Is Marijuana Dangerous To Your Physical Health

? Essay, Research Paper

Is Marijuana Dangerous to your Physical Health?

Recreational use of marijuana has been going on for many years, and like

cigarettes many people refuse to listen to health reports. More and more

reports are coming out on the effects of marijuana on the body. Just how

harmful marijuana can be is questionable. Some health reports state that it is

very detrimental to the body while others are explaining how chemicals extracted

from the marijuana plant are being used as medication. The problem is, just what

are the effects, and how bad is it for someone who uses this drug?

I have picked this topic because I am very interested in the effects of

marijuana on the body. It is commonly known that marijuana is a widely used

drug. Many movies depict people having a great time, smoking marijuana, and

laughing as hard as they can. But is this really what is behind the drug?

Without looking at health reports, one may think so. If so many people use it,

how can it be bad for you? After seeing so much positive feedback about

marijuana, it would really be nice to see just what is behind this mysterious


In this paper, the researcher will explore whether or not marijuana is

harmful to your physical health. It will be shown that marijuana is popular and

that many people may not know what they are taking into their bodies. It will

be shown just what parts of the body marijuana effects and how it effects them.

The main purpose of this collection of information is to see just what marijuana

does to the body and to determine whether the effects are good, bad, or a

combination of both. Many different areas of research will be used.

The report “Marijuana Retains Popularity Despite Anti-drug Attitudes” in

The Dallas Times Herald by the Associated Press shows just how popular marijuana

remains despite health warnings. A 40-something woman referred to as Ruth has a

little something to say. “It’s a very nice high,” she said. “Often in these

drug stories, people forget to mention that part” (The Associated Press, A-6).

Ruth is among the 17 million Americans who use marijuana regularly. Part of the

reason for marijuana’s popularity is its cheap price. John, a scientist who

uses the drug says an ounce can cost him from $40 to $100 (The Associated Press,

A-6). Another reason for its popularity that is that “the cops basically

ignored it” a few years ago, said Bill FitzGerald, of the County Attorney’s

Office (The Associated Press, A-6). Today, the county boasts a “Do Drugs, Do

Time” program targeting all drug users (The Associated Press, A-6).

“Marijuana: Is there a new reason to worry?”, an article in the March 88

issue of American Health by Winifred Gallagher had a lot to say about just what

parts of the body marijuana effects. The majority of the effects of marijuana

are caused by a chemical called THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Marijuana,

when smoked, enters the body though the lungs and is passed to the blood stream.

According to Doctor Billy martin, a professor of pharmacology at the Medical

College of Virginia, THC seems to turn on a number of biological systems

(Gallagher, 92). Harvard’s Dr. Norman Zinberg studied a group of marijuana

smoker and concluded that “essentially, marijuana doesn’t cause psychological

problems for the occasional user” (Gallagher, 92). Heavy use however, is thought

to create a lack of motivation, or commonly called “burn-out”. New York

Hospital’s Millman prefers the term “aberrant motivation” to describe the inert

attitude of some heavy smokers” (Gallagher, 92).

“The Health Hazards of Marijuana,” a report in the September 1990 issue of

World & I by Gabriel G. Nahas was very informative on the damage caused by

marijuana. Marijuana effects memory and behavior. “Marijuana really interferes

with short-term memory,” says Dr. Richard Schwartz or Georgetown University, and

memory loss is one of the main problems with kids who smoke pot” (Nahas, 287).

Marijuana also effects the immune system. Guy Cabral of the Medical College of

Virginia reported that THC impairs the competence of calls to destroy virus

infected cells and tumor cells (Nahas, 293). Marijuana also has devastating

effects on human mental development, and cause metal disorders.

An article in Science News on February 20, 1988 by Rick Weiss called “Take

Two Puffs and Call Me in the Morning” had something completely different to say.

In the U.S., scientists have discovered that marijuana can ease the nausea from

chemotherapy in cancer patients. “Marijuana’s use in reducing nausea appears to

be quite widespread…” (Weiss, 123). Marijuana is also in use by people who

suffer from glaucoma. “Marijuana lowers the pressure that build up behind the

eyes as a result of having glaucoma” (Weiss, 122). It was also discovered that

there are several receptor sites in the brain that control motor functions,

learning and memory. Hence, marijuana may be useful in treating a problem in

many of those areas.

Based on the information gathered, I have concluded that the effects of

marijuana on the body are very detrimental. Marijuana’s effects on memory and

the immune system can be very disastrous. For someone still in school, a good

memory is needed, along with much motivation. Marijuana attacks both of these

elements in the body and can really hurt a hard working student.

It seems however, most of the complications that were brought up occur

mostly in heavy, chronic users. I am sure that along with these complications,

the same complications as with cigarette smoking come up. Occasional use of

marijuana doesn’t seem to cause many problems. However, as with any drug, the

user can become accustomed to its use and not be able to function properly. So

even occasional use can lead to disaster.

Marijuana effects many different parts of the body in many ways. Being

that marijuana is fat-soluble, it can remain in the body for over 4-weeks after

use. Researchers are unable to determine what the chemicals are doing to the

body while they remain there over this period of time. This just proves that

there is much more research to be done, and that in the future it may be seen

that marijuana is much more dangerous than even shown in this paper.

As for using marijuana as medicine, I think the same goes as above. A lot

more research has to be done on the side effects of THC before any real use can

be done. There have been many drugs up to now that have seemed useful, but in

the end have caused more harm to the body than good.

Health Implications

I think that marijuana use effects myself and my peers very much. As I go

to parties and the such, it can be seen that drug use is around, no one can deny

it. Its scary to see just what some people are doing to themselves, and they

don’t even know it.

I think that if some of the marijuana users took some time to read this,

and many of the other reports on the effects of marijuana, they would think

twice before lighting up next time. Maybe they will wonder just what harm they

have done to their body already.

Many people that smoke marijuana have the effects that are discussed in

this paper. Its can plainly be seen, their lack of motivation and kind of

“spaceyness” that is commonly associated with marijuana smoking. I often wonder

what these people would be like if they stopped their use and allowed themselves

to rid their body of the THC and its by-products.

Marijuana use is still very popular throughout the United States, and the

fact that people are not educated enough about its effects is very detrimental.

These people are hurting themselves, and they don’t know (and many just don’t

care) what they are doing to their bodies. If marijuana use was to grow too

much, we may have a country of unmotivated people, with many more health

problems due to their immune deficiencies. Where will we be then?

Works Cited

The Associated Press, “Marijuana retains popularity despite

anti-drug attitudes”, Dallas Times Herald, p.A-6, November

18, 1990.

Gallagher, Winifred, “Marijuana: Is there a new reason to

worry?”, American Health, p.92-104, March 1988.

Nahas, Gabriel G., “The Health Hazards of Marijuana”, World & I,

p.286-293, September, 1990.

Weiss, Rick, “Take Two Puffs and Call Me in the Morning”, Science

News, p.122-123. February 20, 1988, Vol 133. No. 8.



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