Marijuana is Bad For You, Right?
The Controlled Substances Act instated in 1970 is a piece of drug regulation legislation we still use today. This act organizes almost any prescription or illegal drug you can think of into categories. Marijuana is a schedule one drug. A schedule one drug is described as, “hav[ing] a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” Schedule one drugs may not be prescribed for any medical purposes. Examples of other schedule one drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), peyote, and ecstasy.
Schedules 2-5 can be prescribed. Each schedule has different levels of potential for abuse. Schedule two drugs, for example morphine, have the highest potential that are still prescribed; while schedule five drugs, for example Lunesta, have the lowest. I believe marijuana should be moved to a lesser category.
Marijuana has been controversial since it was placed in the schedule one category in 1970. The Nixon administration said they did not think people could be dependent on it and therefore not a schedule one or two drug. However, since substantial research had not been done about marijuana at that time, they placed it temporarily in schedule one. Marijuana isn’t as bad as most people think.
Abovetheinfluence.org says, “in addition to the possible effects on your brain, smoking marijuana may also be hazardous to your developing lungs. Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.” Another claim from the same site is that marijuana has more than 400 different chemicals in it. A website called stop-smoking-programs.org says, “tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 different chemicals.” Tobacco has ten times more chemicals than marijuana, yet tobacco is legal and marijuana isn’t. Marijuana cannot contain 50% to 70% more chemicals than tobacco if it has ten times less chemicals.
Also, that argument (assuming it was valid) alone is not a reason marijuana itself is bad for you, that only explains the hazards of smoking. People often clump using marijuana and smoking marijuana in the same category. MarijuanaVaporizer.com contends that “using a vaporizer avoids the burning process and, consequently, eliminates the health problems associated with smoking.”
“According to the Food and Drug Administration,” says soberrecovery.com, “there is no sound scientific studies to carry the medical use of smoked marijuana.” On the contrary, the advocates against marijuana at drugabuse.gov do acknowledge that “scientists have confirmed that the cannabis plant contains active ingredients with therapeutic potential for relieving pain, controlling nausea, stimulating appetite, and decreasing ocular pressure.” Marijuana has at least four medicinal uses and drugabuse.gov has found scientific studies.
In Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, the authors state, “[since] marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a “gateway” drug.” However, scienceblog.com quotes a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy: “the gateway progression may be the most common pattern, but it’s certainly not the only order of drug use,” Ralph E. Tarter, Ph.D. says, “in fact, the reverse pattern is just as accurate for predicting who might be at risk for developing a drug dependence disorder.” Dr. Tarter was the lead scientist on a study where, again according to scienceblog.com, “[the researchers] tracked 214 boys beginning at ages 10-12, all of whom eventually used either legal or illegal drugs. When the boys reached age 22, they were categorized into three groups: those who used only alcohol or tobacco, those who started with alcohol and tobacco and then used marijuana (gateway sequence) and those who used marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco (reverse sequence).”
“Chemicals in Cigarettes.” Stop Smoking Programs. 2012. 03 April, 2012.
Hodgson, Ally. “White Paper: Marijuana as a Schedule One Drug.” WordPress.com. 29 February, 2012. 03 April, 2012.
“InfoFacts: Marijuana.” National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse The Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction. November, 2010. 03 April, 2012.
Joy, Janet E., Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and
John A. Benson, Jr. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999.
“Marijuana.” Abovetheinfluence.org. 03 April, 2012.
“Marijuana has No Medical Use according to FDA contradicts Panel.” Soberrecovery.com. 2010. 03 April, 2012.
“Marijuana Vaporizer.” MarijuanaVaporizer.com. 1996. Web. 03 April, 2012.