Reflective Essay

Over the course of this last year, I have definitely improved on my critical reading, research, and critical writing skills. The various artifacts I shared on my blog will demonstrate these skills because I had to conduct research about a topic and put together an annotated bibliography as well as an argumentative essay. Both reflect on my research and critical writing skills because I had to analyze the sources and reflect on them from a different perspective. For my annotated bibliography, I was able to analyze the sources, not relating it to any topic or relating it to any writing, but analyzing it based on credibility or reliability of those sources, which helped me decide whether they were good enough to be used for my own paper.

As a thinker, I believe my ideas have evolved, as now I’m able to think outside of the box and bring in new perspective and ideas to a certain topic. The flow of thoughts is much more smoother as I’m able to organize them and make it work especially when I’m planning an outline for a paper. Organizing my thoughts into an orderly form and being able to put together all my ideas into one simple outline has made it so much easier for me to write, which I realized when I was writing my timed essay during class. The Unit 2 essay from UNIV 112 demonstrates improvement in my thinking skills as my focus is clear throughout and I use examples and experiences to support my position on the topic. My unit 3 essay for UNIV 112, in which I had to pick a topic and argue for/against it using ethical reasoning greatly demonstrated my thinking skills because I had to organize my ideas as to why people should support my opinion, which is different than that of a normal writing assignment. The Unit 3 essay from UNIV 111 also reflects my thinking and learning as I put more effort and thought for the analysis of different sources used and the writing piece itself.

As a learner, it has been so much easier to get a grasp on many different things I’ve been learning in all my classes. Working through unit after unit in a very fast pace in UNIV 112 has made me realize how fast I can get a hold of new expectations and assignments and successfully complete it. I’m simply able to observe and take in of what I’m expected to do and easily do all my assignments without much stress at all. Improving as a thinker and learner has made it easier for me to grow as a writer, as I’m able to put together all my ideas and thoughts into an organized outline that makes it an easy task to write my essays.

As a writer, I’m also able to identify where I need improvement in my essays and will make adjustments and changes needed before submitting my work. As it’s easier for my ideas to come together, I quite enjoy writing because it’s less frustrating and I have less of a difficult time as I used to; as long as I have something to write about that is both interesting and important, my paper will pretty much finish itself. My unit 1 essay from UNIV 111 shows my writing skills the most because that was the first paper I actually enjoyed writing, as I was more interested and passionate about writing about my experience and change throughout my childhood/adulthood.

As a collaborator, I initially thought of myself as an introvert and unconfident in dealing with collaborative projects and assignments. Throughout the course I was presented with assignments that required cohesive element that challenged me the most compared to individual projects assigned during the year. This was the case only with classmates that I didn’t know, but I was very comfortable working with my friends who were in my class. Over time however, these aspects improved through practice and repetition, as I am more competent with my writing and became very comfortable working with groups. This was clearly shown through the Radioactive group project, in which students were assigned to pick a topic/theme in the book, analyze the context on the book and relate it to the topic as well as the real world. My group worked on Career vs. Personal Life aspect of the project, but I focused on how the importance of career shown in Radioactive relates to real life. We did pretty well analyzing the text and relating it to real problems and making it seem relevant. I also found a short video on how to balance school and social life, which seemed to be perfect fit for the presentation, it was so well demonstrated as well.

I still need more improvement on my writing skills, as I hope to be more proficient and able to write my ideas down smoothly and swiftly because I still have a hard time putting my ideas into words and expressing exactly what I’m thinking. I also hope to be able to concentrate and stop loosing my train of thought while writing but an outline really helps me keep my ideas and thoughts organized.

In my opinion, my learning skills definitely make me stand out amongst a crowd because I’m easily able to do what I’m expected and able to adapt to completely new approaches/techniques that comes with different classes and different units (in case of UNIV 112). Moving to the US only five years ago is probably the reason I’ve improved on my learning skills because I was able to observe and change my course of learning so easily back in middle school that it’s made it easy for me to do that now.

