Even with Debates Marijuana Still an Addictive Narcotic
In the November 2012 elections, two states became the first in the country to vote to legalize marijuana. The legal status of cannabis in Washington and Colorado is now similar to that of alcohol, meaning that adults can now purchase, possess, consume and produce the drug, though there continue to be restrictions on how much of the drug is allowed. In many other parts of the United States, marijuana has been partially decriminalized, so that possession of a small amount for personal use is no longer punishable by time in jail and a criminal record, but instead will result in nothing more than a citation. Furthermore, many states have legalized medical marijuana, making it possible to purchase the drug with a prescription for a condition such as glaucoma or to provide relief to cancer patients. Such developments have been the subject of great controversy across the nation, with people on both sides of the issue becoming highly vocal concerning the issue.
Those who support legalizing marijuana point to several issues in favor of their position. Many argue that marijuana is not as likely to cause the user to become violent as is alcohol. Others point out that, because a pot smoker does not smoke as much or as often as a cigarette smoker, he or she is less likely to develop lung cancer or similar health problems. From a pragmatic viewpoint, cannabis legalization supporters argue that the government could not only avoid spending billions of dollars on prohibition efforts, but could even raise money by taxing the sale of the drug. It has even been argued that legalizing marijuana could save lives, by pulling the rug out from under the black market that exists thanks to the fact that the drug is illegal, similar to how ending alcohol prohibition cut down on bootlegging.
Is Marijuana Addictive
With so many arguments in its favor, it would seem to be a simple question to approve the legalization of marijuana. The issue, unfortunately, is not so simple. On the contrary, anyone considering whether or not to make cannabis, or any other drug for that matter, legal, must also consider the potential public health ramifications of doing so. Marijuana may not be as dangerous as other drugs in certain respects, but it does carry its own health hazards. To make matters worse, it can also be addictive. For most people, this is an obvious statement.
Have you ever known anyone, or do you know anyone now, who continued to use cannabis despite the fact that he or she knew it was causing problems in life? This is one of the most fundamental definitions of addiction, that the addict keeps on using the drug even when he or she knows it is time to stop based on the negative consequences of using the drug. The commonsense observation that marijuana is very often addictive is backed up by the numbers on the subject. According to estimates published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 9 percent of people who use marijuana will get addicted to the drug. Those who start smoking pot at an early age are nearly twice as likely to get hooked, with 16 percent of teenagers becoming addicted. Around one quarter of people who use marijuana on a daily basis become addicted. Beyond addiction to marijuana, pot smokers will also very often graduate into using even more powerful drugs.
How Can Marijuana be Addictive
Marijuana can be addictive both physically and emotionally/mentally. When a person uses this drug, it artificially pulls him or her out of stress, but in doing so it depletes the body’s stores of magnesium. This mineral is the body’s natural solution to stress, and without it the person will subsequently become even more prone to suffering from stress. Consequently, he or she will be more likely to again use marijuana, and so the cycle continues downward into a full-blown addiction. When a person starts using marijuana, whether to relieve stress, to escape boredom or for similar reasons, he or she may also become emotionally dependent on the drug. Marijuana becomes closely associated in the person’s mind with “feeling good” or “relaxation,” and without it the person may become more vulnerable to stressful and high-pressure situations.
Whether it is primarily physical, emotional or both, marijuana addiction is common, and it can ruin a person’s life. Even if one still considers that legalizing marijuana might be a good solution to many of the problems that we as a nation now face, it is important to remember that the fact that a drug is legal does not mean that it is safe.
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