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Should cannabis be legalised?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Should cannabis be legalised? For the past year cannabis (marijuana, blow, dope) has frequently been in the news headlines in the UK, and it was recently announced that the legal status of the drug is to be reviewed. This may come as welcome news to the many people who use the drug either for medicinal or recreational reasons. Cannabis can be smoked, usually with tobacco, eaten, drunk in a 'tea' or snorted as a snuff. Cannabis contains more than 400 chemicals, including 'cannabidiolic acid' - an antibiotic with similar properties to penicillin. However, the main psychoactive ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. To simplify a very long and complicated story, THC mimics the actions of receptors in the brain called 'neurotransmitters' and interferes with normal functions. The cannabis smoke is inhaled into the lungs, where the THC is filtered into the bloodstream. Chemicals called cannabinoids block certain electrical signals inside the brain, interfering with the short term memory and co-ordination. Sounds may become distorted or hearing heightened. Pressure inside the eye decreases, causing the eyes to redden and the eyelids to become puffy. The air passage to the lungs expands and the mouth stops producing saliva, leaving a dry mouth. Cannabis increases the cardiovascular action of the heart. Blood pressure is altered and the pulse rate quickens. The User also experiences an increase in appetite. Molecules called endo-cannabinoids bind with certain receptors in the brain, making the user feel hungry. Although cannabis isn't an aphrodisiac, many users report heightened sensitivity and increased sex drive. The effects of cannabis generally last for up to four hours depending on the amount used, and the body resumes normal service after that. There is no 'hangover' as with alcohol, instead users describe the feeling as being 'woolly-headed'. Origin of the species The drug itself is derived from Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica, a plant related to nettles and hops that grow wild in many parts of the world. ...read more.

Middle

Cannabis is at the moment being sold on the black market and minors can just as easily get hold of it as adults and in many cases minors are selling it, if the drug was legalised there would be restriction put on the sale of it so minors could not easily access the drug. My local labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, also sent me a letter in return; he gave me the address of the website which would give me the information I need. I went on to this website and it gave me lots of information about drugs but nothing on the opinions of his party and that's what I wanted to know. This letter was not incredibly helpful. The government have recently launched a new approach to drug awareness called 'FRANK'. Whilst gathering information for my coursework I was given the latest issue of the CCNewz, which contained an open letter to frank taken from the UKCIA (pro-cannabis campaigners) website, although UKCIA was very welcoming to the move away from the 'just say no' approach to drugs, and in general, the advice given by frank to young people is good, some of the information about cannabis is just wrong. "Frank says: "cannabis is not something that dealers mix anything with, but some unsuspected people have been known to buy blocks of mud, stock cubes and garden herbs from people pretending to be dealers". Wrong. So-called 'soap bar' is well known for being contaminated with all sorts of nasty stuff. It would have been more honest had you warned of the dangers caused *directly by the law* unregulated market here, but you fail to do so. You do say of alcohol that "because it's legal and sold only in licensed premises, most alcohol is unadulterated by anything very nasty". Which is true, so why not warn of the dangers of the unlicensed, unregulated cannabis market? ...read more.

Conclusion

In my investigation I have found that a lot of people in our country our uninformed about cannabis and many people think it's far more or far less dangerous than it actually is. Young people are still being misinformed about cannabis. I think the best thing to do is to tell youngsters the truth, rather than dress it up to look worse than it actually is, but still discourage it. I also found that the majority of the British public support the legalisation of cannabis, where there are still people that do not, could these people be misinformed, or are they just a lot more sensible than the rest of the public. In my opinion, legalising cannabis would be very beneficial as far as medicinal use is concerned. Legalisation for recreational use would have good and bad effects, it would be good as the supply coming to the UK would be pure and not cut with anything nasty, but it would be bad as smoking cannabis does make people increasingly lazy and we might just turn into a load of pot smoking slobs. But this has not been the case with countries who have taken the step to legalise the drug already. But I think the most the most important point to make is that the public should be able to decide whether or not they smoke it, if smoking cannabis makes a person happy then the law shouldn't get in their way. But people who do want to smoke it should respect the people who don't, by not smoking around them. This is why there should be designated areas for smoking weed such as, coffee shops, certain bars, clubs and in your own home. Hopefully if the government decide to legalise cannabis they do it soon, because in the meantime innocent people are being punished for easing their pain and just having a good time. by Gabrielle Glover. ...read more.

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