Marijuana is a drug made from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant Cannabis Sativa (also known as Cannabis Indica). The drug is popularly used either by smoking it using a rolled tobacco paper or placing it in a pipe. However, it can also be eaten, drunk as tea or injected intravenously. The drug takes on many names from region specific - kif in Morocco, dagga in South Africa and bhang in India- to street trademarks such as pot, weed, grass and Mary Jane. It also comes in different potencies with Ganja three time more potent than the ordinarily prepared marijuana and hashish five times more. The active ingredient pf the drug is called Delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol- the effects of which are characteristic of depressant drugs (Onaivi, 1990).
The "illegal drug" label of marijuana did not come along because people just wanted to label it as such. Rather, it was caused by the many observed effects it had on its patients. Physically, marijuana was observed to have the following effects: dry mouth
nausea, headache, nystagmus, tremor, decreased coordination, increased heart rate, altered pulmonary status, altered body temperature, reduced muscle strength, decreased cerebral blood flow and increased food consumption. The observed neuropsychotic effects of marijuana were: anxiety and panic, paranoia, confusion, aggressiveness, hallucinations, sedation, altered libido, possible suicidal ideation, depersonalization, derealization, poor sense of time, worsened short-term memory, addictive behaviors and amotivational syndrome. ( Losken et al, 1996); (Schuckit, 1989); (Hubbard et al, 1993); (Smart et al, 1982); (Nahas, 1977); (Benowitz; 1975)
If marijuana use is made legal and available over the counter, you are actually exposing the general public to an avoidable harm. The studies have shown that marijuana has indeed detrimental and addicting properties. Why then would you pursue the legalization of a drug that you know, for certain, is dangerous Legalizing it would be an irresponsible act since you are actually making a dangerous drug accessible to individuals, some of whom who are actually incapable of discerning their acts and are reckless in their behavior. For sure, marijuana has medicinal properties such as euphoria, relaxation, sexual arousal and heightened sensations. But these benefits come with a heavy price. There are other drugs available in the market that can provide these medications minus the negative effects of marijuana. Legalizing marijuana because of these flimsy reasons is like acknowledging that some illegal drugs have medicinal benefits and can therefore be also legalized.
It might be said that these effects are also exhibited by other regulated products such as alcohol. The question that now comes to mind is - "Why prohibit marijuana when all along other products, such as alcohol, with the same or even greater health risks are made legally available The answer lies in the general psyche of the public. Alcohol is deeply embedded in tradition and has been historically used for festivities or personal use. That is, it has already been accepted by the general public as an acceptable "drug". The problem with marijuana is that it is associated with drugs such as methamphetamine hydrochloride and cocaine. The association is not unfounded since the effects are not that far from other illegal drugs.
Furthermore, marijuana has been proven to serve as a "gateway" to