Is Marijuana Really That Bad?
The Arguments Against Marijuana
There are many arguments against marijuana. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free World, it...
- is a gateway drug
- causes brain damage
- causes short term memory loss
- damages the immune system
- stays in the body for 3-4 weeks
- has cancer-causing chemicals
- impairs driving ability
- causes mental illness.
But are these statements true? Read on.
The Facts About Marijuana
Maybe you’ve heard of all these claims about marijuana. Some are true, but most are not.
Is it a gateway drug? No. This is a myth. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, “marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, 'gateway' to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.” And according to the US government, based on two yearly surveys, “in 2009, 2.3 million people reported trying pot — compared with 617,000 who tried cocaine and 180,000 who tried heroin.”
Does it cause brain damage? No. According to 15 studies where 700 users were compared to 484 non-users, there is only a slight difference between the groups in relation to learning. Each group's scores on thinking tests were the same.
Does it cause short term memory loss? Yes. There is a small decrease in short-term memory functions, according to research.
Does it damage the immune system? Probably not. In the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a study on mice given THC was conducted where 609 microRNAs were examined. Of the 609, only 13 showed a substantial change. MicroRNAs regulate the expression of genes, and those affected in this study change the activation of genes associated with the immune system.
Does it stay in the body for 3-4 weeks? Yes. Marijuana is detectable in the body for 3-4 weeks after use, however the effects of its “high” do not last more than a couple of hours.
Does it cause cancer? There is no evidence to support or negate this question. There is still ongoing research on this topic. There is also research on the healing properties of marijuana. When it comes to cancer, these are the findings according to the research:
- Marijuana triggers cell death through a mechanism called apoptosis.
- It stops cells from dividing.
- It prevents new blood vessels from growing into tumors.
- It reduces the chance of cancer cells spreading through the body by stopping cells from moving or invading neighboring tissue.
- Marijuana speeds up the cell’s internal waste disposal machine in a process known as autophagy, which can lead to cell death.
Does it impair driving ability? Yes. Don’t get in a car and drive after you’ve used marijuana. It's that simple.
Does it cause mental illness? According to Newsweek, research shows that there is a slight chance of users of marijuana to develop depression and anxiety (and conversely, it has been proven that marijuana is a great medicine for depression and anxiety). There is also a greater chance of developing psychosis, but it's very small: 14 in 1,000 users will develop psychosis after using marijuana.
My Medicinal Marijuana Story
I am a mother, a wife, and a writer. I am also chronically ill. I have bipolar disorder, panic disorder (which is an anxiety disorder), fibromyalgia, and diabetes. As you can imagine, I have to take a lot of medication. But, because of marijuana, I have gone from taking 14 pills per day to seven pills per day.
One year ago, I started consuming marijuana via dabs. Dabbing is marijuana used in wax form. There has been a phenomenal change in my heath since I started doing this. I have no depression, no anxiety, and no pain. I am just one example of how marijuana has positive medicinal effects.
As a mother, I ask myself if consuming marijuana is an “okay” thing. Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that without it I’d be depressed, full of anxiety, and in a lot of pain. I’ve been there before and I can’t function. I wasn’t able to take care of my son. My husband had to do everything in the house. Today, though, I am able to take care of everything that I need to do. Every morning, I get my son ready for school. Then, I can write. When he comes home from school, we do homework. And so the day goes on.
These are things I wasn’t able to do before. I simply could not get out of bed. Today, though, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. No, I’m not addicted. As an experienced marijuana consumer, I can honestly say that it is not addictive. If I don’t have it, it’s no big deal. I don’t crave it. I just know that it helps me medicinally. And, I would never use another drug. According to my experience, marijuana is not a gateway drug.
So, is marijuana really that bad?