The Argument to Legalize Marijuana is Filled with Medical Uses, But Does Marijuana Cause Illness?
Marijuana is legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia, but this is largely for medicinal purposes. However, 13 of these states are currently allowing users to smoke marijuana for recreational purposes. On January 1, recreational marijuana was legalized in California, and the same thing will occur in Massachusetts in July.
Some states have had laws such as these on their books for some time. One example is Maine where voters agreed to the legalization of marijuana in 2016. This seems to have been a bit premature because the state still has not written the rules that would govern those who wish to grow and sell marijuana. The state has not even accepted any licenses from prospective growers and sellers. The legislature tried to pass a framework for selling marijuana, but Governor LePage vetoed the bill.
Most states that are allowing legal use of marijuana are only permitting people to use it to treat a medical condition, and the medical conditions that may be treated with cannabis are different for every state. Residents of West Virginia and Louisiana can only ingest marijuana if it is contained within oil or a pill. In other states, a person must be suffering from a short list of rare diseases before he can possess marijuana.
Several states may not have legalized marijuana, but they have decriminalized the possession of this substance as long as it is in small doses.
The Negatives of Legalization
The legalization of marijuana does have some benefits, but there are also some negatives that need to be considered. The most important is whether or not marijuana cause illness, and research shows that it does. We have all heard that cigarettes cause lung cancer, but the same can be said of marijuana. Marijuana also contains carcinogens, but receiving those carcinogens in marijuana smoke is deadlier than obtaining them through cigarette smoke.
When a person inhales marijuana, he inhales much more deeply than he does when he is smoking a cigarette. This deep inhaling causes the smoke and its carcinogens to remain within the lungs for a much longer period of time, and during this time, the carcinogens have a greater chance of damaging the lungs. In addition to that, there are twice as many carcinogens in a single inhalation of marijuana than there are in the same amount of cigarette smoke.
The heart does not fare well when people are smoking marijuana either. Smoking marijuana leads to heart palpitations, heart attack and arrhythmia. That is because when someone smokes marijuana, his normal 20 percent heart rate increases to a 100 percent heart rate. If the person smoking is elderly or already has a heart condition, smoking marijuana increases the chances that she will damage her heart even more.
The brain also suffers from deleterious effects from smoking marijuana. We have all heard jokes about the fact that marijuana smokers have horrible memories in the movies, and this is the reality for a lot of people. The brain’s blood vessels are also touched negatively by marijuana. It actually restricts the amount of blood that can flow through the brain’s vessels, and this effect can be present for one month after the person stops smoking marijuana.
A Real Life Example
In case the above has not moved you, there is a real life example that may help convince you that marijuana cause illness. San Diego native Chalfonte LeNee Queen recently discovered that the reason for a mysterious illness that she has been suffering from for years may have been caused by marijuana.
Chalfonte would suffer from severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting spells. When these attacks presented themselves, it would take several days for her to be able to get out of bed. The situation was so bad that Chalfonte wished that she was dead. She often cried out for her mother because she was unaware at these times that her mother had passed away.
In the past 20 years, Chalfonte visited the hospital three times a year, but she never received a diagnosis for her ailment. By the time the year 2016 came around, she was certain that she was dying of cancer. Finally, she received a diagnosis, and it was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.
A very narrow segment of the population suffers from this syndrome, and they are those who smoke marijuana several times each day. It can affect people who smoke this much marijuana after several decades have passed, but others can come down with the malady after smoking for several years. Some have even been diagnosed with the disorder after smoking for several months.
This syndrome doesn’t have a treatment. All physicians can do is advise their patients to stop smoking marijuana, but this isn’t always easy to do. It turns out that the legalization of marijuana may not be such a good thing after all.
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About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.