Marijuana (grass, pot, weed) is one of the most popular drugs in the world. Nowadays it became a so-called relax drug, and, according to statistical data, this kind of drug kills millions of people every year, but the greatest concerns are the speed of drug addiction spread, and the way how fast it ruins the life of young people and threatens the future world. Thus, we are going to talk not only about marijuana, discussing its main characteristics and its impact on human health with a big variety of details, but also we are going to pay a specific attention on the process of its spread among young people and adult population of any country.
Thinking about marijuana it is necessary to mention that its scientific name is Cannabis Sativa and it is a very popular plant nowadays. It is a well-known fact that marijuana grows almost all over the world, and Cannabis plants are best known as the strongest psychoactive substance in contemporary world, but they were collected because of their fiber for years. Different historical evidence shows us that durable hemp fiber was used in the manufacture of ropes, clothing, and ship rigging, as well as people used hemp oil in food. Also, marijuana was used for misting the mind in many countries around the world a few centuries ago, while the United States has opened its psychoactive properties in the first third of the last century. Thus, it is obvious that exactly after the discovery of its psychoactive properties marijuana increasingly has become the object of the collection.
Contemporary word ‘marihuana’ comes from the Portuguese word ‘mariguango’, which translates as ‘intoxicating.’ Both marijuana and hashish come from the above mentioned plant with the title Cannabis Sativa; so, describing marijuana we can say that it is the upper part of the plant with the leaves, while hashish is made of resin dust that stands out from hemp plants for protection from the sun, heat and to maintain the liquid level. For example, plants growing in warm climates produce more resin, which is a potent psychoactive remedy.
Exploring the process of its spread all over the world we can state that different manuscript sources indicated the use of cannabis resin as a specific kind of anesthetic in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia earlier than in XV century. It was also used in medical and religious purposes in India, then its spread go further to the Middle East and North Africa (Gerber, 2004). Contemporary term ‘assassin’ has its very long history and it was brought to Europe by the Crusaders from different Arab countries in XI century, because marijuana was used as a special substance in sects at different ceremonies. In such a way cannabis became popular as a medicinal and psychoactive drug in Europe and in the United States since XIX century. Many researchers wrote dozens of works about it and its impact on human health. It is also possible to mention that preparations of cannabis have been legally authorized for special use as medicines, they were also included in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States and their sale in pharmacies as means of wide profile in the United States until 1942 was an ordinary practice.
Discussing the popularity of marijuana, we can mention that exactly the end of XIX century and the early beginning of XX century are primarily characterized by the growing attention to different drugs, and popularity of marijuana on this background achieved a significant increase in its sales (Kreit, 2003). The severe fight at the government level became a struggle against marijuana since 1930, when federal agencies in the U.S. for the purpose of to combat drug trafficking and stop it forever have made a special law that strictly prohibited not only wide popular cultivation of cannabis and its free sale everywhere, but also the use of drugs produced from it. The vast majority of states have supported the bill and situation with marijuana use not disappear, but change its status from legal to illegal.
Exploring the problem of marijuana use from different sides it is necessary to demonstrate the fact that, however, despite claims of administrative and legislative bodies, various kinds of scientific institutions and organizations with adequate evidence of negative health (both mental and body influence) and social impact of drugs on human identity, society has long maintained a strong opinion and own suppositions about the safety of marijuana use (in different dozes) and lack of habituation. In those times marijuana was defined as a kind of ‘light’ drugs, as opposed to ‘hard’ drugs such as heroin, for instance.
Why it was so? The answer is rather simple; thus, the situation has received such ‘interesting’ character because the main opinion on the use of marijuana as a kind of a socially acceptable fact was deeply rooted in the public mind due to mass culture. It is rather painful to understand that people who ignored the marijuana’s smoking danger to health have made the youth of the country addicts by their own hands, because widespread promotion of its popularity in film and video led to the increase of marijuana’s popularity among American teenagers beginning with school age and ending with students of educational institutions of different levels. Thinking about 1960 and 1970 years it becomes understandable that it was the time when the use of marijuana has achieved its peak among youth in the United States. In posterior period, society’s attitude towards this issue has changed drastically, the myth about its safety has quickly dispersed and the vast majority of the researchers were deep-rooted in the opinion that marijuana, in spite of various statements that it usually shows a lower trend in the production of psychic and physical dependence, can be the main cause of addiction and adverse impact on mental, emotional and physical functions (Earleywine, 2002). Initially, there was observed not a significance decline in its use among students in higher education and colleges as a result of complex joint efforts of many popular state and public organizations to combat and stop positive proliferation of marijuana in the period during 1975-1993 (Weisheit, 1992). However, it remains a big problem, because it was one of the most frequently used drugs among the young people of the United States for a long time. Analyzing contemporary situation it is important to remind that controversy on the legalization of some drugs from cannabis for the purpose of their use in medicine as drugs and as the ‘light’ (not so dangerous) drug for addicts still continues. People don’t want to believe that marijuana addiction is the first step to severe heroin or cocaine addictions that make young and adult people helpless in the face of their problems (Gerber, 2004).
According to research of the British medical journal Lancet, marijuana takes 11th place on the harmfulness in the list of the most harmful drugs in the world (Mikos, 2009). There was carried out a chemical analysis, which found that marijuana is a complex plant, which includes more than 400 chemical elements in itself; and about 60 of them, they are called cannabinoids, are considered unique elements of cannabis.
Nowadays marijuana is taken in many ways as the substance. For example, several centuries ago, marijuana was taken in liquid form or in the form of food. In addition, the psychoactive effects, which marijuana gives, some people receive even chewing its leaves. Nevertheless, marijuana is commonly used in the form of smoking cigarettes.
Discussing the symptoms of marijuana use we should mention that it violates the acidity of the stomach, and also marijuana causes all kinds of digestive disorders, sore and red eyes (the person may have difficulty trying to keep them open), dry mouth, uncontrollable laughter, forgetfulness, temporary memory loss, extreme fatigue, slowness in action, occasional bouts of paranoia (when there is strong intoxication or when a person does not know that marijuana is mixed with other drugs), hallucinations, lack of aspirations, torpor, the smell of sweat on the skin, hair and clothing, strong changes in mood and behavior, when a person is intoxicated. Drug users can also carry with them eye drops, gum, perfume or cologne, trying to hide certain effects or odors. Marijuana has stimulated and sedation impact on human organism that is supplemented with hallucinogenic effects in its high doses.
Thus, taking everything into consideration it is possible to say that we have observed the process of marijuana spread among our population with many details and proved that its use is extremely harmful for human organism, including body and mind. Finally, marijuana blocks all sensation, replacing the desirable with undesirable. So, along with the fact that marijuana provides temporary relief of pain and suffering, it also reduces a person’s ability, alertness and muddy consciousness. Long-term drug use robs life of pleasure and joy, in fact, making drug use the main aim of life and the main reason to live. In the end, the person faces a choice: drugs and the death as a result of drug use or healthy life without drugs.
In conclusion, marijuana is a drug and there is also a solution how to cope with addiction for those who are already faced to the problem of drug addiction – this solution is a rehabilitation program.
Earleywine, M. Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. Oxford University Press, 2002.
Gerber, R. Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics. Praeger, 2004.
Kreit, A. “The Future of Medical Marijuana: Should the States Grow Their Own?” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 151, 2003.
Mikos, R. “On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States’ Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime”. Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 62, 2009.
Weisheit, R. Domestic Marijuana: A Neglected Industry. Greenwood Press, 1992.