This Essay was written by a college freshman for English 101
Marijuana, Is it Harmless?
Marijuana is it harmless? Some doctors have said that it is David
Powelson, M.D., formerly chief of psychiatry, Cowell Hospital,
University of California, Berkeley, at one time advocated legalizing
the use of marijuana. Later, after more evidence was available, be
wrote: "I now believe that marijuana is the most dangerous drug we must
contend with: 1. Its early use is beguiling. The user is given an
illusion of feeling good; he cannot sense the deterioration of his
mental and physiological process. 2. Its continued use leads to
delusional thinking. After one to three years of continuous use, the
pathological forms of thinking begin to take over the thought
process."-Executive Health Report, October 1977, p.8 Dr. Robert L.
DuPont, former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the
United States, who in the past was quoted as minimizing danger from
marijuana, more recently stated: "The real issue is the health danger
posed by this epidemic [of marijuana use by the younger generation],
danger of at least two kinds. One is the effects of the intoxication,
ranging from the hazardous impact on driving to caring less about
everything. The other area is purely physical. Here the concerns
range from the regular occurrence of chronic bronchitis among marijuana
users to the very real possibilities of harmful hormonal effects,
effects on the immune system and possibly even cancer." -Montreal
Gazette, March 22, 1979, p.9. Science Digest provided these details:
"Regular marijuana puffing may, in the long run, widen the gaps between
nerve endings in the brain that are necessary for such vital functions
as memory, emotion and behavior. In order for nerves to perform their
functions, they must communicate between themselves." Then, commenting
on the results of tests involving animals, the article continues: "The
most marked effects occurred in the septal region, associated with
emotions; the hippocampus, concerned with memory formation; and the
amygdala, responsible for certain behavioral functions."-March 1981, p.
Is use of marijuana any worse than drinking of alcoholic beverages?
Alcohol is a food and is metabolized by the body to provide energy; the
end products are disposed of by the body. However, a
psychopharmacologist said: "Marijuana is a very potent drug, and the
biggest mistake we make is comparing it to alcohol." "Molecule for
molecule, THC [in marijuana] is 10,000 times stronger than alcohol in
its ability to produce mild intoxication...THC is removed slowly from
the body, and many months are required to recover from its effects."
(Executive Health Report, October 1977, p.3)