Difference between revisions of "Marijuana"

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[[Image:Marijuana.jpg|thumb|250px|right|Indoor Marijuana Grow (DEA photo)]]
'''Marijuana''' (colloquially known as '''"weed"''' or '''"pot"''') is the name given to the flowering buds of the cannabis sativa plant prepared for human consumption. The main active ingredient in marijuana is [[Tetrahydrocannabinol|THC]], or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, an [[organic chemistry|organic chemical]] compound. Marijuana is generally illegal to possess, cultivate and sell in most countries, although it is legal in some jurisdictions as a medical treatment. However, there is a significant minority of countries and provinces in which possession (usually of a small amount for personal use) is decriminalized; for instance Portugal, Argentina, California and South Australia. There are also countries, most famously the Netherlands, in which the sale of marijuana in small quantities is tolerated by law enforcement.
The effects of marijuana can include short-term memory loss, malaise, psychosis in predisposed individuals as well as impairment of physical and mental functioning. Some research has found that cannabis has medicinal benefits (see [[Medical marijuana]]); however many contest this, and state that there are numerous federally approved medicines for the diseases that medicinal marijuana can be used to treat.
==Medicinal Harms==
Marijuana contains many of the same carcinogens as tobacco, thus when smoked it has the same harmful effects including: potential damage to DNA, cancer, respiratory diseases associated with smoke inhilation, and impaired immune system.<ref>[http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615095940.htm Science Daily 6/9/2009]</ref>. However, these effects have not been linked directly to alternate methods of marijuana use. Marijuana use can impair short term memory while intoxicated. THC has slight negative affects on long term memory and thus, in chronic users (approximately 1g/24Hrs)<ref>[http://www.askmen.com/sports/health/20_mens_health.html AskMen: Benefits of Marijuana]</ref>, complications with long term memory are a risk. If smoked, marijuana leads to a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure while intoxicated. For this reason, there is a slight increase in the risk for heart related problems including heart attack during the time of intoxication<ref>[http://www.askmen.com/sports/health/20_mens_health.html AskMen: Benefits of Marijuana]</ref>. Chronic smokers often suffer from mild withdrawal symptoms, however marijuana is not physically addictive.<ref>[http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201012/is-marijuana-addictive Psychology Today: Is Marijuana Addictive?]</ref>. Marijuana can impair judgment, motor skills, and balance <ref>[http://www.acde.org/common/Marijana.htm]</ref>. Marijuana has also been linked to impaired learning and developmental diability in unborn children <ref>[http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v31/n10/full/1301068a.html Neuropsycopharmacology: High-Potency Marijuana Impairs Executive Function and Inhibitory Motor Control]</ref>
==Medicinal Benefits==
The active ingredient in marijuana, [[Tetrahydrocannabinol|THC]], has been shown (in studies) to produce certain psychological and medicinal benefits. Marijuana has been used to treat anorexia and has been used as an antiemetic.<ref>[http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Support/marijuana National Cancer Institute]</ref> Harvard University conducted a study on the effect of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on certain lung cancers. The result of the test was that THC can reduce tumor size by as much as half.<ref>[http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417193338.htm Science Daily 4/7/2007]</ref> In addition to a significant reduction in tumor size, there was a reduction in lesions on the lungs by 60%, and a reduction in protein markers associated with the progression of cancer.<ref>[http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417193338.htm Science Daily 4/17/2007]</ref> This study shows that not only can THC treat the side effects of cancer treatment, but can stop the spread of cancer, repair damage caused by tumors, and even reduce the size of tumors.
In addition to the positive effect on cancer treatment symptoms and cancer itself, marijuana is used to help patients afflicted with [[amyotrophic lateral sclerosis|ALS]]<ref>[http://ajh.sagepub.com/content/18/4/264.short American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine]</ref>.
