To the environmentalist, Marijuana is the plant that could extraordinarily slow deforestation, reestablish robbed nutrients by other crops, and help prevent erosion. To the cloth or paper manufacturer, Marijuana produces four times more fiber per acre than trees and has provided much of our paper and clothing for hundreds of years.
To the nutritionist, its seed is second only to the soybean in nutritional value and is a source of cooking oil and vitamins. To the patient that has cancer or AIDS, it is the plant that helps fight nausea and appetite loss.
Preliminary findings show the drug may prove effective against glaucoma and asthma, and control such side nausea in cancer treatment. There are lots of superstitions surrounding marijuana, but I concretely believe that marijuana should be legalized in the United States, primarily for the use of medicinal purposes. In technical or for the average American, marijuana, it is used only for recreational purposes. Marijuana is a plant that could save many lives if it was made legal, therefore it is important to reverse prejudices, relieve ignorance, and inform people of the known and potential therapeutic uses of this remarkable plant.
As of today the nation stands behind three basic ideas of what to do with marijuana; legalize marijuana, make it legal only as a prescription drug, or keep it as it is, illegal. People, who are pro-marijuana like me, argue that marijuana is considerably less harmful than tobacco and alcohol, the most frequently used legal drugs.
Furthermore marijuana has never directly caused anyone’s death. People who side with the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes believe that the ends justify the means. But the people who want to keep it illegal think that the medical uses do not outweigh the harmful side effects.
Before deciding whether marijuana should be legal or illegal, one needs to know some basic facts. Lester Grinspoon, M.D. and James B. Bakalar note “most botanists agree that there are three species of marijuana; Cannabis sativa, the most widespread of the three, is tall, gangly, and loosely branched, growing as high as twenty feet; Cannabis indica is shorter, about three or four feet in height, pyramidal in shape and densely branched; Cannabis ruderalis is about two feet high with few or no branches”.
They also say “Cannabis has become one of the most widespread and diversified of plants. It grows as weed and cultivated plant all over the world in a variety of climates and soils”. Marijuana was first cultivated in China around 4000 B.C. It was mainly used as a sedative and analgesic, but today it is commonly used for the “high” or the euphoric feeling it causes.
The most active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol commonly referred to as THC, which wasn’t discovered until the 1960s. Marijuana is illegal in most states today because of the Marijuana Stamp Tax Act passed in 1937. This act prohibited the use, sale, and growing of marijuana. It was made illegal because no one understood why smoking marijuana made people feel the way they did, and because it was associated with Indians and other so called “immoral people.”
Today marijuana is illegal because research has shown some intoxicating effects. Some of the deleterious effects of Marijuana are hallucination, anxiety, depression, extreme variability of mood, paranoia and schizophrenia lasting up to six hours.
Although cannabis causes initial restlessness, excitement, and sometimes boisterous, impulsive behavior, the main picture is of reduced physical activity apart from speech. Physical effects include reddening of the eyes, dryness of the mouth and throat, a moderate increase in heart rate, tightness in the chest, drowsiness, unsteadiness, and uncoordinated muscular contractions.