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MARIJUANA Marijuana is one of more than 60 leaves of the cannabis (hemp) plant. The main active ingredient of marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and the new cultivation and breeding techniques have increased the tetrahydrocannabinol content of marijuana smoked in the United States to a high of at least 10 times that of over 20 years ago. Not only are the leaves smoked, but they also can be ground into drinks and food, but are usually dried and smoked in a cigarette or pipe. Most of the people who consume this drug have no idea of the danger they are putting upon themselves, from the health hazards to the side effects and there are many of both.

The side effects last two to four hours after marijuana has been smoked and even longer when taken by mouth. Some of the effects are a faster heartbeat, bloodshot eyes, and increased appetite. The drug produces a toxic delirium when taken at extremely high doses.

These toxic delirium symptoms are confusion, disorientation, loss of coordination, agitation, and hallucinations. The symptoms do not leave until the drug passes through a person's body. Although marijuana hasn't been directly blamed for any type of cancers pre- cancerous lesions have been reported.

Another important topic is the use of marijuana amongst teenagers today. Marijuana smoking between the ages of 12 to 17 has doubled in the last 3 years. One reason is that most teenagers don't think marijuana is a dangerous drug. "Most of these teen's parents don't really know how to deal with the problem because many of today's parents once did this drug themselves," says Joseph Califano, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Califano also believes that the increase in the use of marijuana can lead to more serious drug use by teens, such as cocaine. "If we don't stem this fast we will see a rise in the use of harder drugs", says Califano.

I think that the use of marijuana is absolutely wrong in every way. Why would someone even want to harm their body with a poison? Even if that person didn't know the effects, I am more than sure they know it is illegal. Three decades ago I could almost understand. They didn't know all the dangers of the drug, but today's society does know yet some still choose to do it. There is nothing I can do. There is nothing anybody can do. No one can change how another person views things. Even if it is a fact that something is dangerous, no one can make everyone agree. That's what makes us individuals. It's true. We the people really can do anything we want to do. This is a free country. We have the right to voice our own opinion about each and everything that goes on. Some one else's opinions may not sound good to me and mine not to them, but no matter what some one's opinions are and how liberated they are. I think there is one thing everyone should do and that is care about themselves. If they don't care why will some one else?