The Positive and Negative Effects of Marijuana

March 6, 2011
Marijuana is a very controversial issue with a lot of information being spread around, both for and against it. The subject of marijuana affects everyone whether they know it or not due to the millions of tax dollars that have been fruitlessly spent on the drug war and marijuana prohibition, with almost no conclusive impact on cannabis culture. The truth about marijuana needs to be brought to light so that people can decide, with an educated opinion, whether or not the positive effects of marijuana out weigh the negative. Between the anti-drug activists, who would say anything to make marijuana seem like an evil life taking tool, and the pro-drug activists, who seem to think that it is a plant that was sent down from the heavens to save mankind, the actual facts and data can get quite distorted and warped. Therefore in the end it’s hard to separate the fact from the fiction. More and more, you see new stories about marijuana legalization with activists from both sides arguing their case. The battle has really been coming to a head in the last few years and I believe that the decision of marijuana legalization will be made in my lifetime; so it is a very relevant topic to me, and to my generation as well. The truth needs to be heard. I have gathered and examined multiple reliable sources and studies, as well as pulled from my own personal experience with the drug to put together the true picture of marijuana.

The positive effect findings from my first source were fairly typical for what one may have heard about the drug. Some of which being: feeling relaxed, feeling happy, getting munchies (could also be considered negative), increased enjoyment of music and art, more appreciation of the surroundings, forgetting cares and worries, better imagination and visualization, increased creativity, as well as more enjoyment of sexual activity and increased feelings of excitement (Hammersley, R, & Leon, V. 2006).

The negative effects findings were also pretty typical for what one may have heard which would include: being forgetful, over sleeping, not getting things done, concentration difficulties, neglecting work or duties, loss of balance or dizziness, problems with performing tasks, and nausea (Hammersley, R, & Leon, V. 2006).

From these findings several facts were concluded. The main conclusion seems to be that if used casually marijuana’s positive effects out weigh the negative; the source states that “Cannabis users generally enjoyed it and found it beneficial to them, but they put up with sometime disturbances of cognitive function and mood, the latter including disorientation, depression and anxiety (paranoia)” (Hammersley, R, & Leon, V. 2006). They found that in casual users the effects, either positive or negative, only lasted during the time of intoxication and sometimes during the following day, and that as long as the use remained casual rather than heavy the effects would not become problematic. However, if use increased and effects became more chronic than effects may begin causing problems.

Also in this study the health risks of marijuana were examined. It was discovered that the risks of smoking cannabis were different, and perhaps even lesser, than those of smoking tobacco; furthermore it was found that due to the large amount of individuals smoking marijuana combined with tobacco, statistics describing marijuana dependency may have been inflated, by the fact that it was the nicotine in tobacco that people were becoming dependent on rather than actual cannabis itself. The study also stated that near-daily use was more likely to cause problems and was discouraged (Hammersley, R, & Leon, V. 2006).

My second source dealt mostly with the medical aspects of marijuana, but this data is still important for people to know and be aware of. In this study, patients with various medical problems were treated with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active ingredient in marijuana, and it was found to treat a wide range of various ailments such as: Tourette-Syndrome, appetite loss, weight loss, nausea, depression, HIV-infection, migraines, asthma, back pain, hepatitis C, sleeping disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, headaches, alcoholism, glaucoma, disk prolapse, spinal cord injury, as well as improving the well being of cancer patients (Grotenhermen, 2002). It did not go into to detail about how cannabis was able to help with these symptoms, but it did back the results up with various other studies that all showed the same results, so I feel safe in saying that marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes, which is a major plus for the positive effects side.

My third source deals with the regular, as well as the medical aspects of marijuana. The study found that despite the many rumors and false reports, cannabis does not, in fact, cause cancer. The study goes on to say that the smoking of the plant, not any chemical of the plant itself, causes a majority of the bodily damage done to the individual smoking the drug. If the individual ingests the plant orally or through a vaporizer it would seem that the risk of any kind of cancer can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated altogether. Cannabis also has not been seen to be the cause of any other life threatening problems (Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr. 1999). The study also confirmed many of the medical applications that were discussed in my second source.

This study reported similar positive effects as the previous studies: sense of well-being, euphoria, increased talkativeness and laughter, periods of introspective dreaminess, lethargy, and sleepiness. The negative effects were also congruent with the previous studies consisting of: anxiety, paranoia, panic, depression, dysphoria, depersonalization, delusions, illusions, and hallucinations. The study then goes on to mention that the negative and adverse reactions to the cannabis were experienced mostly in “inexperienced users after large doses of smoked or oral marijuana” (Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr. 1999). Another popular threat used by anti-drug activist is that marijuana causes brain damage. They base this threat on a previous study that was done by the Nixon administration when it began its war on drugs. However, this new study states that “Early studies purporting to show structural changes in the brains of heavy marijuana users have not been replicated with more sophisticated techniques” (Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr. 1999). The “gateway” theory is also a popular claim made against marijuana. The “gateway” theory claims that if a person begins using marijuana than they are almost guaranteed to move on to other, harsher drugs. Again this study disagrees, saying that “It does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse; that is, care must be taken not to attribute cause to association” (Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr. 1999).

