The word drug is a medical term that describes any substance that affects the functioning of living creatures. By this definition, many substances that are common in American households would be considered drugs such as coffee that contains caffeine, alcohol, nicotine (dominant in cigarettes) and even turkey (tryptophan). Plants and herbs have been used for medicinal purposes for millennia by the world's physicians to treat, cure, and prevent disease but most of these "natural" drugs have been replaced with synthetic pharmaceutical drugs, which are usually more effective and more profitable than herbs. The drug marijuana is a plant and consuming it causes a number of effects on the user, though the total set of effects varies from person to person. A commonly reported unpleasant side effect of marijuana is anxiety and panic. One reason marijuana causes anxiety is that it can increase the user's heart rate by 20 to 50 percent within about ten minutes of smoking it and about half an hour of eating it. This elevated heart rate in combination with a slight increase in blood pressure while the user is sitting and a slight decrease when standing. Despite this group of effects, cannabinoids are not considered toxic and there are no confirmed reports worldwide of human deaths from cannabis poisoning. The United States government and the American people are obligated to prohibit the sell and use of recreational marijuana in order to provide a safe environment for those suffering from substance abuse as well as to prevent future users and thus abusers.
Nevertheless, marijuana, like tobacco and alcohol, has the potential to cause permanent harm to children if used by their mothers during pregnancy. Although there is considerable disagreement among scientists and doctors as to the severity of the problem, there is evidence that low birth weight and physical abnormalities have occurred among babies whose mothers used the drug during pregnancy.