Is marijuana harmless?

A picture of packed marijuana in a carton box ready to be sold

Facts on marijuana


Marijuana or as others call it mariwana, pot, weed, grass is made from the leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant, rolled in thin paper, and smoked.

Many claim that marijuana smoking is harmless. But that is what was once said about cigarette smoking. Now we know that cigarettes are killers.

Marijuana is classified as a ‘mild’ hallucinogen (a mind-affecting drug). It can cause a form of intoxication.

And that is exactly why most people smoke it. They want to get ‘high,’ to ‘feel good.’

The very fact that a person feels ‘high’ shows his mind is being affected.

At first, smoking marijuana may not produce any pronounced effect. This often encourages persons to continue.

They feel that the harmful effects have been exaggerated. But continued use can result in accumulated effects.

Additional use may tip the balance toward marijuana intoxication. Stronger quality marijuana does it faster.

Marijuana intoxication includes some loss of coordination of the body. The pulse rate increases. There may be an abnormal lowering of body temperature.

There is inflammation of the mucous membranes and bronchial tubes. When larger or stronger doses are used, vivid hallucinations can occur.

In tests of automobile drivers under the influence of marijuana many distortions were recorded. Some thought they were on a roller coaster. But the road was flat.

One driver thought he was upside down. He also said that there seemed to be a pillow between his foot and the brake pedal. Some drivers said they had driven for a half hour.

The actual time was only about three minutes. Their judgment was impaired no matter what they thought.

David Archibald, of the Addiction Research Foundation, once said:

There is no doubt about it that if 100 people use marijuana, some will suffer harmful effects. A certain proportion will get into fairly serious trouble as a result of using this drug . . . . If they are emotionally upset, marijuana will accentuate the inclination that the user has to depression and may produce depression. If an individual has a tendency to be manic [mad], marijuana may accentuate this tendency and produce a manic reaction.”

Leads to hard drugs


A marijuana smoker will find it much easier to take ‘hard’ drugs than the nonsmoker. He comes into a circle of associates who use drugs and who are exposed to drug sellers.

Through this association he is often influenced to experiment with stronger drugs.

In the past few years, what was once smoked by thousands in the world has become a practice of millions who use or have tried it.

And the relatively few who took stronger drugs have become several million. The history of most users of strong drugs shows that they began by smoking marijuana.

During a school discussion, a young student said to a former ‘hard’ drug addict:

We feel we can stay with marijuana. We feel we don’t have to go on to the hard stuff. What do you say to that?” 

The ex-addict, a seventeen-year-old and one of twelve ex-addicts on the program, replied: “But that’s what we all thought.

All of us. And you know what happened? We all got hooked, that’s what. We could stop. But we didn't. And you won’t, so don’t you start!”

Effects strong drug use


Stronger drugs include LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), narcotics such as heroin, chemical stimulants known as amphetamines, and relaxing agents known as barbiturates. New varieties appear each year.

A pinpoint of LSD will take a person on a hallucinatory ‘trip’ that may last eight to sixteen hours.

There is distortion of time, depth, vision, color and sound. The ability to make sensible judgments is severely impaired. Days, or even months, after the last dose hallucinations can occur.

An overweight man on LSD took a knife and began slicing fat from his body. He bled to death. Another man stabbed his mother-in-law 105 times.

 Later he did not remember that he had committed this murder. Others have been committed to mental institutions.

A two-and-a-half-year-old boy accidentally took one of his mother’s LSD tablets. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Many have injured themselves and others in various ways.

Heroin, derived from opium, is one of the most addictive and destructive of drugs. Its use gives one a ‘high,’ a carefree self-confidence, a feeling of well-being.

But as use continues, more and more is needed to reach that point. True physical addiction sets in.

The heroin addict is often undernourished because he does not feel hungry.

He may pay so much for his drug that he cannot afford decent food. Indeed, he usually has to steal to support his expensive habit. In his undernourished state he is likely to contract infection.

Also, using unsterilized injection techniques, he may get hepatitis, fatal blood poisoning, and abscesses of the liver, brain and lungs.

One addict admitted: “Our life is such that jail is a place to get healthy.”

Heroin users live under the constant threat of death from an overdose or from regular use.

In fact, some cities reports that heroin addiction now is by far the leading cause of death between the ages of fourteen and thirty-five.

A well-meaning, but naive, girl asked a former drug addict: “But didn't your drug experience expand some of your consciousness?” He answered:

You’d think I would have learned something constructive in those years—but all I can think of is tragedy.”

It is estimated that many of those treated for ‘hard’ drug addiction will eventually revert to drugs. No, there is no guarantee of a medical cure.

The truth is that physical and mental shipwreck, even death, are far more likely guarantees.

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