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increase in drug alcohol vs. marijuana

Alcohol Vs. Marijuana

Alcohol and marijuana are two drugs commonly used and abused in the United States.  Alcohol is the number one abused drug, while marijuana is number one among illegal drugs.  While alcohol remains legal, and marijuana illegal, this does not necessarily mean that the alcohol is better for you.  There have been many arguments where people suggest that marijuana should be legal because alcohol is more deadly.  On the other hand, there are alcoholics who would tell a pothead that smoking weed is bad for you.  Both substances are very bad for your health and should not be heavily used by anyone.
Marijuana has an immediate effect during and for about 2 hours after smoking.  With alcohol, users feel slight effects after just one drink, and recover depending on the amount the person drank, how much they weigh, and how much they had to eat before ingesting the alcohol.  Immediate effects of use are slurred speech, decreased inhibitions, poor judgment, and lack of motor coordination.  Marijuana causes red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, slowed reaction, paranoia, hallucinations, decreased social inhibitions, and memory loss.  Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol can lead to a coma or even death.  A person would have to smoke 40,000 times the amount to get high to overdose, so it is practically impossible.  Alcohol is responsible for over 100,000 deaths per year.  Marijuana kills less than 10,000 per year.
Among the deaths caused by alcohol, drinking and driving is number one.  Not only is it number one among alcohol related deaths, it is also one of the main causes of death and injury in the United States.  Alcohol impairs judgment and vision, and causes speeding and reckless driving.  On the other hand, there has been debate over the effect of marijuana on driving.  One study by a computer software company reported that people who smoked a small amount of marijuana drove faster and with fewer collisions in a driving computer game.  Another study said that marijuana causes abnormally slow driving, proneness to distraction, and increases the time it takes to react, therefore greatly impairs your ability to drive.  
Long-term effects of alcohol are liver cirrhosis, stomach ailments, impotence, vitamin deficiency, increased stroke risk, decreased mental performance, heart disease, peptic ulcers, hepatitis, and various forms of cancer.  Alcohols effects on the brain are loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts.  Long-term effects of marijuana are mouth, throat, and lung cancer, increased heart rate, decrease in testosterone levels for men, increased testosterone levels for women, diminished sexual pleasure, increased blood pressure, increased stress, decreased motivation, and respiratory problems.  The THC in marijuana damages the nerve cells in the part of the brain where memories are formed, making it hard to remember things.
Both substances can lead to dependence, especially alcohol.  If one abuses alcohol for to long and becomes dependent, they are considered to be an alcoholic.  There has been debate on whether marijuana is addictive.  Some experts believe that since there are no obvious withdrawal symptoms, it is not considered to be an addictive drug.  Others claim that it is addictive because it takes the place of natural "feel good" chemicals in the brain, so people become physically addicted.  Alcoholism on the other hand, is considered a disease.  Ten percent of people who drink will become alcoholics.  There seems to be a genetic factor associated with alcoholism.  Biological children of alcoholics have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics themselves than a child who is adopted into a family with a history of alcoholism.  If an alcoholic abruptly stops drinking, he will go through withdrawal symptoms known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome.  The symptoms are nausea, tremors, sweating, anxiety, depression, weakness, hallucinations, and even death.
Despite the talk about alcohol abuse and alcoholism, alcohol can actually be good for you.  If one drinks in moderation (2-6 drinks per week in two or more sittings) it can lessen the chance of heart disease by thinning your blood.  There are no known health benefits associated with moderate marijuana use.  Both drugs have serious health effects when used heavily, but it seems that alcohol more detrimental to your health.
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Alcohol on Academics

Alcohol, when consumed in reason, can be fine. But when it is taken in
great quantities it can be very detrimental to a student. Heather Wilson
and Jeremy Foster wrote a perspective on drugs and alcohol in a book aimed
to warn people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Here is there
account. "During parents weekend, she, her roommate, and their parents went
to her best friend's room and found her soaked in blood and tears on the
dorm-room floor. Heather's friend had a history of depression, and the
combination of this, a bottle of Jack Daniel's Black Label, and too much
cold medicine left her ravaged and suicidal"(Kuhn 21). The girl in the
story turned out to be ok. She had tried to slit her wrists the night
before. The story went on to say that, "They found her in time to save her,
but she will always carry the scars where she cut her wrists"(Kuhn 21). In
this paper I intend to prove how alcohol is detrimental to college students.
Our brain controls everything we do. Without it we wouldn't be able to
perform the simplest of tasks It is one of if not the most important thing
we have as a person. As a college student I rely heavily on my brain to
help me with all of the assignments for my classes. But what if my brain
didn't work properly? When alcohol is inputted into the brain, it induces
many output actions such as; impaired judgment, extreme emotion, and slowed
behavior (Alcohol and its effects). Not only are the short term effects
enough to side track any academic student, but the long term effects could
have serious implications on your life. Long-term effects include damage in
cognitive behavior, difficulty in learning new material, deficits in
abstraction, problem solving, and reduced visuospatial abilities (Alcohol
and its effects). One of the long term effects listed was difficulty in
learning. Now if you start drinking in high school, like most college aged
students do, you already have a disadvantage against everyother person who
choses not to drink. Researchers have found that the brains of alcoholics
are smaller and have an increased number of brain tissue loss then a
nonalcoholic(Alcohol and its effects). This would lead someone to believe
that somebody who is the same age and does not drink would be faster and
quicker in cognitive abilities(Alcohol and its effects).
We already know about the effects alcohol can have on your brain, but what
about some of the non health related risks alcohol has that can hinder a
college students education. Well college students who drink are more likely
to have an unplanned sexual activity (Back to School and Drunk Again).
Having unsafe sex can lead to getting many dangerous diseases, a lot of
which don't have any known cure, that could lead to you having to leave
school so that you could get medical help. Also this increases the risk of
having an unplanned pregnancy. Having a child while in school could put a
damper in your scholastic plans. Some people have kids and stay in school,
but getting pregnant also leads some to drop out. There are other non
medical effects alcohol could have on your future. Engaging in alcohol
makes you more likely to damage property, injure yourself, get into trouble
with the police, have an overdose, or it could just cause you to forget your
actions (Back to School and Drunk Again). Drinking puts college students at
risk for all of the aforementioned things. Any one of those actions could
cause you to lose focus on your academics and subsequently fail out of
school.
As previously stated in the paper alcohol can have negative effects on one
of the most important parts of your body, the brain. But what some people
don't realize is that alcohol can affect many other parts of your body as
well. People with heart problems should stay away from alcohol because it
can cause a disturbance in heart rate(Effects of Alcohol on Your Body).
Alcohol can also effect your lungs, which could lead to a chronic lung
infection, your pancreas, which could casue it to become inflammed, and ... more

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