Which Drug Has the Most Detrimental Effect?

In 2013, there was a study done with Americans, over the age of 12, that astonished many people when the results revealed that 9.4 percent (or 24.6 million people) had been an illegal drug user. The study supported suspicion that drug use was higher than prior years when it was compared to a similar study from 2002. Most of this growth is believed to be due to the popularity of marijuana having increased over the years. Since 2010, marijuana has become the greatest produced, as well as consumed drug. Many think that the increasing interest in marijuana will not end any time soon.

The use of marijuana can have both short and long term effects on the drug user. Short term effects can range from one feeling panicked to slow reactions to things happening in his or her surroundings. Long term effects can be anything such as a lowered immune system or change in one’s behavior. The effects of marijuana are not nearly as dangerous as the major health problems that can be caused to the user of a more heavy drug. Marijuana has been known as “the gateway drug” which can cause a marijuana user to experiment with heavier drugs after they have tried marijuana and not noticed any horrible side effects.

Drugs such as cocaine, steroids, and methamphetamine, have been known to cause abnormal breathing, chest pains, and frequent blackouts. Although, in my opinion, the most detrimental effect is the change in behavior caused by the negative psychological effects on one’s brain. One can suffer from effects that are less noticeable, yet get worse over time. These effects can be anything like memory loss, increased aggression, and depression. The more sudden risks are seizures and widespread brain damage that can take a toll on one’s day to day life. On top of all of that, a major loss in brain cells occurs. Losing brain cells is normal for every human, and thankfully, our brain has the amazing gift to repair the cells and grow new ones. This takes place during neurogenesis. Although, if one’s behavior, such as the excessive use of an illicit drug, is what is causing a major decrease in their brain cell count, it can be too late to fix the problem.  

After doing research on the topic, it seems that the drug that causes the most overall trauma to one’s body, as well as mental state, is methamphetamine. Meth has been known to literally fry one’s brain cells and can cause such severe damage to someone that their brains become similar to the brains of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or the brain of someone who has suffered from a stroke. In addition, once someone becomes hooked, it is one of the hardest drugs to quit. This may be due to the fact that meth is both a dopamine and stimulant. 




3 thoughts on “Which Drug Has the Most Detrimental Effect?

  1. Katherine Guerney

    Since you said that you think the most detrimental effect of hardcore drug use is the negative psychological effect on one’s brain I think that it would be beneficial to investigate the specific causes that each drug has on the brain in addition to the different physical changes that a certain drug can cause to the brain’s structure. Every hardcore drug can negatively affect people in different physical and psychological ways so I think that it’s important to outline the specific effects of each drug while also taking into consideration the degree of addiction and use of the drug. You mentioned how meth can destroy brain cells and cause severe damage so I found this article that shows the comparison of the brain of a meth user and non-user.

  2. Mackenzie French

    The debate of whether to legalize marijuana is prominent in many states. It’s quite interesting to me that marijuana is actually used to cure people. My friend who struggled from cancer used marijuana to calm him and make him feel better, and in that case it makes me in favor of legalizing it. Besides marijuana, I hate every drug. I think drugs are not good for anyone, and find no positive side effects to any of them. Like you said, they fry your brain cells. I am curious as to what makes people think drugs are “so cool,” since losing brain cells isn’t too cool. The negative side effects outweigh any drug, some even leading to death. I wish there was more restrictions on drugs.

  3. Jordan Smith

    The health effects of marijuana actually present an interesting view on the legalization on it. The effects that you outlined really makes it odd that marijuana is classified so harshly. The main reason it was outlawed in the first place was because the head of journalist branch ran a smear campaign against hemp (closely tied to marijuana and was much cheaper to produce than the paper that this journal was printed on).

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