Marijuana: History, Effects
and Controversies

This web presentation will trace the major issues surrounding the use of marijuana, a plant that is classified as a drug. Since it is a plant, some people advocate its use for preventing or treating certain diseases. In fact, it was regularly used by some doctors in the early 20th century before it was made illegal by the U.S. government.

A lot of controversy surrounds this status of marijuana as a drug. Some feel the government was promoting a secret agenda. Others feel it was illegalized in order to protect the financial interests of certain industries. Because of all the "smoke clouds" surrounding this issue, it is difficult to wholly trust any source of information on marijuana. This is because there are two distinct sides that are extremely polarized--those who feel that marijuana is a drug and should be kept illegal and those who smoke marijuana for religious, medical or recreational purposes who feel that marijuana is simply a harmless or beneficial plant. Proponents of each side have convincing testimony that they are right and overwhelming evidence to support their claims. Recently, well-documented counter evidence is surfacing which dispells many of the negative myths surrounding marijuana. This may be due to the urgency of the debate which has caused the government to enact federal legislation prohibiting doctors to medically prescribe marijuana. But the government has also agreed to fund serious research efforts into potential health benefits of the drug.

Because opinions surrounding the use of marijuana are as strong and as polarized as opinions about abortion, people usually form their own judgments based on experience, social groups, religious outlook and other influences. This presentation will attempt to present both sides in an objective manner.
But it is very important to note the sources of information supporting each argument and bear in mind which side of the debate the source represents.

** Numbers in parentheses denote on-line sources linked to this document.
(See References)

History in the U.S.

Hemp Production

Physical and Psychological Effects

Religious Use

Health Use


The Case for Maintaining Prohibition v. The Case for Legalization