MYTHS OF MARIJUANA 1
According tothe Office of National Drug Control Policy (2010), marijuana tops thelist of the most widely used illegal drugs in America. The major myth about marijuana is that it is harmless. However,according tothe Office of National Drug Control Policy (2010), thedrug has health, social, and economic consequences. The healthconsequences of marijuana include the heightened risk of developingcancer that targets the respiratory tract, lung infection, and thedisruption of the immune system. Other health conditions caused bythis drug include chronic coughing, emphysema, bronchitis, and thecancer of the neck and the head(Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2010).Accordingto Hedges and Burchfield (2006), the use of marijuana impairs cardiacfunctions which increase the heart rate and alters the bloodpressure. On the other hand, the National Institute on Drug Abuse(2016) reports that some of the short term effects of marijuana useon the brain include an altered sense of time, difficulties whensolving problems, impaired memory, and changes in mood. The use ofmarijuana is also one of the leading causes of road accidents becauseit affects coordination, reaction time, alertness, perception, andconcentration among drivers. According to Hedges and Burchfield(2006), some of the marijuana-induced psychosis may manifest itselfin the form of hallucinations, depersonalization, and paranoia. Theuse of marijuana, particularly among the adolescent may result in thedevelopment of chronic schizophrenia even if the person ceases fromusing the drug. The social consequences of marijuana includeimpairing learning, particularly among young people. As such,marijuana is closely related to poor performance in school. It alsoaffects the way the brain functions which reduces a person’seffectiveness in undertaking certain tasks. Besides, the drugincreases the chances of teens engaging in delinquent acts. Some ofthe economic consequences of marijuana include the loss of employeeproductivity. TheOffice of National Drug Control Policy (2010) reports that in1999, Americans spent $ 10.6 billion to purchase marijuana.
The other myth about marijuana is that it is not addictive. On thecontrary, laboratory results show that the drug is highly addictive.According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016), 30% ofmarijuana users may develop some degree of severe addiction. According toOffice of National Drug Control Policy (2010), nowadaysmarijuana is stronger that it was 30 years ago and as such, the drughas more mind altering effects. Within the last 30 years, the levelsof THC in marijuana have increased from 1% to 6%(Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2010). Some ofthe withdrawal symptoms that affect persons who abruptly stop usingthe drug include loss of appetite, shaky hands, restlessness,problems finding sleep, and weight loss. According to Hedges andBurchfield (2006), the withdrawal symptoms occur after one to threedays and last for about 14 days.
The third myth about marijuana is that it does not cause violence.However, the drug is closely related to increased violent behavior.Besides, among young people the risk of engaging in violent actsincreases four times when one uses marijuana (Officeof National Drug Control Policy, 2010). Also, researchshows that more than 41% of all male arrested in the sampled citiesin the United States tested positive for the drug(Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2010).
In conclusion, some of the myths about marijuana are that the drug isnot addictive, has no negative consequences, and does not causeviolence. On the contrary, research shows that the drug has health,economic, and social consequences. Particularly, marijuana has severeeffects on the brain. Besides, the drug is also highly addictive andhas severe withdrawal symptoms which include headaches, nausea,restlessness, loss of appetite, and shaky hands. Additionally,marijuana is closely related to violence as demonstrated by the highprevalence of the drug among people arrested for various offenses.
Hedges, D.. & Burchfield, C. (2006). Mind, Brain, and Drug:Introduction to Psychopharmacology. Pearson.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). “Drugfacts-Marijuana.”Accessed on October 30, 2016.https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana
Office ofNational Drug Control Policy. (2010). What Americans Need to KnowAbout Marijuana: Important Facts About Our Nation’s MostMisunderstood Illegal Drug. Accessed on October 30,2016. https://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/pdf/mj_rev.pdf