Origin of Marijuana
Marijuana is a drug obtained from a plant called cannabis sativa. Another name for cannabis sativa is hemp. The plant was grown in the United States of America for agricultural purposes during the colonial period up to the beginning of the 20th century. The plant was used in the manufacture of birdseed, clothes, lacquer, and ropes. Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug among the youths and adults in the United States and other countries in the world. As noted by Iversen (2001), the drug originated from China.
History of Marijuana
Marijuana has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for long. Its use dates back in 3727 BC and it originated from China. Marijuana was considered to be a poisonous drug but it was used in the treatment of rheumatism, absent-mindedness, and malaria among other diseases that were widely spread.
From China, the drug made its way to India where it was used for recreational purposes. In addition, marijuana was widely used by Muslims as a recreational drug because the Koran condemns alcohol consumption. The use of marijuana later spread to other continents gradually.
From India, the use of marijuana spread to North Africa and Europe. Finally, Spain introduced Marijuana in the United States in 1545. The drug became the most widely used in the United States and by 1611; it was planted as a staple crop (Joy, Watson & Benson, 1999).
Negative effects of marijuana use
According to Iversen (2001), the use of marijuana is a health hazard. Once smoked, marijuana is absorbed in the blood stream where it lowers the pressure of the blood and at the same time increases the rate at which the heart beats. Pulse rate may go up to 20 to 50 times beyond the normal rate or even more if it is used in combination with other drugs.
Researchers have found that low blood pressure and high pulse rate puts marijuana users at a greater risk of heart attack, which is likely to take place within the first hour of smoking than normal people. There are high chances of conducting chest illnesses like heavy coughing and lung infections. Its users may develop a stinking mouth.
Studies have also shown that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound contained in the drug lowers the immune system of the body making the body weak to resist diseases. This makes its users vulnerable to other diseases. For pregnant mothers who indulge in the use of the drug, chances of giving birth to abnormal children are high. Miscarriages and premature births are also common. Mental disorders like insanity are associated with marijuana use (Joy, Watson & Benson, 1999).
According to Joy, Watson and Benson (1999), marijuana is associated with risky sexual behaviors that put an individual at the risk of conducting sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and HIV aids. Drug users fall as victims of rape where they force other people into sex.
Drug consumption increases school dropout rate among students. Mainly, drug users perform poorly in school, the outcome that makes them quit while reducing the levels of education in the society. Finally, marijuana users tend to be violent. Some do not carry out their roles in the family like provision of basic needs. Marijuana is expensive and its addicts spend large sums of money on its purchase, the money that could have been use for other useful purposes in the family.
Advantages of marijuana
Studies conducted by American Association for Cancer Research show that marijuana is used in the treatment of many diseases like cancer, glaucoma, Ritalin, cramp, and discomfort during menstrual cycle among other diseases. It is also used to relieve stress (Iversen, 2001).
As much as the use of marijuana is beneficial, its side effects are also dangerous. Consumption of marijuana in large contents should be discouraged and avoided. If it has to be used, the user should follow the doctor’s prescriptions on how, when, and how much to take it to avoid its negative effects.
Iversen, L. (2001). The science of marijuana, London: Oxford University Press.
Joy, E., Watson J. & Benson, A. (1999). Marijuana and medicine: assessing the science base. New York, NY: National Academies Press.