Is Marijuana really as bad as people says it is?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19:  Dave Warden, a bud tender at Private Organic Therapy (P.O.T.), a non-profit co-operative medical marijuana dispensary, displays various types of marijuana available to patients on October 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Attorney General Eric Holder announced new guidelines today for federal prosecutors in states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed under state law. Federal prosecutors will no longer trump the state with raids on the southern California dispensaries as they had been doing, but Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently began a crackdown campaign that will include raids against the facilities. Cooley maintains that virtually all marijuana dispensaries are in violation of the law because they profit from their product. The city of LA has been slow to come to agreement on how to regulate its 800 to 1,000 dispensaries. Californians voted to allow sick people with referrals from doctors to consume cannabis with the passage of state ballot Proposition 215 in 1996 and a total of 14 states now allow the medicinal use of marijuana. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

In the 1920’s, Lucky Strike cigarettes were the preferred cigarette of doctors as they were considered “less irritating” on the throat than other cigarette brands. In 1949, Camel cigarettes claimed that “More Doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” 15 years later, the United States surgeon general announced that a link had been found between smoking cigarettes and the development of lung cancer, among other diseases. Even still, cigarette advertisements could be found in school magazines until 2005. Similarly, the legal drinking age was lowered to 18 by 30 states in the early 1970’s despite the known negative effects of alcohol.  Although the national drinking age has since been reestablished as 21, advertisements for alcohol can still be found everywhere, from TV and radio commercials to magazines and baseball stadiums. What’s my point? In a country where 16 million people will suffer from cigarette related illnesses and 88,000 people will die alcohol-related deaths this year alone, how are both of these substances perfectly acceptable by most of society’s standards while marijuana remains heavily stigmatized, despite being thousands of times less deadly than cigarettes and alcohol?

Marijuana has received a reputation in the United States as a drug for deadbeats and losers, a substance that opens the doorway for experimentation with hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Personally, this notion falls somewhere between outdated and complete nonsense, but my own beliefs aside, I’m left wondering, is marijuana really as bad as people say it is?

The Journal of Scientific Reports published a study in early 2015 (which is analyzed in this article [ ] in which lethal amounts of various substances/drugs were tested against the amount used by the average user. Of the tested substances (Meth, ecstasy, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, alcohol and cocaine), marijuana ranked dead last in comparative risk, was the only drug analyzed that showed a low mortality rate, and was rated as 114 times less deadly than liquor. Following the study, the authors even released a statement declaring that the federal government should begin to prioritize risk management towards alcohol and tobacco instead of marijuana.

Additionally, in a 2012 study led by University of California, San Francisco epidemiologist Mark Pletcher, Pletcher and his team analyzed the effect that long term, frequent marijuana usage had on the body of the smokers. Pletcher says that most of the study’s participants smoked an average of 2-3 joints each month for 20 years, but even when examining the body of a man who had smoked at least one joint daily for 20 years, Pletcher and his team were unable to find ANY effects of marijuana use.

It’s likely that those who strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana with never stop talking about the drugs *allegedly* negative effects, but I wonder what these same people have to say about the positive effects of marijuana?

What? Positive effects of marijuana? Yes, medical marijuana has undeniably helped hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, the largest group being those suffering from neuropathic due to nerve damage. Also becoming increasingly common is the prescription of medical marijuana for individuals who suffer from severe appetite loss as a result of AIDS or chemotherapy in cancer patients.  In other instances, marijuana and marijuana oils have also been used to aid individuals suffering from conditions such as bipolar disorder, epilepsy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and multiple sclerosis.

Until very recently, marijuana has been billed as a drug with strictly negative effects that starts users down the path towards drug abuse.  With that being said, Marijuana has been proven exponentially less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco (two legal substances in the U.S.) while it’s also been proven to have health benefits for potentially millions of people across the world who suffer from certain diseases or conditions. So let me ask you, Is Marijuana really as bad as people says it is?






3 thoughts on “Is Marijuana really as bad as people says it is?

  1. Sean Patrick Hickey

    This is an issue that I am passionate about. I am also from California and I will be voting to legalize weed in November. My view on it doesn’t have to do so much with weed itself but rather with the government. The government should have no right to tell me, a tax paying adult, what I can or can’t do with my body. If a person wants to smoke weed they should be allowed to. The government was not designed to be everyone’s parents, what people want to do with there own body should be there decision and no body else’s. Also, the government allows cigarettes to be sold at every corner store in the country, and cigarettes are proven to kill people. But yet the government still puts weed in the same class as heroine despite the fact that there have been no documented, verified cases of someone dying from marijuana. Check out these polls too, , the country’s view is shifting and the government should adapt to the changing view.

  2. Ryan Gregory Blank

    As a California state native, I can honestly say that I am not sure whether I am going to vote in favor of legalizing marijuana this November. I do believe it could be very beneficial to my state, which is a major economic crisis, but is it worth the increase in crime rate or being around people who are constantly under the influence of drugs. We have not yet developed a way to test if someone is under the influence of marijuana on the spot, so I wonder if things like car crash rates or theft rise with the legalization of the drug. Secondly, I understand that alcohol is very dangerous, but it does not lead to intaking substances that can ruin your life even more. Weed is known for its “gateway” tendencies. People who like to smoke a lot of weed tend to move on to more intense drugs. I also believe that this is the reason that weed has such a terrible stigma attached to it. For the reason I just mentioned and because people can be heavily under influence at any time and there is no was to test on the spot.

  3. Sarah Tarczewski

    While I agree that marijuana is not nearly as bad as it’s made out to be and that it’s helped a multitude of sick people, we need concrete research to prove this. I feel like the best way to do this would be for America to legalize the drug, not only to make revenue and lower our prison populations, but to do significant research of the long term effects of marijuana use. As it stands, because it’s illegal, none of this research can be done in America. I’ve linked an article about Portugal’s legalization of all drugs, which lead to a decrease in overdoses and lowered the prison population.

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