Therefore from all of these studies it can be concluded that the positive effects of marijuana significantly out number and out weigh the negative. I admit to having personal experience with cannabis, and I can also to attest to the positive and negative effects of cannabis. When I was under the influence of marijuana I experienced most of the positive and negative effects. I felt very at ease, but at the same time quite paranoid. I never attempted to work while intoxicated, however I believe that my inability to perform tasks of any sort would be decided by how heavily I had smoked. If I had smoked heavily than my ability would be severely limited, but if I had only done some casual smoking I would have been able to perform simple tasks at least. Overall, each time I was under the influence I strongly believed that the positive effects out weighed the negative, and looking back, un-intoxicated, I still hold the same opinion.

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This article has 44 comments. Post your own now!

Dev_AdeL said...
Jan. 5, 2016 at 2:06 pm
Hey there Madison Just wanted to drop by to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. I've always known about your passion to write but I never really thought about it too much as in trying to find your writings and such. But I stumbled upon a link that directed me here from YouTube and I'm glad about it. Love...well, I can relate to some of the things you've expressed but I also just want to share what I've experienced and what I believe about love now. I don't think i... (more »)
Bella said...
Sept. 25, 2015 at 8:30 am
This is a wonderful book it teaches a wonderful lesson
ophelia_666 said...
Jun. 5, 2015 at 12:57 pm
i smoke and it helps me a lot to be honest. helps my depression and anxiety, also helps me want to eat.. i have an eating disorder xc
dimpy said...
May 12, 2015 at 5:31 am
Such an amazing . I would really like to thnk the autor for this . As he/she made my work so important
Proud aunty replied...
Jun. 23, 2015 at 9:14 pm
I was hooked from the beginning and have a soft spot for historical fiction. Part story, part journal, part love letter to his family? Only the author knows. And I am hella proud to be his aunt❤️
Maria replied...
Jun. 29, 2015 at 4:49 pm
Great article! Keep helping the community and be the change you want to see in the world
Peggy said...
May 4, 2015 at 7:06 am
you are amazing, such talent, such inspiration
rasta love said...
May 4, 2015 at 6:38 am
i am cannabis user, and i can control everything when i use it. i am a college student and im criminology actually. everytime i smoke i feel so high and i feel so great because when im in my house im cleaning everything i see dirty
Alvin1435 said...
Apr. 13, 2015 at 9:22 am
I work 5 days a week 42hrs a week at a restaurant i interact with people taking orders make food and i smoke before i work and on regular smoke brakes i perform all my task just fine and im never paranoid my place of work is only 500 feet from the police station and they come in its not legal in Tennessee
Lee Banks said...
Feb. 2, 2015 at 9:23 am
I think this article was well imformed and provided good imformation.
derpypotato said...
Jan. 30, 2015 at 11:15 am
extremely well written and i love this topic and yes i agree there are other things like it strengthens your lungs and kind of cleans them as well. it also helps with depression and many ppl find that it helps with paranoia (btw i know my spelling may be wrong on some of these). but i find from my own experiences that it helps with my depression and mood swings.
Good replied...
Feb. 20, 2015 at 9:06 am
You have told 100% true…
Good replied...
Feb. 20, 2015 at 9:06 am
You have told 100% true…
dtytyrtyrtyryrty said...
Nov. 25, 2014 at 11:25 am
you r not correct there are many other things that r beneficial to lungs
Hasan said...
May 26, 2014 at 11:58 am
Wow! Well written, lethargic feeling and Hunger increases definately! I am a regular Smoker now, When i smoked it the first time i decided of never smoking it again. lol. Because i didn't heard the trance.
One more magic u can try by smoking it at the night time and keeping all lights off, using only phones flashlight (blinking light many times in a second mode). It will be the ultimat... (more »)
claire22798 said...
May 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm
This is amazing. I was diagnosed with depression three years ago, and I am on a large dosage of two anti-depressants. I've smoked for a long while but I recently started smoking regularly, and it has helped more than my pills have. 
Bad_at_Usernames replied...
May 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm
First you should ensure that nothing in the marijuana affects your depression medicine. Also, anything that goes in your lungs other than oxygen is bad for you, i recomend edibles  
Kitty said...
Mar. 20, 2014 at 11:33 pm
This was really well written.... Wow.... You were really fair to both sides, and I just want to say good job, I guess ^_^
Punkin yep-yep said...
Jan. 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm
Ok let's start with the fact that ALL of you have automatically associated marijuana and how it's used to be smoked! That is right there WRONG! It can be in pill a pill form called marinol of use in food as well as smoked depending on health conditions of the person and how it needs to be used. Second thing is the fact that it's always been told to us that it's bad, look I'm just using this as a example but if a DR. Found out apples cured cancer there would be no problem but what if it was the f... (more »)
ecorrigan replied...
Apr. 8, 2014 at 4:23 am
I think you have a really good point there .... and I'm allergic to penicillin but definitely not allergic to marijuana thank god hahaha!! Like anything else it shouldn't be abused but definitely shouldn't be illegal .... Like if you looked at the ositive and negative effects of alcohol I gaurentee there would be more negatives yet that's still legal and people abuse it so often!! One of the main reason cannabis was made illegal in the first place was because the hemp industry wa... (more »)
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