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!

Mahadev said...
Jan. 22, 2014 at 11:17 am
I Quit smoking few months ago, and i know it is very hard for you to believe this if you still smoke cigarettes. Yes, it was very hard for me too or i must say almost impossible to quit smoking until I found how easy it was to stop smoking.  Officially I used to smoked cigarette after I smoke weed and after a while i became habitual to it. I frequently started smoking 10/20 cigarette per day with or without 
I was worried, i knew about the effects and side... (more »)
derpy? replied...
Jan. 28, 2014 at 10:26 am
well, i think its a good thing you wquit. my friendws parrents wont quit cause they love something about it. idk what but htey said not the nicotine...
Heki replied...
May 8, 2014 at 9:38 pm
Well done, I know what your talking about . Its much easier to quit smoking cigarettes by smoking just marijuana :). I understand  that only in that way you are able to relize you quited a thing , one week after doing it. Applause for you.
DongKush420 said...
Nov. 15, 2013 at 5:52 am
i salute the one who wrote this article , you've just show the fairness about the bad and the good effect of weed ..   
puresoul009 said...
Nov. 4, 2013 at 7:12 am
To me it is not true that marijuana is a gateway of drugs. I used to take many type of drug now I have nothing more than marijuana. I like to tell you that every drugs is used as a medicine. Also alchole also useable as medicine. But when you take any of them out of limit it may harmfull.
Some one let me know that why people used to take weekend, they can work through all the days in a week. People want to come out from there daily pressure just for 2 days. So why not we make it 3 hours fo... (more »)
puresoul009 said...
Nov. 4, 2013 at 6:56 am
I used to take marijuana from last 4 years. I take it a lots in my first but now a day I have reduce it to 20% mean 80% of cut off. I do many of other type of drugs and smoke also. Marijuana case some bad effects like weight loss, darkening skin, etc. but it is fur better than other drugs. With this I feel I am more closer to Good. About concetration I used to play NFS, badminton, and other game after taking marijuana. I like to draw images and listening music after taking that. I can feel all t... (more »)
Ghabbit said...
Oct. 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm
Keep on preaching! I find it hard to beleave there are still people out there denying such an obviouse truth.. All these parents out there saying its bad becase they dont want there kids to smoke, I bet if there kids had a serious illness (life threatening seizures, cancer, ect.) they would be going to a dispensary all the time for a CBD tincture (Which is not smokable and dosn't even get you high). I "highly" doubt any parent can argue with me there!!! Parent... (more »)
Benjul said...
Oct. 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm
I used to be a really heavy drinker. Every day for the past 16 years. I stopped 3 months ago. I started smoking marijuana actively after that. I also smoke cigarettes. I smoke marijuana almost every day and find that I don't need to use my asthma inhaler as much as I used to. I also stay at home when I know that I am going to smoke it as I am sometimes a bit loud and talkative. I really don't like driving either as I sometimes do lose concentration or I would probably concentrate on some... (more »)
RonnieAguilar69 said...
Oct. 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Although marijuana has had effect badly on the world, I believe it should be legal actually. It's not a real big harm like the cigarettes, they possibly can be equivalent and they actually help you more than they kill you.
Maddy said...
Sept. 3, 2013 at 9:05 am
Hi I am the active user (Thrice a week ). and I feel very happy and forget my worries when intoxicated. The main problem sometime I have is While driving ma car . While driving it feels like I am accelerating and still everything is slow . It makes me slow when intoxicated . Anyways,Lets put its harmful effect in the back and carry on Guys . Its the Wonderful thing
Botanistbob said...
Jul. 24, 2013 at 8:14 am
Hi there, Interesting read and well written :) As a person who suffers from depression, anxiety, sleep disorder and a very low sel-esteem, I have found this "drug" to be only but helpful to me. My friends and those aware of my smoking have told me not to stop because I can be unbearable and suck the life out of everything. I got straight A's for my university assignments (which I did under the influence of MJ). I can sleep easily, put my mind to a happy place when sinking into ... (more »)
Natalie replied...
May 13, 2014 at 4:38 pm
What type of MJ were you using? Sativa or Indica?
yo its gem said...
May 31, 2013 at 12:57 am
hi i am a 15 year old girl and i dont smoke but marijuana is a substance which in some ways can help u with cancer and if i had to make a choice i would choose to take marijuana iof it helps give me a chance to survive such things. smaokong is addictive i know that from my family almost every adult i know smoke and it disgustsme but everyone has to have ur own opinion right so i think everyone dhould stop arguing and just accept different opinions  
Deny replied...
Aug. 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm
I will only agree with you if the person who has the opinion (for the sake of an argument - to smoke) knows all pros and cons of it. For I believe majority of users are ignorant to the adverse effects rolled joint of cannabis has on the respiratory system. Just for example, here is a study done to compare tobacco and marijuana. It proves to have more of an adverse effect to smoke a joint compared to tobacco cigarette (a fact that is misunderstood by many). when the users would be fully educated ... (more »)
Chris said...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 11:58 am
First of all, if you - as a mother - are telling your son to discount valid scientific research, to place his knowledge in the hands of stigma and belief, then I have no idea how he's ever going to develop as a rational human being. Second, what you said just works against you. Alcoholics have an addictive personality - PARTLY TRUE. There are other ways people become alcoholics. Physical dependence on alcohol does not generalise that statement. There is a reason why alcoholics are not addict... (more »)
franklin7 said...
Mar. 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm
Lady, calm down! It's because of crazy hitlers like you that marijuana is illegal still. If you don't want your son to smoke weed lecure him that is it a bad choice. I am an adult and can make the decision that smoking weed every now and again is fun and enjoyable. Oh and weed is not addictive. People should stop being so nosey because who cares if people smoke weed? Does it hurt me if my friend smokes weed? no.. As long as you can be responsible and use it recreationally then there is n... (more »)
AlmondAbyss said...
Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm
The problem with your theory is the fact that many kids smoke pot because it is illegal and they are told not to do it. If you make alcohol illegal it will just cause an uprise in crime and death. Just look at what happened in the prohibition era. SMoking to many people is one of lifes little pleasures. To some its like smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer or even eating fast food. Marijuana is something people do so that they can enjoy there life the way they want to and die happy. It is nobody... (more »)
awesome1981 said...
Jan. 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm
I am disturbed by this article. My first issue is that "forgetting your cares and worries" is in the list of positive effects of marijuana. Forgetting about your cares and worries is one of the biggest negative effects. You lose interest in things that are important to you and you also forget about people nd things that are important to you. Deinitely a negative effect.  My next issue is your list of medical conditions that marijuana can improve. Asthma and Alcoholism?? Really??... (more »)
Below Stupid replied...
Feb. 26, 2013 at 6:31 pm
How many people smoke pot before drinking alcohol?  I bet not many.  So why not just make alcohol consumption illegal?  That would sure stem the number of marijuana users.  Alcohol is the first drug most people try.  It makes much more sense to close gateways are early as possible.  Right?
MJ isn't bad replied...
Mar. 10, 2013 at 8:45 pm
How is forgeting your worries a bad thing? And why not have a 14 year old read this article. he might learn something as well as you.. i use the stuff and i function just fine. I have straight A's and goto a high up advanced learning school. and alchol kills your liver fast and MJ IS NOT addictive and doesn't but they still give near the same effect.. so how are you to say weed is just as bad..? Gateway drug..tell that joke again.. my brother has been smoking weed for thirty years since ... (more »)
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