Legalizing Marijuana According to the National Institute Term Paper

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Legalizing Marijuana

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), "marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States." Most Americans at least know someone who has used marijuana, if they haven't used it themselves. The drug's main psychoactive compound is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. When a person smokes or eats marijuana he or she experiences a "high," which is the main reason why individuals choose to smoke pot. On the other hand, large numbers of people smoke pot because, like many legal drugs, marijuana has medicinal benefits. In particular, pot can be used to control pain related to anything from AIDS to migraines. Pot has also been shown to significantly alleviate nausea, which can be immensely helpful for patients undergoing chemotherapy. In fact, the medical uses for marijuana would probably be better understood if the drug were not already classified as a banned substance. Furthermore, as a federally banned substance, marijuana is only available to a select number of individuals living in states that have approved the use of medicinal marijuana. Even then, obtaining medical marijuana can be difficult. Contrary to popular belief, keeping pot illegal helps organized crime syndicates thrive. Pot is no panacea for the world's ills; like all drugs there are side effects that users should be aware of. Abuse is always a concern, as it is with any drug. Still, pot's problems have been significantly blown out of proportion by the American government and its war on drugs. Pot is no more dangerous than legal drugs like alcohol, and as a natural substance, pot can in fact be considered healthier than even a lot of the foods we eat. Like alcohol, pot should be treated with respect and care, used by responsible individuals who are aware of its side effects. For the sake of the freedom, health, and safety of our nation's citizens, marijuana should be decriminalized.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Legalizing Marijuana According to the National Institute Assignment

The pot prohibition marks a severe and unnecessary restriction of civil liberties. It makes no sense to ban a substance like marijuana while at the same time permitting the distribution of similar substances. Alcohol, a popular mind-altering drug, is a leading cause of death in the United States. Not only can a person die directly due to consuming too much alcohol, but alcohol-related deaths ranging from car crashes to liver disease are not uncommon. Yet anyone of legal drinking age can voluntarily drink him- or herself to death. If law offers individuals with the free will to drink, then the same law should also protect the rights of citizens regarding their choice to smoke or ingest marijuana. Furthermore, no one has ever overdosed on marijuana: it would be nearly impossible, as "you would have to consume 40,000 times as much marijuana as you needed to get stoned," (Hager). On the other hand, countless overdose deaths occur directly from legal substances like alcohol and to legal but controlled substances like prescription drugs. Smoking cigarettes causes a range of deadly diseases but the government has not stepped in to protect its citizenry from the harmful effects of processed tobacco. Even if some of the same harmful substances found in tobacco smoke can also be found in marijuana smoke, marijuana should be treated more like tobacco and alcohol in the law. The government tried banning alcohol, even going so far as to amend the constitution in the name of temperance. That prohibition didn't work and neither does this one. Therefore, the prohibition pot makes absolutely no sense and the United States should immediately revise its paradoxical drug laws.

Civil liberties aren't the only reason why pot should be legalized. Marijuana also has immense potential for improving the health of people with terminal, chronic or acute illnesses. In California, where medical marijuana has been approved by referendum, patients with AIDS and cancer are availing themselves of the medicinal benefits of pot. Smoking marijuana can reduce nausea and increase the appetite. Its appetite-stimulating properties benefit victims of wasting diseases like AIDS and cancer, as well as those suffering from eating disorders like anorexia. Marijuana has been shown to reduce… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Legalizing Marijuana According to the National Institute" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Legalizing Marijuana According to the National Institute.  (2005, April 28).  Retrieved December 8, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Legalizing Marijuana According to the National Institute."  28 April 2005.  Web.  8 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Legalizing Marijuana According to the National Institute."  April 28, 2005.  Accessed December 8, 2021.