87 -- If marijuana is legalized in some places, what could be so wrong in using it?
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Dear Dr. Smith

If marijuana is legalized in some places for medicinal value, what could be so wrong in using it? Desperate teen who is smoking it.
Dear Desperate Teen smoking marijuana,

It is true that marijuana is legalized in some places for medicinal value. Here are the basic facts:
The US Congress in 1972, placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. They considered it to have "no accepted medical use." Since then, 16 of 50 US states and DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana.

The argument for the use of medical marijuana is:
It can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions.

The arguments against the use of marijuana are:
It lacks FDA-approval, too dangerous to use, it is addictive, other legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary, leads to harder drug use, impairs driving ability, interferes with fertility, affects the immune system, and impairs the brain.

I am not prepared to enter the debate at this time on the pros and cons of marijuana use, except to endorse the following:
1. Research shows that nearly 50% of teenagers try marijuana before they graduate from high school
2. Marijuana can be harmful in a number of ways, through immediate effects and damage to health over time.
3. Marijuana hinders the user’s short-term memory, and he or she may have trouble handling complex tasks.
4. Because of the drug’s effects on perceptions and reaction time, users could be involved in auto crashes.
5. Under the influence of marijuana, students may find it hard to study and learn.
6. Other scientists maintain that regular marijuana use can lead to chronic anxiety, personality disturbances, and depression.

You claim to be smoking marijuana now, I believe you are hurting your self. Your immediate and temporary gain of feeling “high” will only translate into long term emotional, psychological, mental, intellectual and spiritual confusion. I encourage you to desist using marijuana, because, in the long run, you will be better off.
God bless.

Dr. Smith