Recreational use of marijuana has been going on for many years, and
like cigarettes many people refuse to listen to health reports. More and
more reports are coming out on the effects of marijuana on the body. Just
how harmful marijuana can be is questionable. Some health reports state
that it is very detrimental to the body while others are explaining how
chemicals extracted from the marijuana plant are being used as medication.
The problem is, just what are the effects, and how bad is it for someone
who uses this drug?
I have picked this topic because I am very interested in the effects
of marijuana on the body. It is commonly known that marijuana is a widely
used drug. Many movies depict people having a great time, smoking
marijuana, and laughing as hard as they can. But is this really what is
behind the drug? Without looking at health reports, one may think so. If
so many people use it, how can it be bad for you? After seeing so much
positive feedback about marijuana, it would really be nice to see just what
is behind this mysterious plant.
In this paper, the researcher will explore whether or not marijuana is
harmful to your physical health. It will be shown that marijuana is
popular and that many people may not know what they are taking into their
bodies. It will be shown just what parts of the body marijuana effects and
how it effects them. The main purpose of this collection of information is
to see just what marijuana does to the body and to determine whether the
effects are good, bad, or a combination of both. Many different areas of
research will be used.
The report “Marijuana Retains Popularity Despite Anti-drug Attitudes”
in The Dallas Times Herald by the Associated Press shows just how popular
marijuana remains despite health warnings. A 40-something woman referred to
as Ruth has a little something to say. “It’s a very nice high,” she said.
“Often in these drug stories, people forget to mention that part” (The
Associated Press, A-6). Ruth is among the 17 million Americans who use
marijuana regularly. Part of the reason for marijuana’s popularity is its
cheap price. John, a scientist who uses the drug says an ounce can cost
him from $40 to $100 (The Associated Press, A-6). Another reason for its
popularity that is that “the cops basically ignored it” a few years ago,
said Bill FitzGerald, of the County Attorney’s Office (The Associated
Press, A-6). Today, the county boasts a “Do Drugs, Do Time” program
targeting all drug users (The Associated Press, A-6).
“Marijuana: Is there a new reason to worry?”, an article in the March
88 issue of American Health by Winifred Gallagher had a lot to say about
just what parts of the body marijuana effects. The majority of the effects
of marijuana are caused by a chemical called THC
(delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Marijuana, when smoked, enters the body
though the lungs and is passed to the blood stream. According to Doctor
Billy martin, a professor of pharmacology at the Medical College of
Virginia, THC seems to turn on a number of biological systems (Gallagher,
92). Harvard’s Dr. Norman Zinberg studied a group of marijuana smoker and
concluded that “essentially, marijuana doesn’t cause psychological problems
for the occasional user” (Gallagher, 92). Heavy use however, is thought to
create a lack of motivation, or commonly called “burn-out”. New York
Hospital’s Millman prefers the term “aberrant motivation” to describe the
inert attitude of some heavy smokers” (Gallagher, 92).
“The Health Hazards of Marijuana,” a report in the September 1990
issue of World & I by Gabriel G. Nahas was very informative on the damage
caused by marijuana. Marijuana effects memory and behavior. “Marijuana
really interferes with short-term memory,” says Dr. Richard Schwartz or
Georgetown University, and memory loss is one of the main problems with
kids who smoke pot” (Nahas, 287). Marijuana also effects the immune
system. Guy Cabral of the Medical College of Virginia reported that THC
impairs the competence of calls to destroy virus infected cells and tumor
cells (Nahas, 293). Marijuana also has devastating effects on human mental
development, and cause metal disorders.
An article in Newsday on August 14, 1990 by Jamie Talan called
“Marijuana as Medicine” had something completely different to say. New
findings “give the study of cannabinoids (the family of chemicals in
Marijuana) a new respectability”, said Donald Moss, professor of psychology
at the University of Texas (Talan, D1). Miles Herkenham, chief of
functional neuroanatomy at the National Institution of Mental Health says
the new findings “allow us to design drugs that have very selective
effects” (Talan, D6). Herkenham also discovered that there are several
receptor sites in the brain that control motor functions, learning and
memory. Hence, marijuana may be useful in treating a problem in many of
Based on the information gathered, I have concluded that the effects
of marijuana on the body are very detrimental. Marijuana’s effects on
memory and the immune system can be very disastrous. For someone still in
school, a good memory is needed, along with much motivation. Marijuana
attacks both of these elements in the body and can really hurt a hard
It seems however, most of the complications that were brought up occur
mostly in heavy, chronic users. I am sure that along with these
complications, the same complications as with cigarette smoking come up.
Occasional use of marijuana doesn’t seem to cause many problems. However,
as with any drug, the user can become accustomed to its use and not be able
to function properly. So even occasional use can lead to disaster.
Marijuana effects many different parts of the body in many ways.
Being that marijuana is fat-soluble, it can remain in the body for over
4-weeks after use. Researchers are unable to determine what the chemicals
are doing to the body while they remain there over this period of time.
This just proves that there is much more research to be done, and that in
the future it may be seen that marijuana is much more dangerous than even
shown in this paper.
As for using marijuana as medicine, I think the same goes as above. A
lot more research has to be done on the side effects of THC before any real
use can be done. There have been many drugs up to now that have seemed
useful, but in the end have caused more harm to the body than good.
I think that marijuana use affects myself and my peers very much. As
I go to parties and the such, it can be seen that drug use is around, no
one can deny it. Its scary to see just what some people are doing to
themselves, and they don’t even know it.
I think that if some of the marijuana users took some time to read
this, and many of the other reports on the effects of marijuana, they would
think twice before lighting up next time. Maybe they will wonder just what
harm they have done to their body already.
Many people that smoke marijuana have the effects that are discussed
in this paper. Its can plainly be seen, their lack of motivation and kind
of “spaceyness” that is commonly associated with marijuana smoking. I
often wonder what these people would be like if they stopped their use and
allowed themselves to rid their body of the THC and its by-products.
Marijuana use is still very popular throughout the United States, and
the fact that people are not educated enough about its effects is very
detrimental. These people are hurting themselves, and they don’t know (and
many just don’t care) what they are doing to their bodies. If marijuana
use was to grow too much, we may have a country of unmotivated people, with
many more health problems due to their immune deficiencies. Where will we
The Associated Press, “Marijuana retains popularity despite anti-drug
attitudes”, Dallas Times Herald, p.A-6, November 18, 1990.
Gallagher, Winifred, “Marijuana: Is there a new reason to worry?”,
American Health, p.92-104, March 1988.
Nahas, Gabriel G., “The Health Hazards of Marijuana”, World & I, p.286-293,
Talan, Jamie, “Marijuana as Medicine”, Newsday, Discovery Section, p.1,6-7,
August 14, 1990.