Marijuana. It gives people joy.

by T. A.

Kamala Harris said when asked about the psychoactive drug that: “Half my family is from Jamaica; are you kidding me? And I did inhale”, “It gives a lot of people joy. And we need more joy in the world”.[1]

By making such a statement, the least popular Vice President in the modern history of the US[2] decided not to see the detrimental effects drugs had on Jamaicans. She also cannot comprehend the relationship between marijuana and mental disorders. Matters such as the effects of marijuana addiction on the nervous system and the social life of users are usually completely ignored in the modern political agenda.

Thousands of scientific studies have documented that using marijuana has various detrimental lasting effects. Smoking marijuana during adolescence causes long-lasting damage in various regions of the brain. Among the affected areas are regions related to learning, memory, executive functioning, habits, and routines. Moreover, innumerable studies have shown that using marijuana starting from adolescence and continuing into adulthood causes a significant decline in IQ. At least 9 percent of frequent users of marijuana develop addiction. Furthermore, marijuana triggers and exasperates various psychological illnesses including psychosis, depression, anxiety. It is well documented that consuming marijuana by pregnant women has dangerous effects on the health of the unborn babies. Marijuana is a gateway drug: that means it fosters addictive behaviours and cognitive distortions and prepares the person to use other drugs.[3]

Despite all the scientific evidence that shows how dangerous marijuana is, many governments are promoting it and disguising its effects. Rich powerful companies and businessmen have been pushing for the legalisation and normalisation of the harmful substance, motivated by the expected substantial profit. The know-best TV presenters, journalists, politicians speak as experts on the issue, advertising marijuana the same way they advertise all the other toxic things and ideologies. They have proven time and again to be immune to change, detached from reality and unconcerned about the consequences of their acts.

[1] Itkowitz, C. (11 Feb 2019). ‘It gives a lot of people joy’: Kamala Harris and the evolution of marijuana and politics. The Washington Post.

[2] Stiles, M. & Martinez, V. (7 June 2022). What does America think of Kamala Harris? Los Angeles Times.

[3] Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. (2014). Adverse health effects of marijuana use. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(23), 2219-2227.