Tobacco, Marijuana Smoke and Pew Research Center

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Marijuana also known as Cannabis comes from the Cannabaceae Family. It originated thousands of years ago in Asia; it has since spread all over the world. Cannabis is an Angiosperm which means that the plant has flowers and produces seeds. It contains over 500 different compounds, but the main active compound is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (d-9-THC). It is used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. THC is what causes people to feel “high”, it can affect perception, mood, emotion, cognition, and motor function. There are also cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) which are non-psychoactive, CBD is where the medicinal purposes come in. It is most commonly used for a seizure disorder (epilepsy). It is also used for anxiety, pain, a muscle disorder called dystonia, Parkinson disease, Crohn disease, and many other conditions. 

When using Cannabis for its CBD purposes people typically use it in an oil form, which can be taken orally, or used as a topical. Some other ways are to inhale it using a vape, digest it by eating an edible, or through a transdermal patch. CBD made from hemp is legal in all 50 states but if the CBD is derived from marijuana it is only legal is marijuana is legalized in that state. Although marijuana and hemp can both come from the cannabis sativa family, they're distinctly different. Marijuana is bushier with broader leaves, while hemp is leaner with shinier leaves. Marijuana is the dried flower of the female cannabis plant, and it can come from either the cannabis Indica or cannabis sativa species. Hemp is only a member of the cannabis sativa family.

Some states require you to have a medical marijuana ID card, you may then be able to purchase marijuana from dispensaries. Some states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and those are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. Some states or cities have decriminalized the use of recreational marijuana. If Marijuana is legal in so many states why is it not legal in all fifty states? 

According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 in 10 people believe marijuana should be legalized. Those other 4 people usually think that Marijuana has negative health effects. They often times believe marijuana is a gateway drug, meaning that it could lead to harder substances. But according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances.” They also argue that legalizing it would cause problems with the economy. It actually would save the government $13.7 billion dollars because they would be eliminating prohibition enforcement costs and adding billions in tax revenue. It also boots local economies by creating jobs for people. 

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Another reason they do not want it legalized is they believe it will have a negative impact on society’s health. Cannabis researcher Robert Melamede explained in the Harm Reduction Journal in 2005 that while tobacco and marijuana smoke have some similar chemical properties, they have different “pharmacological activities and are not equally carcinogenic.” In other words, though weed and cigarette smoke are both bad, they’re bad in different ways. Melamede specifically argued that weed smoke has multiple cannabinoids—some of which possess “anti-cancer activity.” He concluded that “components of cannabis smoke minimize some carcinogenic pathways, whereas tobacco smoke enhances some.”. You also don’t have to smoke marijuana, there are many other ways to use it.

In my opinion I believe marijuana should be legalized. I believe it is way safer and more natural than most things we put into our bodies. Alcohol is legal and according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually; no one has ever died from marijuana. Three to four times as many Americans are dependent on alcohol as on marijuana. A study in the Lancet ranking the harmfulness of drugs put alcohol first as the most harmful, tobacco as sixth, and cannabis eighth. 

A national poll found that people view tobacco as a greater threat to health than marijuana by a margin of four to one (76% vs. 18%), and 72% of people surveyed believed that regular use of alcohol was more dangerous than marijuana use. 'In several respects, even sugar poses more of a threat to our nation's health than pot,' said Dr. David L. Nathan, a clinical psychiatrist and president of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. 40% of people have smoked marijuana or do smoke marijuana, but most are buying from off the streets. People have no clue what they’re buying or if what they're ingesting is covered with mold, fungus, pesticides, or other harmful substances. Once marijuana is legalized, the government is able to enforce laboratory testing and regulations to ensure that marijuana is free of toxins. The health and comfort of the people should be the major concern of the government. 

Marijuana has many positive attributes that could help people in everyday life. Many Americans that are suffering from ailing symptoms could use this drug. Marijuana could be used to help with pain, nausea, spasticity, and other symptoms that normal drugs just simply aren’t curing. Also, it could be a great way to allow people to relax themselves on a normal basis. For the most parts the symptoms of marijuana are very mild and are easy to deal with. Not very often are people uncontrollable or in a state of danger when using this drug. Marijuana is a drug that easily builds tolerance and allows people to handle the symptoms better. If people can handle the symptoms and use the drug properly, I don’t understand why it shouldn’t be legalized. 

Many Americans will tell you that the symptoms are much more positive than negative. All in all, marijuana should be legalized, and the policy should be changed immediately. There is too much good to come from this policy changed not to do it. There are many people that agree with a policy change and the government needs to do the same. Marijuana can clearly help make this country better for the people in many ways. 

Health is obviously a major concern for the government and that is why they might hesitate to legalize it. But as studies show there are few health risks and even some positive health factors that weed could contribute. Also, how much legal marijuana can help our government funding and justice system is another reason the policy needs to be changed now. Keeping kids off the streets and drug dealers from selling to kids is also more proof of how poorly the current policy is running. Legal marijuana could help hard drugs from spreading to the wrong people. 

Also, it will keep the amount of drug dealers down and the amount of legal shops up. All in all, marijuana would do much more positive than it would negative if it were to be legalized. The policy that is preventing the legalization of marijuana must be changed at once. Legal marijuana can help. The government needs to see these facts and change the marijuana policy as soon as possible. 

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