We should not allow a substance to be freely used in society if we do not fully know the long term effects or implications the drug will have on users. If the government did legalize marijuana it would promote to the country that the government approves of using marijuana which would cause more people to use it. Too many people already abuse marijuana as it is and if it were legal there would be many more cases of marijuana abuse. Marijuana has a vast amount of negative effects on the users health which is why it should continue to be illegal.
Marijuana affects the body both mentally and physically. There have been a number of studies that show association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia (NIDA, 2010). The strongest evidence they have found against marijuana and its mental effects is that it can cause the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals (NIDA, 2010). This shows that marijuana negatively impacts individuals mentally. A substance that is linked to triggering a disorder should not be allowed to be used freely in society.
Physically, marijuana also has many effects on the human body. It increases heart rate by twenty to one hundred percent shortly after smoking and this can last up to three hours (NIDA, 2010). This increased heart rate can lead to palpitations and arrhythmias (NIDA, 2010). This is not healthy for older people or people with heart problems. Marijuana is also said to contain carcinogens which are exposed to the lungs (NIDA, 2010) which is definitely not a benefit to the human body. Although marijuana is not exactly the worst thing for your body, it certainly impacts the body in a negative manner.
The exposure to marijuana could cause health issues which could require medical attention. This would place a burden on societys health care system which could be completely avoided if the substance remained illegal. Secondly, marijuana should also remain illegal because it can be an addictive substance. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2010) nine percent of users become addicted to marijuana, and the number increases the younger people start exposing themselves to marijuana and if people use marijuana daily.
Although nine percent does not seem significant it is still not healthy to be addicted to a substance with such mediocre benefits. If marijuana was legalized than it would be more accepted in society and more people would start using it. This would cause more people to be addicted which is not healthy. Once people are addicted abusers may experience symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety and drug craving if they decide to stop using marijuana (NIDA, 2010).
In society today people are already experiencing problems with other addictions like gambling or alcohol. Legalizing marijuana would just give society another substance to become dependent on. Lastly, marijuana would overall impact society negatively. The THC in marijuana acts upon specific sites in the brain, cannabinoid receptors which influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception and coordinated movement (NIDA, 2010).
Marijuana contributes to difficulty concentrating, slowed thought, depersonalization, extreme anxiety and panic. If marijuana use was accepted in society there would be some serious problems with the normal functioning of society. People would be functioning at a worse than normal level and it would cause major challenges for society such as the increase of car accidents. Marijuana contributes to highway crashes, injuries and deaths. Many studies show that in a good amount of car accidents the participants tested positive for marijuana (Dupont, 2010).
In society we already have enough trouble with people driving under the influence of alcohol, if marijuana was legalized then people would also be driving high. Due to its effects on the ability for the brain to function I would have to agree that the number of car accidents would definitely increase. People get in accidents everyday because of careless errors in driving and I think that if peoples brain activity was impaired this would lead to many more accidents. Overall, I believe there are too many things in society that are already negatively impacting the citizens.
Marijuana in my opinion should not be legalized because it could do more harm than good. I believe until they can successfully prove there are more benefits than drawbacks to the drug it should be kept illegal. The debate should not even exist until we have some solid evidence that this drug will not negatively affect people. The potential health risks, the impacts it has on society and the risk of addiction are issues that society would have to deal with if marijuana was legal. Overall I think society would function better by keeping marijuana illegal.