cannabis sativa that causes the mind altering effects is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
Now that you know a little about the drug I will discuss its health effects. I am not saying that Marijuana is good for you, but comparable negative effects are present in many legalized drugs.
Marijuana intoxicates a person very similar to alcohol. Reaction times are decreased and the person may appear to be very sluggish. While intoxicated a person may have a hard time concentrating on simple tasks. There have been many long term effects studies on marijuana causing memory loss, and many of the studies are either contradictory or inconclusive. The effects of marijuana to the lungs are very similar to the effects of cigarettes. The lungs will get coated in tar and respiration may become difficult as time passes. However, marijuana has not been linked as a cancer causing agent (Califano), making it much healthier than cigarettes in that aspect. There have been no tests to prove marijuana is addictive other than mentally (American Journal of Nursing), which is a problem that can arise from using many things such as caffeine. In fact marijuana, has proven to be least of a health risk compared to junk food, salt, tobacco, and alcohol.
Marijuana being legalized would also help people whom are sick. The drug THC whether being smoked or ingested in its pure form is an excellent pain killer and muscle relaxant, non hazardous of becoming an addiction like morphine or other pain killers. Marijuana also is a proven help to Glaucoma patients, as it slows the advance of the disease and brings ailment to its sufferers. Studies have also indicated that marijuana can slow the rate of HIV through the immune system as well as increase patient s appetite. Loss of appetite is a large problem with AIDS patients, and the lack of nourishment further depletes the immune system. Usage of Marijuana has indicated a decrease in intraocular eye pressure, keeping problems associated with the inner eye to a minimum (Nadelman). Another medical use of THC is with cancer patients. With many forms of cancer patients suffer from extreme cases of nausea, patients whom were given doses of THC suffered much less nausea symptoms.
This shows that if marijuana was legalized that it could be used as a medical treatment. Medical costs in the United States are expensive, and increases much higher than normal inflation. Using marijuana as treatment for many cases could result in fewer problems in the future and a cheaper form of medication. If marijuana was legalized the medical field would save lots of money.
If marijuana was legalized the government should regulate and sell the product to gain full economic potential. If the government were the only supplier of marijuana it would help in many ways. First, the product would be much cleaner, many forms of the drug on the street are laced with other substances and handled with very little care. The product would be pure and be kept free of all other toxins. Another way that it would help is in the price. The price of marijuana is very high because of the risks involved in distributing it. The simple fact is that marijuana is a weed, being very easy to grow. A small investment in greenhouses can produce hundreds of pounds of marijuana a year. If the price dropped four times its current street value ($20 for 5 grams to $5 for 5 grams) the government would make a gigantic profit off of its sales. The purchasers would be happy with the price causing a large increase in demand and the government could in turn create more supply, all causing a massive increase in the governments cash intake. This would cause taxes to go down and more programs to arise focusing in on the real problems the country has.
From marijuana legalization, the public would benefit in police costs. There are billions of dollars going into drug task forces that deal mainly with marijuana. If marijuana was legalized police would have more time and money to spend on serious drug offenders (heroin, cocaine, LSD) and violent criminals who pose a real threat to society. When police officers are taking valuable time to arrest and detain a marijuana user a more serious crime could be occurring. Protecting and serving the citizens of a community don t mean letting murderers and rapists prowl while a marijuana user is receiving large court sentences.
On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as 2 to 3 acres of cotton. Hemp fiber is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long, and will not mildew.
On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much paper as 2 to 4 acres of trees. From tissue paper to cardboard, all types of paper products can be produced from hemp. Global demand for paper will double within 25 years. Unless tree-free sources of paper are developed, there is no way to meet future demand without causing massive deforestation and environmental damage. Hemp is the most promising source of renewable, sustainable tree-free paper in the world.
The quality of hemp paper is superior to tree-based paper. Hemp paper will last hundreds of years without degrading, can be recycled many more times than tree-based paper, and requires less toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process than does paper made from trees.
Hemp can be used to produce fiberboard that is stronger than wood, lighter than wood, and fire retardant. Substituting hemp fiberboard for timber would further reduce the need to cut down our forests. Hemp can also be used to produce strong, durable and environmentally-friendly plastic substitutes. Thousands of products made from petroleum-based plastics can be produced from hemp-based composites. Mercedes Benz of Germany has recently begun manufacturing automobile bodies and dashboards made from hemp.
It takes years for trees to grow until they can be harvested for paper or wood, but hemp is ready for harvesting only 120 days after it is planted. Hemp can grow on most land suitable for farming, but forests and tree farms require large tracts of land available in few locations. Harvesting hemp rather than trees would also eliminate erosion due to logging, thereby reducing topsoil loss and water pollution caused by soil runoff.
Hemp seeds contain a protein that is more nutritious and more economical to produce than soybean protein. Hemp seeds are not intoxicating. Hemp seed protein can be used to produce virtually any product made from soybean: tofu, veggie burgers, butter, cheese, salad oils, ice cream, milk, etc. Hemp seed can also be ground into a nutritious flour that can be used to produce baked goods such as pasta, cookies, and breads.
Hemp seed oil can be used to produce non-toxic diesel fuel, paint, varnish, detergent, ink and lubricating oil. Because hemp seeds account for up to half the weight of a mature hemp plant, hemp seed is a viable source for these products.
Just as corn can be converted into clean-burning ethanol fuel, so can hemp. Because hemp produces more biomass than any plant species (including corn) that can be grown in a wide range of climates and locations, hemp has great potential to become a major source of ethanol fuel.
No other natural resource offers the potential of hemp. Cannabis Hemp is capable of producing significant quantities of paper, textiles, building materials, food, medicine, paint, detergent, varnish, oil, ink, and fuel. Unlike other crops, hemp can grow in most climates and on most farmland throughout the world with moderate water and fertilizer requirements, no pesticides, and no herbicides. Cannabis Hemp (also known as Indian Hemp) has enormous potential to become a major natural resource that can benefit both the economy and the environment.
“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”
–President George Washington, 1794
Using marijuana is not necessarily a positive thing; it is merely an option which an individual needs to decide for himself, much like alcohol or tobacco. There may be negatives to legalizing marijuana. The important thing is that it is kept recreational and medical, there should be laws against minors using marijuana and people at work being high. Also, there needs to be rules against driving while high, as applied to driving drunk. There are prototypes of marijuana breathalyzers that can indicate whether or not a person is experiencing the effects of the drug and is a risk on the road. Legalizing marijuana would be completely beneficial to society.
I do not believe that legalizing marijuana should be an action taken without carefully weighing the options, it just seems to me that there is enough evidence to warrant the serious consideration. Once lawmakers take off the blinders and actually see the issue as it is we will be in a much better situation. The best way to show them that is to show them how much more money they can get.
Many angles can be taken to justify the legalization of marijuana, I feel the most effective is that of the economic analysis. There will be jobs created and a new booming industry with it. People need to put aside preconceived notions and take a fresh perspective, they will see what a great effect that the legalization of marijuana would have on the economy as well as other areas.
Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia, Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1995
Ethan A. Nadelmann, American Heritage Magazine, Feb-Mar, 1993.
Tom Bowmen, Schmoke says debate on decriminalization of drugs is gaining momentum. , The Sun Newspaper, 7-13, 1989.
Joseph A. Califano, USA Today, version 125, Mar. 1997.
American Journal of Nursing, Annual Report 1992.