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Essay/Term paper: Marijuana

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Alcohol and Drugs

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In this report I will show you my views on Marijuana, if it should be legal,
for medical and/or recreational purposes.

Marijuana has many names: Dope, Marihuana, Ganja, Pot Mary Jane, Cannabis
Sativa (Scientific) to name a few.

Marijuana originated in the middle east (Taiwan, Korea). China plays an
important part in Marijuana's history. Hoatho, the first chinese physician to
use Cannabis for medical purposes as a painkiller and anesthetic for surgery.
In the Ninth Century B.C., it was used as an incense by the Assyrians Herbal, a
Chinese book of medicine from the second Century B.C., was first to describe it
in print. It was used as an anesthetic 5,000 years ago in ancient china. Many
(*) ancient cultures such as the persians, Greeks, East Indians, Romans, and the
Assyrians for many things. These were what they used it for: the control of
muscle spasms, reduction of pain, and for indegestion. Imagine that if they
still practiced this, instead of taking an Alka Seltzer after you had mom's
Chili or Tacos, you might be sitting in the living room on the LAY-Z Boy,
smoking a joint or however they would take it. The folk medicine of Africa and
Asia have used it as an herbal preparation. A "mythical" and "legendary"
pharmacist and emperor Shen Nung thought using it as a seditive was all right.
In 2,700 B.C. that same "mythical" emperor said it helped female weakness, gout,
rheumatism, malaria, beri-beri (?), contipation, and absentmindedness.

In 1979 (A.D.) Carlton E. Turner visited China and found marijuana was not
in use in formal medical places. J. D. P. Graham of the Welsh National School
of Medicine wrote, "One not need take to seriously the anecdotal use of it's use
for many purposes in China or by the Hindus in the pre-Christian Millennia .
..and by the Arabs!" In 1890 in England's "Lancet" said cannabis extract was
good for neuralgia, fits, migraine and psychosomatic disorders but not for
rheumatic conditions. It is not easy to tell the dosage because of the
variations in potency and the irregularity in absorbtion. The time delay before
the onset of the possible effects of marijuana lowered it's popularity as a
medicine as did the introduction of a variety of new and better medicines like
aspirin, morpheine (habit forming), chloral, barbituates tranquilizers, and when
it got on the list of drugs thought by the world community to require legal

Our first President, George Washington, grew cannabis on his plantation.
The cannabis he grew was more fibrous and is better known as hemp. Hemp was
used to make rope, twine, paper and canvas (the word "canvas" comes from
Cannabis) and was an important crop in the american colonies. In Jamestown,
Virginia it was grown for it's fiber qualities in 1611. (Snyder, 1985) The U.S.
Pharmacopeia had it listed as a useful medicine from the year 1870 to 1941. A
Pharmacopeia is "a book of directions and requirements for the preparations of
medicines, generally published by an authority; a collection or stock of drugs."
This tells us the U.S. Pharmacopeia was an authority on the use of drugs for
medical purposes, and said that the use of marijuana for said purposes was
helpful. The U.S. Pharmacopeia last listed cannabis ("the dried flower tops of
the pistillate plants of cannabis sativa") in 1936.(Lovinge,1985,p434) That
years epitome of the pharmacopeia and the national formula described the drug
for physicians thus:"a narcotic poison, producing a mild delirium. Used in
sedative mixtures but of doubtful value. Also employed to color corn remedies."
The next pharmacopeia released in 1942 (I gather they were relaesed every six
years) did not have cannabis sativa in it. "The 1937 U.S. dispensatory
said:"Cannabis is used in medicine to relieve pain, encourage sleep, and to
soothe restlessness. We have very little definite knowledge of the effects of
therapeutic quantities, but in some persons it appears to produce a euphoria and
will often relieve migrainic headaches. One of the great hindrances to the wider
use of this drug is the great variability and the potency of different samples
of Cannabis which renders it impossible to approximate the proper dose of any
individual smaple except by clinical trial. Because of occasional unpleasant
symptoms from unusually potent preparations, physicians have generally been
overcaustious in the quantities administered. The only way of determining the
dose of an individual preparation is to give it in ascending quantities until
some effect is produced. (The Book suggested using a fluid extract - powdered
cannabis in solution, 4/5 alcohol - three times a day, starting with two or
three minims.)"(Lovinge,1985,p434)

Extracts, tinctures, and herbal packages of cannabis manufactured by many
drug companies, was available in any pharmacy until 1941 when "The two main
professional directories of drugs in the United States" dropped it.(Snnyder
1985,p38) It is still used as a medicine in the Middle East and Asia, and is
completely legal in Amsterdam. Since the 19th Century, it has been recognized
as as intoxicant in Europe, and an intoxicant for many centuries in Central and
South America, and in Asia. "An 1870 Book called "The Hasheesh Eater" by Fitz
Hugh Hudlow, discussed the intoxicating properties of
marijuana."(Snyder,1985,p39) Mexican farm workers emigrating to the United
States smoked marijuana regularly, and the surrounding population..." quickly

