Essay Preview: Marijuana Use
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Marijuana (also called pot or grass) is derived from the hemp plant (Cannibas Sativa), from which hashish is also derived. Hashish consists of the concentrated resin produced by the flowering tops of the plants. Technically, marijuana and hashish are classified as cannibols or cannabinoids. Marijuana is reportedly the most widely used illegal drug in the United States, with 10 million users (Frohberg & Herting, 1999).
Although usually classified as a hallucinogen, its effects are different from other hallucinogens are vary greatly across users. Weil and Rosen (1983) report that novice users users often perceive things as funny, with sensory experiences becoming novel, interesting, and absorbing; experienced users, however, report that pot makes them feel “relaxed or more sociable without greatly affecting their perceptions or moods” (p. 116). Although there continues to be debate on the issue, marijuana appears to affect cognitive operations affecting motor control, memory, and judgment. Weil and Rosen report that smoking marijuana may have entered the USA through Mexico after World War I, brought by Mexican migrant workers, and adopted thereafter by Blacks in Southern cities, with many early users being musicians. Its use then spread to other groups, and it became an important component of the youth movement in the 1960s.
Marijuana continues to be a widely used drug, and has become a particular target of employers who blame it for a role in workplace injuries, reduced productivity, and bad morale. Essentially all of the organized efforts to legalize the recreational (nonvocational) use of marijuana have protested both pre- and post-employment drug testing for evidence of its use. However, such efforts generally fall short of advocating its use on the job.