Legalise Cannabis? An insight into terrible side-effects of marijuana
A debate has been ongoing in many developed Western countries for some time now about whether or not cannabis should be legalised. In the U.S., some states tolerate marijuana while other areas require cities to have a medical card to prove they need cannabis for health reasons. This system is widely abused, however.
In the UK, the drug was downgraded by the former Labour government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown from a class B substance to the less severe class C substance. These changes were then reversed in part by the current Conservative administration.
In other parts of Europe, such as Holland, cannabis is legal and can be smoked openly in cafes situated prominently in the capital Amsterdam.
It is not for me to go into the politics behind cannabis legalisation or indeed any of the myriad scientific studies that have been published on the issue. Now will I say whether the plant should or should not be made legal - the issue is simply too complex and I feel that there is no black or white argument. I will however, give some my own personal experience of the drug and describe the effects that it has had on the lives of family members and friends.
Like many people I first came across the drug in the middle of my teenage years when I was around 15 years old. There were whisperings that some people at school an indeed my own social circle were smoking weed, as it is commonly known in street parlance.
Over the next couple of years my close group of seven of eight friends became gradually consumed by the drug. At was at this point that I decided that I didn't want to be around drug users and made the choice that it would be best for me to break away from them. As far as I know, they are all still using cannabis on a recreational basis as they did ten years ago.
Now, it is interesting to observe that the two people within that group, one of whom I would have considered to have been the most intelligent and the other the most creative, were both heavy cannabis smokers. Furthermore, these two have not gone as far in life as their potential would have suggested. One didn't go to university and worked in an entry-level retail position while the other went into a junior-level office position.
Other members of the group suffered from paranoia and had run-ins with the police. In short, they didn't have the kind of early start to adult life that their safe and secure middle-class upbringings would have implied.
In another situation, a family member of mine began experimenting with cannabis when they were in their middle-teenage years. After this they became firmly addicted and suffered health problems, relationship issues with other family members, mental side-effects such as paranoia, and they also had many run-ins with the local police and the courts system. They didn't go to college and din't get a career or job like many of their peers would have been doing.
I have also had friends in my wider social circle who were promising athletes. Two of these would have had the ability to become professional skateboarders of the standard of Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Bam Margera and the like. But they all became regular users of marijuana.
Call it what you will: skunk, weed, hash, green Mary Jane. In short, my experience of cannabis has been overwhelmingly negative. People's potential has been obliterated by smoking the drug and their lives have been blighted by the effect of it. And in all these years despite the stories of people using the herbal drug to manage health problems, not once have I met somebody whose life has benefit from smoking marijuana.
Perhaps you're reading this and you're a regular cannabis user. You might argue that you're life has been fine while smoking the drug. But how do you know it has not been limited? How do you know that you wouldn't have reached far greater heights if you hadn't been taking cannabis? You don't. It's my argument having seen the effects it has on very talented people that you would have achieved much more.
Or perhaps you're reading this and you are very successful. Your argument is that you can smoke cannabis and still excel. That's good for you. You already had the raw talent there to begin with, and it wasn't created by a few green pieces of plant rolled up and burned. So please, you're case is personal to you and it should not be used as an example that could encourage others to use marijuana. In short, don't go promoting skunk, as it's known, because that's a dangerous thing to do.
If you're reading this and you're considering using the drug, think deeply about what I've said and some of the effects that this plant can have on people's lives. Read more about the issue, seek advice from friends, family, doctors and more. You're more than likely to conclude that you're life can be fulfilled and it is beautiful as it is.