Marijuana is an [[antispasmodic]] and is used in the treatment of seizures <ref>[http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9586&page=106 National Academies Press: Marijuana and muscle spasticity]</ref>. Marijuana is also used in the treatment of migraines, arthritis<ref>[http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.1780090304/abstract Online Library: Treatment of adjuvant arthritis in rats with anti-inflammatory drugs]</ref>, depression<ref>[http://www.interestingfacts.org/fact/facts-about-marijuana Interesting Facts: Facts about marijuana]</ref>, and glaucoma. However the effect of marijuana on intraocular pressure (IOC) is not as effective as those offered by other drugs on the market <ref>[http://www.nei.nih.gov/news/statements/marij.asp National Eye Institue: Glaucoma and Marijuana use]</ref>.
There have not been many in-depth and widely distributed studies into the possible medicinal effects of marijuana. However, with pressure from liberal advocates of marijuana, more otherwise accredited institutions are conducting research on the drug.
==Interesting Facts==
*Carl Sagan used recreational marijuana to help "open his mind".<ref>[http://boingboing.net/2009/10/07/carl-sagan-spaced-ou.html Boing Boing: Carl Sagan Spaced Out]</ref>
*Cannabis was first cultivated in China around 4000 B.C.<ref>[http://www.interestingfacts.org/fact/facts-about-marijuana Interesting Facts: Facts about marijuana]</ref>
*U.S. Declaration of Independence was not written on hemp paper, despite popular belief.<ref>[http://www.usconstitution.net/constfaq_q145.html Constitutional FAQ Answer #145 - U.S. Constitution Online]</ref>
*George Washington grew marijuana. <ref>[http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepresidentandcabinet/a/gwtheman.htm The President and the Cabinet: George Washington the Man]</ref>
*Alcohol is over 100 times more lethal than marijuana  (ratio of lethal dose to effective dose)<ref>[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabinol Wikipedia: Tetrahydrocannabinol]</ref>.
*President Obama has admitted to use of marijuana. Former President Clinton has also admitted to smoking marijuana, but claims that he 'did not inhale'.
==Legal Status==
Marijuana is a [[Schedule I]] [[Controlled Substance]] in the United States of America, meaning that it is illegal under federal law of the United States,  and considered to have no redeemable medical value. In several countries, particularly in [[Western Europe]], it is has been decriminalised. However, in many other countries, particularly those in the Middle East and Asia, possession of even small amounts of cannabis can be punishable by death. In 2012, the states of [[Washington]] and [[Colorado]] adopted voter referenda to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  At the same time, [[Oregon]] voters rejected a similar proposition. Federal officials said that they would contest state laws that would legalize marijuana.<ref>{{cite news|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/us-usa-marijuana-votes-idUSBRE8A705E20121108|title=Marijuana legalization victories could be short-lived|first=Alex|last=Dobuzinskis|date=Nov 7, 2012|accessdate=November 8, 2012}}</ref>
The [[Netherlands]] decriminalized the use of marijuana in 1976. As a result, marijuana use among the 18-25 age group doubled, however, despite its availability, marijuana use in the Netherlands is lower than the European average. The Netherlands also saw an influx of "drug tourists" and other undesirables, as well as an increase in crime. This has since levelled out, leaving the Netherlands with one of the lowest crime rates in Europe.
Many liberals have advocated for decriminalization.<ref>[http://www.leap.cc Law Enforcement Against Prohibition]</ref><ref>http://www.lp.org/issues/lp-oss.shtml</ref>
Many [[American]] [[conservative]]s, especially social conservatives, oppose legalization of marijuana in any form due to its perceived harmful medical and psychological effects and its likelihood of harm to third parties due to drug-related crime and reckless driving. A few libertarian-leaning conservatives, most notably [[Ron Paul]], [[William F. Buckley]], and [[Larry Elder]], have advocated the decriminalization of this drug. Some [[liberal]]s support legalization, but most instead advocate for drug treatment and rehabilitation. [[Libertarian]]s are usually the biggest supporters of marijuana legalization. [[Gary Johnson]], a former Republican and 2012 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate for President, is the highest ranking US politician to advocate for marijuana legalization. He was a two-term Governor of [[New Mexico]].
[[Category:Illegal substances]]
[[Category:Illegal Drugs]]

Revision as of 04:12, 10 February 2013