By Rev. Wambui Njoroge, M.Sc.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana or “cannabis” is a plant found in many areas of the world. It is also known as “grass” “pot,” or “weed.” Simply in Swahili Bangi. It contains mind-altering substance “THC,” as well as hundreds of other chemicals. The amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the chemical responsible for most marijuana’s psychological effects determines the effect on the user.  It acts much like the cannabinoid chemicals made naturally by the body-According to National Institute of Drug Abuse. In addition, “Marijuana is the most commonly used addictive drug after tobacco and alcohol.”  My friends do not take to heart the fact that marijuana is a plant that it is God ordained for your consumption. There are other drugs which are from plants that are harmful to the body when ingested.

The USA Case

Unfortunately, currently, in the US, the legalization of marijuana for medical use or adult recreational use in many states, is affecting the views that marijuana has harmful results. The assumption is that because it is legal, is used for medicinal use and recreation, it has economic benefits, there is nothing inherently wrong, and there is no harm in taking Bangi. Nothing can further from facts. It is sad that as goes to the US, so goes the rest of the world. Worse still, third world countries do not have inbuilt mechanisms in health care availability. Think that about 97 million people in the US who become impoverished by seeking needed medical care. Then, imagine the unavailability of resources to respond to negative effects of Bangi when it is introduced in a poor nation (see report by WHO), and information from

Kenya Politics of Marijuana – Say No to Growing Bangi

The debate to grow marijuana for sell has excited Kenya youth. Unfortunately, the presidential candidate, and the main proponent of this debate forgot to tell the youth that the latent effect of planting is that a market will inadvertently be created for smokers of Bangi. These are the youth, who are the leaders of tomorrow. They are the ones that must live with many negative sides of Bangi, and work to help drugged and addicted citizens. For their sake, say no to marijuana growing in Kenya. Baangi does have negative effects to smokers, especially the youth, and worse still adolescents who are more impressed by this new liberation.

The Harmful Effects of Marijuana

Youth smoking marijuana is harmful to the lungs, even more than tobacco. Bangi has irritants that are known to produce cancer causing chemicals.  Also, consider that smokers of marijuana tend to experience burn out. They become dull, slow moving, slow thinking, and inattentive. Researchers report that the negative consequence of this dull effect, is that it negatively impacts the intellectual cutting edge of youth smokers.  It hinders smokers from moving forward with life on a social trajectory.

Let me share an example of a Bangi smoker. The current debate reminds me of a man who used to grow and smoke Bangi. As I was growing up, there was this man who planted and smoked Bangi at Shauri Yako Village. As children returning from Sunday School, on our way home, we observed him smoking and talking to birds. He had this fascination with a special bird “Thurio.”  When we asked him why he talked to a bird, he just ignored us.  From his communication, he was talking to this bird that brought him messages from God. AT home we narrated his situation. Our parents just retorted, “ignore him he messed up his life with Bangi.”  Unfortunately, as bad as the situation was, he was able to introduce pot growing and smoking in the area. The young males liked him too, just like they are falling in love with Wajackoyah pushing this radical idea to young and impressionable minds. The last time I saw this guy, he was still talking to Thurio.

More Harmful Effects and Dependence

Marijuana smokers develop physical and psychological dependence with regular use. Even if someone is smoking or ingesting CBD oil for medicinal use.  We know by now that all medicines have a negative side effect especially with prolonged use.  Therefore, we have medical professionals who monitor med administration and offer education on the safe use of medicine. After smoking or taking this product for a long time, the body continues to crave a higher high. There has been research that purports that regular use among males’ results in lower levels of male hormone testosterone. Marijuana is not good for health, and especially in a country whose health care is ailing. Politicians should not overload issues on a system that has near zero mechanisms to respond to the negative effects of marijuana. The idea should not be celebrated. It is a terrible idea, and Prof. George Wajackoya might not be around when the harmful effects take place. The effects of economic decisions made in 2022, will be felt in 30 years, when the youth of today have adult children of their own. May God have mercy on the next generation.

