02 Apr 2015
Should marijuana be legalized for recreational use? This is a question on the minds of many people these days. Voters have gone to the polls and, in a few states, are telling their governments that they want legal pot. Attitudes toward this mind-altering substance are changing and many people don’t believe it is harmful enough to be illegal. This attitude is dangerous, though. Marijuana is a drug that changes brain chemistry, alters mood, causes side effects and leads to addiction in at least a tenth of users. There are too many reasons for keeping this drug illegal.
Main Reasons Why Recreational Marijuana Should Stay Illegal
Marijuana Is Bad For Health
There is a lot of evidence that some of the compounds in the cannabis plant, which is where marijuana comes from, can help people with certain illnesses. But for healthy people, using marijuana causes a number of bad side effects and negative health consequences.
Short term marijuana effects include:
Sleepiness and depression, an increased heart rate (which can cause a heart attack, anxiety and panic), and delayed reaction times.
Long term marijuana effects include:
Over the long-term the drug suppresses the immune system, causes growth disorders, lack of motivation and lung damage, changes mood and personality and lowers libido.
Marijuana Is Addictive
One of the greatest misconceptions about this drug, and an important argument against legalization of marijuana is addiction. While not nearly as addictive as drugs like heroin or crack, marijuana is habit-forming and causes addiction in one out of nine users. Many people seeking professional treatment for addiction are hooked on marijuana. The problem is particularly real for young people. Addiction to marijuana is most likely to develop in users who started smoking as teenagers.
Marijuana Causes Accidents
Most people who use marijuana like the relaxing sensation that it imparts. The drug makes you feel drowsy, happy, relaxed and comfortable. The downside to these effects is the risk of having accidents. Marijuana messes with your coordination, reaction times and inhibitions. While high on pot, people make bad choices and have accidents that could have been prevented. If marijuana is legal, innocent people will become the victims of these accidents. Drinking and driving accidents already kill many people every day. Driving while high on pot will only add to the problem.
Marijuana Harms Young People
Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of marijuana. They are more likely to become addicted to it. They are also at a greater risk of lasting mental damage from marijuana. Brains of teenagers are still developing, and using mind-altering substances can hamper that development. Teens using marijuana regularly experience lasting cognitive defects and memory deficits.
The pros and cons of recreational cannabis will continue to be debated in the public and voters will keep going to the polls to decide pot’s legal status. As the discussion carries on, we all need to remember the harm that marijuana causes and the lasting damage many users experience.