Medical marijuana debate rages between ardent critics and supporters

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Addiction

Marijuana critics

Marijuana is an addictive drug. In 1999, more than 200,000 Americans entered substance abuse treatment primarily for marijuana abuse and dependence. More teens are in treatment for marijuana use than for any other drug, including alcohol. Adolescent admissions to substance abuse facilities for marijuana grew from 43 percent of all adolescent admissions in 1994 to 60 percent in 1999.

Source: www.justice.gov/dea

Marijuana supporters

Data demonstrate that the reinforcing properties of marijuana are low in comparison to other drugs, including alcohol and nicotine. According to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, fewer than one in 10 marijuana smokers become regular users, and most voluntarily cease their use after age 34. By comparison, 15 percent of alcohol consumers and 32 percent of tobacco smokers exhibit symptoms of dependence.

Source: www.norml.org

Gateway drug

Marijuana critics

Long-term studies of students who use drugs show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. While not all people who use marijuana go on to use other drugs, using marijuana sometimes lowers inhibitions about drug use and exposes users to a culture that encourages use of other drugs. The risk of using cocaine has been estimated to be more than 104 times greater for those who have tried marijuana than for those who have never tried it.

Source: www.justice.gov/dea

Marijuana supporters

There is no conclusive evidence that the effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent use of other illicit drugs. For every 104 Americans who have tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine and less than one user of heroin. For marijuana smokers who do graduate to harder substances, it is marijuana prohibition — which forces users to associate with the drug black market — that often serves as a doorway to the world of hard drugs.

Source: www.norml.org

Driving under the influence of drugs

Marijuana critics

Marijuana affects many skills required for safe driving. In 1990, the National Transportation Safety Board found that just as many fatal accidents were caused by drivers using marijuana as were caused by alcohol.

Source: www.justice.gov/dea

Marijuana supporters

As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired by marijuana should be prohibited.

Source: www.norml.org

Crime

Marijuana critics

A large percentage of those arrested for crimes test positive for marijuana. Nationwide, 40 percent of adult males test positive for marijuana at the time of their arrests.

Source: www.justice.gov/dea

Marijuana supporters

Marijuana does not cause crime. The vast majority of marijuana users do not commit crimes other than possessing marijuana. Almost all studies show that marijuana decreases aggression.

Source: www.drugpolicy.org

Lung health

Marijuana critics

According to the National Institutes of Health, studies show that someone who smokes five joints a week may take in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including most of the substances found in tobacco. Smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times more tar into lungs than a filtered tobacco cigarette.

Source: www.justice.gov/dea

Marijuana supporters

Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains a number of irritants and carcinogens, but marijuana users typically smoke much less often than tobacco users. There have been no reports of lung cancer related solely to marijuana, and in a study presented to the American Thoracic Society in 2006, even heavy users of marijuana were found not to have any increased risk of lung cancer.

Source: www.drugpolicy.org

Immune system health

Marijuana critics

Smoking marijuana weakens the immune system and raises the risk of lung infections. A Columbia University study found that a control group smoking a single marijuana cigarette every other day for a year had a white-blood-cell count that was 39 percent lower than normal, thus damaging the immune system and making the user more susceptible to infection and sickness.

Source: www.justice.gov/dea

Marijuana supporters

There is no evidence that marijuana users are more susceptible to infections than nonusers. Even among people with existing immune disorders, marijuana use appears to be relatively safe. However, the recent finding of an association between tobacco smoking and lung infection in AIDS patients warrants further research into possible harm from marijuana smoking in immune-suppressed persons.

Source: www.drugpolicy.org

Heart health

Marijuana critics

Harvard University researchers report that the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than usual in the hour after smoking marijuana.

Source: www.justice.gov/dea

Marijuana supporters

There is no evidence that marijuana use causes persisting hypertension or heart disease. Some say it helps control hypertension by reducing stress.

www.lycaeum.org

Comments

TRIUMPH 4 years, 2 months ago

I don't think Pot is a gateway drug. If pot where available legally then why would anyone go to substituting other drugs. In my youth if the town where dry other drugs then where still available I argue not having pot available makes other drugs and substances the only alternative. While no drug use is good alternative we seldome see teens not at least expermenting with drinking.Experience the ill effects of hard drugs no thanks i'll stick to the natural medicines

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wellwell 4 years, 2 months ago

Triumph,

From what you wrote I understand that if pot is not available other drugs and subtances are the only alternative. You also infer that few teens have not experimented with alcohol. You do not do hard drugs due to the ill effects and therefore you use pot. Also you do not think pot is a gateway drug. Am I right on that? I'm trying to understand .

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