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Marijuana: Useful Medicine but a Recreational Danger

Posted on Apr 15, 2014

A recent study by Northwestern University demonstrated a correlation between frequent marijuana use and a poor working memory. The subjects of the study were in their early to mid-20s and began using marijuana daily around age 17, but had since stopped.

Furthermore, the study showed abnormalities in the memory-related structures in the brains of marijuana users. Researchers suggested that the earlier someone begins using marijuana, the more susceptible they are to these effects.

After Colorado and Washington passed laws allowing recreational marijuana use, this type of study might prevent other states from doing the same. Recently, Illinois became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana, but additional research may be necessary before following the lead of Colorado and Washington.

Over 30 years ago, Attorney Michael Hupy became one of the first lawyers to successfully argue that marijuana has medicinal value in a court of law. By calling in expert witnesses, Attorney Hupy proved in only three days that marijuana is misclassified as a schedule 1 drug, leading to the dismissal of all charges against his clients who were caught with 3,300 pounds of marijuana.

Under current federal law, marijuana’s schedule 1 classification indicates that it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Attorney Hupy clearly proved the first part of that statement to be false, but the second part has some truth to it.

In opposition to federal law, Illinois is allowing people with diseases such as cancer, HIV and glaucoma to receive up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days as a form of treatment.  However, marijuana’s medicinal value doesn’t entirely negate the recreational dangers it poses.

Some are afraid that recreational legalization would lead to more widespread use among adolescents and the population as a whole. As Northwestern’s study indicates, that could pose a serious threat to the neurological development of the next generation.

While it’s clear that the federal government should reclassify marijuana out of schedule 1, people should also consider the potentially dangerous effects of using the drug recreationally.