Cannabis, also known as marijuana, ganja, hemp, hash, or just plain weed, is not just the harmless relaxing drug that the public likes to think it is. Regular or even infrequent marijuana smokers can suffer from a list of both long and short term health problems, many social issues and legal consequences; not to mention the bad effects it has on your body while “high.” There is a substance in the cannabis plant called THC which is what affects your brain when smoking weed, and is the main chemical in marijuana. Since marijuana has not only THC but also CBD it cannot be classified as just a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen, however, THC is the main ingredient so it leans more toward a hallucinogen. Smoking marijuana regularly or even just at a party every now and then is not only wrong and illegal, but also dangerous to one’s body, mind, and life in the long run.
Marijuana is a drug that alters one’s mind and body, which is why it is an illegal drug. While under the effects of smoking or eating marijuana, also known as being “high,” the user’s reaction time is slowed and there are many effects on imagination and perception. These things are what make it dangerous to drive a vehicle, operate machinery, and otherwise be a part of society while using marijuana. Marijuana not only affects the mind but also the body. When smoking marijuana the user’s heart rate is increased, the blood pressure is lowered, and the concentration is impaired. Also, the memory is faulty when smoking marijuana. Several studies have discovered that there are long-term effects related to marijuana smoking. These effects include psychosis, anxiety, and depression, along with some cases of stroke-though no firm connection has been made. Firm connection or not, there is still a large risk one takes when using marijuana whether or not it is regular activity.
Aside from the physical and health issues, there are multiple legal consequences that one may suffer if caught with marijuana here in the U.S. For first-offense penalties for marijuana trafficking of 100 to 999 kg, one can serve not less than 5 years and not more than 40; if death or serious injury are involved then the penalty is not less than 20 years and no more than life. For the second offense, you get not less than 20 years and not more than life, and if serious injury or death are involved it is a mandatory life sentence. The penalties for the trafficking or cultivation of marijuana can be quite steep, especially if there are other offenses to tack on to it. Possession laws are not as bad, but can be if one is in possession of so much marijuana that trafficking is obvious. The trafficking of marijuana is getting out of hand which is why the DEA is cracking down on traffickers. Marijuana drug seizures have gone from 491,831 kilograms in 1986 to 660, 969 kilograms in 2008(DEA STRIDE). Due to the rise in American use of marijuana, penalties in most states are more actively enforced and with any luck they will be able to put an end to the rampant drug use in the future.
Along with the physical and legal consequences of marijuana smoking there is also the social aspect. Heavy marijuana smoking can cause multiple mind and social related problems. Some studies have shown that heavy marijuana use can cause depression and anxiety, but also it can impair your learning ability and cause you to fall behind socially. Also it can affect your ability to remember things or learn even for days after not smoking. There are also many effects on students who smoke. Studies show that those who do smoke are less likely to graduate and more likely to get lower grades compared to those who do not smoke. Regular user’s memory and ability to organize and register information will be worse even compared to those who smoke occasionally. Marijuana smoking regularly can also significantly affect one’s work performance. Workers who tested positive for marijuana use have had 55 percent more industrial accidents and 85 percent more injuries than non smokers (about.com). Thus, marijuana smoking both heavily and occasionally can affect the student, worker, and everyday person.
In conclusion, marijuana smoking-no matter how occasional-will affect the smoker in many ways. Their intelligence, memory, and reflexes will be affected. Also they will have serious legal consequences to face if caught. Finally, their social life and status will be affected terribly as well. All of these reasons are why one should never smoke marijuana.