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The Internet has for a long time been used as a source of information, especially in this information age. It has for example plenty of extensive information regarding drug abuse. For many people, it has become the main source of research material and also information on the issue. However, some of the information posted in various internet libraries lack credibility and reliability. Enough of the information is unsupported and draws heavily from personal opinion. The reliability of the information is also pegged on the author’s objectives as some of them are interested in furthering the course of the legalization of drugs. In this paper, I am going to draw a comparison from two internet sources where I intend to carry out a careful analysis to ascertain their validity and reliability on their discussion about marijuana drugs.
Comparison of the websites
Marijuana is a drug extract drawn from the cannabis Sativa plant. Both websites agree that marijuana presents a cocktail of effects in the human body. Some of the short term effects include: sleepiness, weakened memory, difficulty in performing brain involving tasks, marked increase in the heart rate, increased risk of cardiac failure especially for those suffering from heart diseases, redness of the eyes, dryness of the mouth, and also causes panic and anxiety in users.
Do both websites agree that marijuana contains a drug called THC which is responsible for psychotic effects among the users (What are the Effects of Marijuana Use? (2009). This is mainly concentrated in the buds and flowers of the plant. THC has a quicker effect on the brain when smoked than when ingested through eating as it travels faster through the blood to reach the brain where it causes psychosis. The effect of the drug on an individual depends on the amount of the drug taken, the type of marijuana taken, One’s health status, one’s experience with the drug, and the social setting.
According to the websites, the drug causes a host of long-term effects which include the following among others: increased risk of contracting respiratory cancer, reduced level of testosterone, and sperm count in men. They also agree to a point that the drug causes some damage to the lungs and pulmonary system as a result of the tendency of the smokers to inhale it deeper and to hold it longer in the lungs. In addition, it contains almost the same quantity of harmful carcinogens as a cigarette. Long-term use causes some form of dependency on the drug. There is an agreement between the two sites that this drug is the most widely abused in the US and that marijuana is readily available in almost every corner of the country.
The websites agree that the consumption of marijuana causes depression, anxiety, and psychological disturbances. The drug also reduces the ability of an individual to learn and store information in the memory. Prolonged consumption of the drug causes addiction to an extent as indicated by the two. Those addicted experiences withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Those who attempt to quit experience insomnia, discomfort, and anxiety to a small extent.
The former argues that psychological imbalances experienced such as anxiety, panic, and paranoia are often temporary conditions. The author also argues that marijuana can only cause short-lived psychosis rather than permanent psychosis as advanced by the latter. He also denies the fact that the drug can cause a significant change in people’s behavior.
The former also denies that smoking the drug is highly addictive. He says that only a small minority of the population uses the drug regularly and so few develop a dependency on the drug. He argues out that smokers often cease the habit without difficulty and that the withdrawal symptoms are usually mild (Myths and Facts About Marijuana, 2009). This is as opposed to the latter’s argument who says that consumption of marijuana causes heavy addiction and serious withdrawal symptoms.
As opposed to the latter, the former sees no significant increase in potency of the drug and feels that today’s marijuana is the same as the one that was smoked in the 1970s. He also argues that even if the potency increased the effect of use would be the same as before. The psychotic effect according to him would not be heightened. As opposed to the former, the latter believes that smoking marijuana causes adverse effects on the lungs and the respiratory tract. He says how it is smoked exposes the lungs to greater harm, an argument which is contended by the former who argues that marijuana smoking has minimal dangers as they smoke less than tobacco smokers. To him, smoking marijuana has no long-term effects as the latter suggests.
The latter also exposes the belief that marijuana has any useful and safe medicinal value as fronted by the former as advanced by the former who believes that the drug is effective against some medical conditions especially when smoked in raw form.
The two websites also differ sharply on the effect of the drug on concentration, memory, and educational performance. The latter supports the argument that the drug is largely to blame for the above problems (What are the Effects of Marijuana Use? 2009). However, the former sees no correlation between marijuana smoking and the above. For example on the decline of the school performance, he argues that it is the failure in school that causes the use of drugs rather than the reverse.
According to NIDA Info facts (2009), research has shown that marijuana has serious effects on the brain (NIDA Infofacts: Marijuana. 2009). They add that the drug has similar effects to other hard drugs. Learning and memory performance is impaired in the process. Daily smokers’ are thus seen to operate at less than optimal intellectual capacity as a result. This is against the argument of website which exposes the credibility of their information and also the objective of their writing. In this light, the second source seems more valid as their information seems to be supported by scientific research rather than personal opinion and advocacy objectives.
They also link the long use of marijuana to addiction and drug dependency as opposed to the website. Evidence advanced in NIDA Info facts (2009) links marijuana to several psychological disorders including increased vulnerability to schizophrenia. Increased heart rate after smoking exposes one to a higher risk of getting a heart attack.
The NIDA Infofacts article was last updated on September 22, 2009, and thus presents current data and information about marijuana. The website is owned by The National Institute of Drug Abuse and it uses research findings to prevent, treat, and formulate policy relating to drug abuse and addiction in America. With a pool of experts in the area, they give valid and credible information on drug abuse.
The website owned by Drug Rehab helps drug addicts to find rehabilitation and drug treatment centers. They give a platform where callers can make inquiries free of charge. They also address the symptoms and features of various drug-related problems. This gives their information posted on the credibility of their website as it is backed by research as evidenced by the scientific data presented on their page. This page was last updated in 2009 which gives credibility to their ideas.
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On the other side, the website whose information was updated in 2009 is owned by the DPA network. According to the network, they seek to advance policy alternatives to those that advocate for the drug war. Their objective in my opinion is pegged on the clamor for legalization of drugs rather than their alleged reduction of the harm of drugs as they claim. Most of their arguments are biased towards their course as is evident in their ideas which reduces the validity of their ideas.
The first website is more credible as their article is backed by scientific evidence as cross-referenced with findings from second website. This gives it higher validity and can therefore be relied upon as a source of reliable information on drug use.
Drug rehabs: What are the Effects of Marijuana Use? (2009). Web.
Marijuana facts: Myths and Facts about Marijuana (2009). Web.
NIDA InfoFacts: Marijuana (2009). Web.