Would you want the government limiting the amount of caffeine or alcohol you drink or the number of desserts you eat? So why should the government limit the use of marijuana among citizens when caffeine or alcohol and other desserts are proven to be more addictive than marijuana.
Marijuana has been proven to be very useful since at the beginning of history. A study by Grinspoon (2018) found that products containing cannabinoids are proven effective at relieving chronic pain. Part of its attraction is that it is evidently safer than opiates (it is difficult to overdose on and far less addictive). The English Oxford Dictionary describes marijuana as Cannabis, especially smoked or consumed as a psychoactive (mind-altering) drug. In Trinidad and Tobago, marijuana should be legalized, alcohol should be criminalized because marijuana has medical use, is not as addictive, can help economic stability, has positive effects on learning and memory and no one has ever died of an overdose of marijuana.
Firstly, marijuana has medical use; medical marijuana according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (2018) refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. As a matter of fact, studies have proven that medical marijuana can be used to help cancer, HIV/ AIDS, pains, and other chronic diseases, for instance, researchers have found that cannabinoids may either slow down the growth of or kill some types of cancer. (Dr. Sircus, 2014).
Protecting the brain from concussion, trauma, and strokes is also a benefit of medical marijuana, the University of Nottingham (n. d.) “Cannabis may help shelter the brain from injury caused by a stroke by plummeting the size of the area affected by the stroke.” Also according to Harvard University (2010) marijuana can, in fact, be reduced anxiety, which would change the smoker’s mood and act as a sedative in low doses.
This shows that even though some may argue that marijuana is bad for one’s health marijuana can in reality decrease the damage being done to one’s body. Furthermore, marijuana can help a person cut back on the amount of alcohol he/ she consumes; alcoholism involves disruptions in the endocannabinoid system so when a person tries to “cut off” drinking he/ she experiences withdrawal symptoms, marijuana can help with that psychological attachment since there are fewer side effects of using marijuana. (Loria, 2017).
Medical marijuana has even proven to help kids with medical illnesses and diseases, in September 2017, a young boy named Landon Riddle was diagnosed with leukemia. After all the medicines and chemotherapy the doctors tried and none of it worked, his mother tried a few drops of cannabis oil every day after the removal of chemo. The results were amazing, no more blood transfusion; Landon is now healthy and happy and off drugs. (Retrieved from a Facebook post). So tell me why it is marijuana is illegal? It is important to realize that medical marijuana is an efficient, safer, and effective drug to use in comparison to alcohol.
Secondly, marijuana is not as addictive when equated to alcohol. According to the English Oxford Dictionary addictive means something that is so enjoyable you want to do it or have it as often as possible. It has been proven that marijuana is less addictive than alcohol through a number of researches; for instance “Close to half of all adults have tried marijuana at least once, making it one of the most widely used illegal drugs — yet research suggests that a relatively small percentage of people become addicted.” (NIDA, November 15, 2017).
Only 9% of marijuana users have been known to become addicts, meaning 91% of the population that uses cannabis has not become devotees. Whereas, “Alcohol poisoning kills six people every day. Of those, 76 percent are adults ages 35-64, and three of every four people killed by alcohol poisoning are men.” (Fox, 2103).
There has not been a single report of marijuana poisoning or overdose from the millions of persons that consume this drug every day. According to American Addiction Centers, from a clinical point of view, a person can become physically dependent on a drug as such marijuana but not psychologically addicted.
Physically dependent means the body adapts the presence of the drug and the effects are diminished (tolerance) but psychologically addicted involves the emotional or motivational withdrawal symptoms when the use of a drug is discontinued. While alcoholism is said to lead to psychological addiction, the behavioral changes (aggression, sadness) and change in the thought process. Marijuana is clearly less addictive and less harmful than alcohol but alcohol is legal and marijuana illegal.
Thirdly, if marijuana is to be legalized it would enhance the economic stability of a country. Legalization of marijuana can encourage worldwide economic benefits, by reducing the unemployment rate; millions of jobs across the globe will be opened with the development of marijuana farms and industries. Persons will be needed to plant and harvest marijuana for production, then industrial persons to package the product for sale. Thus, this will then lead to an increase in tax revenue for each operating or manufacturing country of marijuana. For example, in Colorado, the USA in 2015 alone the tax revenue and fees collected were US $135 billion. (Mohammad, 2016).
According to the government of Canada, “the legalization of marijuana could create a $10 billion a year industry and the Canadian government can collect 50% or more of the potential $10 billion if there is a high “sin tax”(i.e., taxes levied on goods such as alcohol and tobacco products that regarded harmful to society) set on marijuana products.” This is to prove that with the legalization of marijuana every manufacturing country or state can enjoy extra monetary revenue earned through the sale of marijuana. According to Mohammad, “alcohol sales in Colorado have decreased by 15% since the legalization of alcohol.” Hence, it can be argued that marijuana is the better option of a legitimate substance than alcohol.
