Should Marijuana (Weed) Be Legalized in Ghana?

Note :In this article, Ganja ,Weed, Marijuana, Cannabis and Indian Hemp is used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

Kwaw Kesse popularly known in Showbiz as Abodam was recently in the news for allegedly advocating for the legalization of Indian Hemp in Ghana. Even though he later came out to deny those claims saying that he was taken out of context, the fact still remains that he said 80% of Ghanaians smoke Marijuana.He is a celebrity and what celebrities say has an enormous influence on the populace especially the Youth. And as such, sayings and  purported sayings by such individuals should be treated with special attention. This article seeks to address the pros and cons of using Indian Hemp and the consequences of its legalization.

What is Indian Hemp ? 

According to Wikipedia, "Indian hemp may refer to any of various fiber bearing plants:
Apocynum cannabinum, Cannabis indica, Crotalaria juncea,Sida rhombifolia, Asclepias incarnata."

It is considered  a drug by drug commissions all over the world. It is called by many names such as Cannabis, ganja, pot, marijuana and countless other street names. In Ghana, it is popularly called "Wee" or "Taaba".  Though we do not have accurate statistics in Ghana about the usage of this drug , one can confidently assume from the look of things on our streets that not less than 5% of the Ghanaian population uses marijuana.

What is Indian Hemp made of ?

A little research on the internet will tell you that Indian Hemp (Cannabis or Marijuana) contains at least 60 chemicals called cannabinoids. It contains more than 450 different compounds.The most active components being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is believed to be the component responsible for the mind-altering effect of marijuana. In other words, it is the one responsible when you feel "high"  and "on-top-of-the-world" after smoking or utilizing marijuana.

Marijuana has many health benefits. So far, the medical use of cannabis is legal only in a number of countries, including Canada, Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and several U.S. states. But this usage is generally done under strict supervision. There is evidence supporting the use of cannabis or its derivatives in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis. It is also known that Marijuana can treat ailments such as epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, and glaucoma.Some studies has  linked the use of Marijuana to the prevention of certain cancers. Many students have also made claims of  improvement in their academic abilities after taking Marijuana.Some US states such as California has legalized Marijuana but smoking Marijuana is an offense under federal Law.

Despite all these health benefits and the feel good factor of taking Marijuana, it is still a drug that should not be legalized in Ghana. Why ? Because marijuana is equally the cause of many serious but avoidable diseases that we witness in this country and beyond.How is marijuana harmful? There are many ways that
marijuana can harm the body, both the immediate effect and long term effects. It often disables the users short-term memory and may cause trouble with challenging tasks. Even very simple tasks can become a
struggle for someone who is high. A student that is under the influence of marijuana may find it hard to learn or concentrate. A persons timing and coordination are normally delayed by marijuana. As a result the person will be very confused and useless.  Smoking marijuana will reduce the strength and speed of communications between the mind and body. This occurs in the brain and muscles, causing the user to not be as focused. Short- term marijuana use leads to a drowsiness and relaxing effect. This is why marijuana users have trouble remembering things. A heavy dose of marijuana can decrease the amount of blood pumped into the brain.Marijuana also irritates lung tissue. The long-term effect of smoking marijuana regularly is close to the effects of a tobacco cigarette smoker. Though the amount of tobacco consumed by the cigarette smoker is a lot higher than the amount of marijuana a chronic smoker will inhale, the harmful ingredients in marijuana are a lot higher than the amount in tobacco, causing a similar effect on the lungs. Marijuana smoke in the lungs will kill cilia which is responsible for cleaning mucous, dirt and other particles out of the lungs.
During the time when the user is high they will have an increased heart rate up to 50% above normal. The amount the heart rate increases depends on the amount of marijuana that was smoked. This will make exercise and other activities seem a lot harder. The effect could be extremely dangerous for a person with a congestive heart or with an irregular heartbeat. A chronic smoker will have a decreased heart rate, often below normal. 

The use of Marijuana also cause many social ills.Most of the users in this country are mostly involved in criminal and other heinous activities.Personally, at the place I grew up (Aboabo) in Kumasi, fighting with machetes and guns used to be the other of day. And most of those involved were mostly weed smokers. They could go on rampage and rob anybody who passes around that area at around 10.00pm going. I have had many friends who turned weed smokers and their lives changed accordingly. Just recently in the News, a man killed and severed off the head of his uncle at their farm. Police investigations revealed that the man is heavy user of Marijuana and that he was mentally unstable. Many of the mad people we see on our streets became mad due to the abuse of this drug.Conversing with a lot of Ganja men, I have received  warnings from them to keep quiet or  "receive some slaps".

 Marijuana is very harmful yet very widespread. It is an illegal drug that can harm almost every vital part of your body. It can make your memory vanish and cause your heart rate to slow. You could develop lung cancer or a dangerously low blood pressure. This drug isn't deadly, but close to it. It causes Ghanaians everyday suffering just for those few minutes or hours of a good feeling. Is it worth legalizing it?

As if by Coincidence, whiles typing this article, an area guy just walked in to ask me if I have Shatta Wale songs for him to load on to his phone. I could smell Ganja all over him with his "Red eyes" . Now, my head is aching me. Maybe I'm getting "High" . Let me enjoy the moment and tell you the experience later.
 *******************************************************************************

Much contribution from :
Mr Steven Zando ( Bsc Chemistry Student of KNUST)

For the Excellent Effects of Marijuana presented in this article, Credit goes to:
 "The Effects of Marijuana." 123HelpMe.com. 12 Jun 2015.
 http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=40478

Comments

  1. I think the most serious effect of legalizing such a substance is that kids and teens who would have been dissuaded or prohibited from using it would now have the license to "experiment" all they want. Also the most ingenious marijuana users are actually not the smokers..no,its rather those who mix into cocktails as part of their food or drinks and introduce it to others who would otherwise have rejected the drug...esp sex offenders. But let me play the devil's advocate - currently the trade (illegal) in marijuana is big business. If it were to be legalized,the country could possible rake in profits 'cause Ghana is one strategically place trade route and producer of Indian hemp.
    With the legalization too,Government could keep better tabs on heavy users if the trade is well controlled. And last but not least,legalizing this substance would serve to reduce the stigma suffered by the addicts and would help them seek medical attention more comfortably.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for an interesting comment ...sure, it will be big business, haha

      Delete

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