Immediate Problems with Marijuana

Even taking low doses of marijuana, headache and dizziness are possible. In addition, the drug can trigger seizure with people diagnosed with epilepsy. A user may have “acute panic reaction” in which the drug’s effects are exaggerated, causing anxiety and a fear of losing control or going crazy.” Such panic symptoms often go away in a few hours when the acute drug effect has diminished. Another concern is increased heart rate as much as 50%, as has been documented. Smoking and inhaling marijuana affects mood, senses, and reaction time. Despite marijuana’s reputation as a relaxing drug, arguments and aggression may occur in some users. There are also issues with concentration, memory, and coordination which, can cause poor job or school performance. Think again, if smoking tobacco is harmful to the lungs, how much more damage can marijuana cause? Another consideration is that THC is fat soluble. This then, means that THC from marijuana is absorbed into many fats’ rich tissues and organs in the body, and builds up in vital organs such as the brain, liver, lungs, and reproductive organs. Laboratory tests have shown traces of THC in the body for up to a month after the marijuana was smoked. Or it can be traced in the hair. Well, if marijuana growing is for economic reasons, to sell to other nations, what goes around comes around. Why would any nation plan to destroy their youth and then take it to other people in other nations? Are Kenyans this selfish? Jameni ni mimi nauliza? We have learned with COVID-19 global pandemic that we have become global citizens. What is harmful in one nation have potential to find its way in the neighboring countries. This is to say that in just 24 hours, it is possible to board a Jumbo Jet, leave ATL, GA for JKIA in Kenya as a carrier of any sickness and disease. Note that after infecting other passengers, the next group of people that will be affected is the immediate family. This connectedness should make us more caring global citizens.

Of course, the argument can be advanced that, you see the USA has legalized Marijuana. Yet, even in the US that prides itself in being masters of controlling everything, the country has not been successful in adequately responding to any adverse effects of medicine. Worse still is that the government has not succeeded in helping folks who accept to be admitted in rehab to reverse the effects of harmful drugs in the system. If Kenya wants to nurse a problem for the youth already at risk, marijuana is certainly not a solution to economic problems.

Say No to Marijuana

Say no to growing marijuana as a cash crop. Citizens save yourselves and save your children’s children. Remember political ideas are not an all cure for economy. Most of the promises will get citizens to the polling station. After August 9, citizens and youth alike must think hard about issues of bread and butter, clothing, and shelter. Nor do some of the politicians have their youth to experiment with. It seems like political candidates can be too educated to be helpful. In short, forever learning and acquiring many degrees, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.  This is not to say do not get degrees. This is to say, use the knowledge in a practical manner that does not destroy the lives of the youth. Lead with a level head with two feet placed on the ground. Not in the air building all types of castles.  No one should have the right to use education and degrees to impress or to do harm. I am just saying.

The mind of Citizens, and their bodies are made sick by what is taken in. Avoid becoming cash cows for Marijuana ideas. Just because harmful substances are legal doesn’t change their negative effects. We have alcohol that produces alcoholics. Tobacco that is addictive and causes cancer, and now add marijuana to the cafeteria tray. Finally, Citizens, be careful what you or your youth put in their body. It will affect the mind, body, and the spirit. There are many substances one can take and experiment with, but a person has just one body. Sometimes when a person engages in self destructive behaviors with their body, the harmful effects may not be reversible. Watch out for wasted years of smoking marijuana as a cash crop that will end up first destroying the farmers and their families, and second all others.

Notes are from my file on harmful drugs/                                                                                                                                                                                     She is a freelance writer for Kenyan Parents in USA Electronic media. Wambui previously taught preventive and intervention curriculum for youth in a public school system. She is the Interim Chair-Mental Health Stars Association, Inc.

Resources Online are in the Public Domain:

SAMHSA/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

National Institute on Drug Abuse/ American Council for Drug Education “Marijuana”

US Department of Health and Human Services


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