Marijuana is currently the most commonly used illegal substance in the United States.  According to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 21.4% of high school seniors have used marijuana in the past month.  In comparison, only 19.2% of those surveyed have smoked tobacco in the same time frame.  The survey also determined that in 2009 28.5 million Americans above the age of 12 smoked marijuana.  These percentages for marijuana use haven't been seen since the 80's.  Such widespread use by both teens and adults begs asking, Should the Federal Government legalize marijuana on a national scale?  I, along with many Americans, believe that it should be decriminalized because it is essentially harmless and there are serious medical uses of the drug.
The Food and Drug Administration has labeled marijuana as one of the most dangerous and addicting drugs on the streets today.  This classification has placed cannabis along side drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, all of which have no medical use and can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the user.  The label assigned to these drugs just does not hold true in the case of marijuana.  The FDA's views are respected highly, no pun intended, by the Federal Government and are influential in their decision making on the legality of consumer products.  As long as the FDA is opposed to marijuana, it is unlikely that any bills will be passed into laws on a national scale.
Much research has been conducted, with the use of surveys, experimentation, and historical evidence, on the side effects of marijuana use.
In fact, a 35-year study, which was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this past August, concluded that people who began using cannabis after the age of 18 showed no signs of mental or physical impairment. The aforementioned article also explained that the results of their findings showed that persistent users of marijuana under the age of 18 exhibited lasting harm to intelligence, memory, and attention.  These findings are most likely due to the fact that cognitive development occurs as a minor, and the use of any mind-altering drug, such as the legal substances alcohol and tobacco, would result in similar deficiencies.
This being said, the Federal Government should legalize the recreational use of marijuana by non-minors in the United States.  This could be accomplished by enforcing a minimum age for the purchase and sale of marijuana, much like the age restrictions on tobacco and alcohol already being enforced.
Now that the long-term effects of marijuana have a solution, the short-term effects must be accounted for to win over the FDA's approval.  The immediate side effects of marijuana include euphoria, distorted perceptions, memory impairment, increased appetite, and difficulty thinking and solving problems.  These side effects will only negatively affect the general public if a user decides to drive under the influence of the drug.  To avert the use of marijuana on the road, police could be equipped with testing devices like breathalyzers, which they currently have on patrol for alcohol, that test for marijuana. 
Aside from the recreational uses of Marijuana, there are practicalities of the drug in the medical field.  Marijuana is currently being used in 17 different US states and in Washington DC for medical benefits that diminish chronic and neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cancer, and other painful and even untreatable ailments.  Marijuana also prevents nausea and vomiting stimulated by chemotherapy.  Commonly patients are also prescribed marijuana to improve the appetites of AIDS and cancer victims.  Many other, less serious, illnesses are treated with marijuana as well.  These include trouble sleeping, anxiety, and depression.
Medical Uses


This blog post was really interesting especially since I came across an article relevant to this topic a week ago. The article talks about a study of 4000+ people, all of whom were regular marijuana smokers and found that the 'weed as a gateway drug theory' might, in fact, be wrong!

In actuality, they found that for the majority of the participants, their regular use of marijuana had actually led to a reduced in their intake of tobacco, alcohol and other things like hard drugs. In fact 10% said they no longer consume alcohol while the remaining claimed to have halved their drinking. Obviously alcohol consumption has dire consequences on the health of the liver and therefore this could be good for the nation.

On the other hand, the excessive amounts of dopamine that canabis forces your body to produce can lead to things like tics in the short term and in the long term can lead to desensitization of the dopamine receptors, which basically means your body wouldn't be able to produce enough to keep you happy or motivated.

Here are the articles:

I definitely agree with you that marijuana should be decriminalized. I think people are way too afraid of what could happen if the public has a more open access to it just out of lack of complete knowledge about marijuana. Marijuana does so much more good than bad. Like you said in your article its being used with AIDS and Cancer patients to help relieve side affects of their treatments. Going a step further from your article there are also the added benefits to our economy that come from the decriminalization of marijuana. In an article I found, I learned just how our economy would be affected by the legalization of marijuana. If it were decriminalized, you would be able to grow hemp legally and by growing hemp so many new industries are created. For example, there would be a new way to create paper/cardboard products, clothing and fabrics, plastics and building materials, and fuel. In addition to these industries hemp seeds could also be sold which are actually very nutritious. They are high in protein and many vitamins that are essential for a healthy diet!

You can check out the article I found here ->

You raised some good points on a controversial topic. When speaking about topics like this, it is VERY important to remain neutral and present the facts in the most fair way possible. I feel like this is a legitimate issue, but when the wrong people advocate it for the wrong reasons, the whole idea of drug culture arises and people refuse to have an intelligent conversation on the matter. What's interesting is that I believe marijuana is classified as a type one narcotic (no medical use recognized by the government) and cocaine is classified as a type 2 narcotic (some apparently recognized medical use). Even Dr. Sanjay Gupta has retracted his original statements about marijuana, and now supports it for it's legitimate medical uses.

Agree 100% with your post. I have said it several times before on other people's blogs, marijuana slows down Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's disease has no known cure and patients suffer for a long time once diagnosed with the disease. Slow deterioration of the brain causes victims to slowly loose control over certain body functions. For a disease as horrible as this one, I say let the poor patient have whatever works the best. In this case, the best is marijuana, which works better than the top Alzheimer's drugs on the market today. Just another great reason to think about decriminalization.

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