California and Utah were the first to call it a narcotic and outlawed it
completely except for mecial purposes. "From 1914 to 1931, 29 States, 17 of them
West of the Mississippi made it a criminal offense to possess or use
it."(Snyder,1985,p40) An army report from 1925 concerning the Panama Canal Zone
said it wasnt habit forming and no steps should be taken to keep it from being
sold or used. The Uniform States Narcotic Act said all states should control
drug distribution. "By 1937 marijuana use was restricted by law"
(Snyder,1985,p42) and the Marijuana Tax Act was signed by President Roosevelt.
This act was made to collect more taxes and locate people selling marijuana.
You had to pay $1 for medical use and $100 for recreational use as tax. This
was a large factor why doctors quit using it as a medicine. "The Narcotics Drug
Control Act of 1965 increased the existing penalties for selling and
distribution of marijuana and heroin..." (Snyder,1985,p46) The National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was founded in 1970.

Just the facts Ma'am: It is illegal to own or sell marijuana. It is a
misdemeanor not a felony. Penalties vary widely in each state, for growing and
selling it is almost always a felony. It can cause cancer in the lungs and the
throat IF smoked. "Among the reasons to suspect potentially injurious effect of
cannabis use on the lungs, pointed out it "the almost ubiquitous occurrennce of
throat discomfort and irritation associated with marihuana smoking"
(Lovinge,1985,p15)but the same carinogens are present in tobacco smoke.
Marijuana takes away the discomfort and nausea associated with chemotherapy
taken to stop the growth of cancer. It also helps people with glaucoma and it
keeps them from going blind. It doesn't lessen feelings and pain, it heightens
them. Users say they hear things better, and they see details they have never
seen before. If made legal, it could be regulated by the U.S. government (Food
and Drug Administration?) as to how potent it would be. Or there could be a
"government monopoly on it controlling the cultivation, importation, manufacture,
wholesale distribution, and retail sales. Controls could also be placed on the
quantity, potency,, amount, price, time and place of sale, and age of buyers.
This would do away with black market activity, cost of law enforcement and tax
revenue."(Snyder,1985,p89) It would also keep alot of people out of jail/prison
and save the government money.

Interview with a marijuana user.

Q: Do you think Marijuana has had any long lasting effects on you?
A: None besides the effects regular cigarrette smoke does to your lungs.
Scientific facts prove there are none except the carcinogens produced by
the smoke. It doesn't cause brain damage like your teachers tell you.

Q: How do you take it?
A: Smoke it. I use pipes, bongs, & papers.

Q: How often? A: Quarter ounce a week, 15-18 joints a month.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: $200 an ounce, $2,500 lb...and thats minimum quality.

Q: How can you tell quality?
A: Smoke it.

Q: How are "Thai Sticks"?
A: Better than average. $65 1/4 ounce

Q: Where do you think most marijuana is grown?

A: 80% of all (in US) marijuana is grown in the US. 20% from Mexico & Jamaica
In Alaska & Utah you can have up to an ouce legally. The biggest growinng
states are the Carolinas, & Texas. It grows wild in some places. And cows
wont eat it.

Q: Do you grow any?
A: Yes

Q: How many at 1 time (the most)?
A: 12...check them once a week.

Q: Are you in NORML? A: Yes, South Florida chapter. I'm the secretary.

Q: Whats the highest price you've ever seen?
A: $150 1/4 ounce.

Q: Is sinsimilia good?
A: Yes $100-125 ounce. Thats usually imported.

Q: can you use a plant more than once?
A: no. you kill the male plants as soon as you find their sex, and harvest
the females.

Q: What kind do you grow?
A: Average weed.

Q: How do you get the seeds or what you need to grow them?
A: They are in the stuff I buy.

Q: Whats the best kind?
A: Depends on how it's grown.

Q: Do you think alot of people smoke weed?
A: If it was legal & sold for the same price as tobacco (since when
does tobacco cost $200 an ounce?!?!) it would make 2.1 BILLION! Tobacco
makes 3.1 billion, and alcohol make 1.6 billion. (I have NO idea how much
1 ounce of tobacco costs, but it can't be more than $10. Marijuana sells
for 20 times that much! That would be OVER 40 BILLION!)

Q: Would it be better if legalized?
A: Yes, another taxable income for the government. Prices would go down.
The crime factor would be gone. It would take the money out of the
hands of criminal and put it in the hands of the government. It's not
addictive, you can't overdose unlike alcohol, but the smoke does cause

Q: Would less people use it if legalized?
A: no.

Q: How much is caught by the government?
A: 2% of total in U.S. Basically thats the government admitting that they
are losing the war on drugs.

Q: How does it smell?
A: Usually good, sometimes bitter. a sweet smell.

Q: THC makes you high right?
A: yes, they have found it causes no long lasting effects. Water Pipes/bongs
remove 80% of the smoke

Q: Do you eat it?
A: No, eating uses up more. That way isn't cost effective.
(end of interview)

Marijuana doesn't cause brain damage. The smoke does cause cancer, but so
does tobacco. The smoke can be reduced by up to 80% with special paraphenalia.
We used to have limited knowledge on the subject, now our knowledge is


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