Fourthly, marijuana has positive effects on one’s learning and memory. Unlike alcohol, that disrupts a person’s short – term memory or recollection of events that happened while the person was drunk marijuana has the opposite effect on a person’s memory. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information:
Smoking weed can impair memory, attention, and concentration. “For example, impairment in memory occurs because cannabis alters information processing in the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain responsible for memory formation,” says Dr. Mooney. Marijuana’s impact on the brain is cumulative, and THC has been found to influence structures associated with concentration, memory, response time, and thought. (pr. 3).
Alzheimer’s is a good example of how marijuana helps reconstruct one’s memory or thought process. Alzheimer’s according to NCBI (2018), is a form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease wreaks havoc with a person’s memory, as well as thoughts and behavior. It has been scientifically proven that a few drops of cannabis oil can help a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, as it reconnects a person’s neuro – system.
Marijuana can also help a person become more creative in learning and drawing, that’s why most artists/ painters, writers, and musicians smoke marijuana to help them become more inspired. A study done by Dr. Flaherty (2017) stated that people who are highly creatively are marijuana users, as marijuana stimulate that area of the brain. She said “Marijuana is a stimulant. And most stimulants, in the short term anyway, boost output of all kinds.” Alcohol does not improve learning or impaired memory but is legal while the drug that stimulates both is illegal, therefore it can be in everyone’s best interest to legalize marijuana.
Last but not least, while the use and consumption of alcohol are legal it is one of the leading factors of health-related problems and fatal accidents in today’s society, no one has ever died of a marijuana overdose. According to the oxford dictionary “alcohol is a colorless volatile flammable liquid which is produced by natural fermentation of sugar and is the intoxicating constituent of wine, beer, spirits, and other drinks and is also used as an industrial solvent and as fuel,” the use of alcoholic beverages leads to complication such as psychiatric disorders- studies have shown that alcohol abuse can lead to depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, and antisocial personalities.
One of the most notable effects of alcohol to the health is fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS this occurs when an expecting mother consumes alcohol which passes through the placenta via the umbilical cord which is the body natural way of passing food from the mother to the unborn child this innocent child is exposed to alcohol consumed by the mother and is put at a disadvantage without having a choice, some of the more unfortunate effects to the fetus include low birth weight, premature birth, miscarriage and birth defects such as hearing issues or heart defects Small head, being shorter than peers, low weight, the smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip.
Alcohol use and abuse also lead to a wide range of cancers such as breast cancer, head, and neck cancer, and colorectal cancer which occurs in the colon and rectum. Apart from these health risk mentioned the consumption of alcohol is one of the leading of loss of life and road fatalities, excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (CDC, 2018) each year and responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years according to the center for disease control and prevention.
With so many disadvantages associated with the use of alcohol, it is safe to say that persons who use this alcoholic beverage are clearly putting their health and life at risk. While the use of marijuana is illegal and has many benefits to health and has never had a reported case of death caused by the use of marijuana or its extracts. There has never been any recorded death of marijuana overdose but there have been fatalities caused by excessive alcohol consumption according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. There are a number of people who died due to excessive alcohol consumption yet alcohol is legal and marijuana is illegal; when there has never been a single record of a marijuana overdose.
On the contrary, marijuana has been proven to have a negative impact on one’s school performance and lifetime achievement. Based on research done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, students who induce marijuana daily experience side effects: “Since marijuana use impairs critical cognitive functions, both during acute intoxication and for days after use, many students could be functioning at a cognitive level that is below their natural capability for considerable periods of time.”
Apart from the performance of students in school, marijuana can lead to a detrimental effect on one’s life achievement since marijuana use also have long – term deficits. “Heavy marijuana use has been linked to lower-income, greater need for socio-economic assistance, unemployment, criminal behavior, and lower satisfaction with life.” (NCBI, 2016).
This is a result of low performance in school, dropping out because of marijuana use. In essence, though marijuana may have a lot of benefits there are also consequences; especially on younger users, using marijuana at an early age in life can be fatal to one’s wellbeing as well as academically, socially, and financially. However, it has never really been heard that someone dropped out of school from drinking alcohol or has a low achievement unless that person is really badly off. So in some aspects both alcohol and marijuana have negative and positive sides, whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, or even socially, there are pros and cons of each.
In conclusion, marijuana is safer than alcohol, so why marijuana illegal and alcohol is legal? Though they both may be helpful in some areas marijuana has more benefits than negative effects compared to alcohol. Marijuana can help persons with medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/ AIDS, pains, and other chronic diseases such as trauma and strokes, only 9% of marijuana users have been known to become addicts, it helps create job opportunities and generate revenue for a country, marijuana can be used to help with a person with memory loss and there has never been any recorded death of an overdose in marijuana.
In Trinidad and Tobago, cannabis should be legitimate, spirits should be banned as marijuana is less addictive, has health usage, can help economic stability, has positive effects on learning and memory and no one has ever died of an overdose of marijuana. “Cannabis is the most single versatile herbal remedy, and the most powerful plant on Earth. No other single plant contains as wide a range of medically active herbal constituents.” (Dr. Ethan Russo, n.d.).
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