 

 

Unit 3 Essay

Use of Marijuana to Treat Schizophrenia

Throughout years of modernization, individuals have made billions of new discoveries that have led us onto a path of worldwide innovation. Whether it is for the benefit for the entire world population, or simply for recreational use, it has inevitably caused countless disputes regarding difference in opinions, values, and morals. Most importantly, the world of science and technology has made immense developments that have completely changed the course of many lives; from finding cures to untreatable diseases to manufacturing millions of new drugs. Still in the process of extensive research, one of the many significant discoveries has led scientists to formulate a new course of treatment for the incurable and chronic brain disorder, schizophrenia. The word “schizophrenia” comes from the Greek roots “schizo” (split) and “phrene” (mind) to describe the fragmented thinking of people with the disorder (Grohol). Although researchers are still clueless to what causes schizophrenia, some scientists claim that it’s a biologically based disease of the brain caused by chemical imbalances, abnormal brain activity and morphology, and viral infections, as the development of the disorder is observed in individuals affected with infection during their second trimester in the womb. (Szalavitz). This claim is supported with dynamic brain imaging systems, such as MRI, EGG, and PET scans, which show precisely the wave of tissue and ventricle destruction that occurs in the section of the brain affected by schizophrenia. Schizophrenic patients experience major hallucinations, and show disorganized speech and thoughts along with catatonic behavior. As one completely looses touch with reality and shows no signs of a comeback, it’s labeled as one of the worst brain disorder (Szalavitz). Pierre Deniker, a colleague at Pasteur Institute in Paris, identified chlorpromazine; the first drug used to treat schizophrenia and was approved in 1954 by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Abbott). However, there were harmful side effects and drawbacks to the drug that were revealed later in the year, which in turn lead scientists to develop an alternate antipsychotic medicine known as amisulpride. The addition of unnatural chemicals to a damaged brain has led patients to develop side effects to this drug as well, which in turn has led to the introduction of marijuana for treatment that has brought great controversy. Although some scientists claim that marijuana worsens the patient’s condition, further research has shown that marijuana refines one’s condition and health as it acts as a natural antipsychotic neurotransmitter in the brain, playing a positive role in the treatment of this chronic brain disorder.

Marijuana has been used worldwide for the treatment of many incurable diseases, mainly to suppress the negative symptoms. It has been in use as a pain suppresser for cancer patients, relieving agent for AIDS and chronic pain, and even preventing seizures in epileptic patients. Scientists and local marijuana producers have developed different ways in which the cannabis plant could be used as they alter the strands and chemicals in the substance (Mogul). CBD, a substance extracted from marijuana has proved to treat diseases and alleviate symptoms, and so is abundant in medicinal marijuana whereas THC, substance for the high is not. Disputes over the use of medicinal marijuana have caused significant changes in the outcomes of treatment, as researchers are less likely to obtain the substance for further tests and experiments, however it has made great progress over the years as many states in the U.S. have now legalized the clinical use of the substance. In addition to these diseases, scientists perform extensive research to indicate the role of marijuana and in the treatment of schizophrenia. Research conducted by some scientists show that marijuana positively treats schizophrenia and is far more preferable than alternate drugs used for the treatment where as other scientists claim that this substance worsens the patient’s condition (Rodrigo and Rajapakse). According to the U.S National Library of Medicine the use of marijuana has more positive outcomes than negative results during the course of treatment of schizophrenic patients. Furthermore, the use of marijuana shows no signs of cognitive deficits during the treatment of schizophrenia, as shown by other drugs used for the treatment. Even after years of research, the link between marijuana and schizophrenia establishes disputes in which researchers and scientist debate over the issue of whether the use of marijuana worsens schizophrenic condition or it suppresses its symptoms. One side claims that the use of this substance leads to psychosis while the other side affirms that the use of marijuana is more suitable for the treatment of schizophrenia than that of other drugs. Further research on the effect of marijuana on schizophrenic patients with provide accurate tests to determine the positive and negative outcomes, as well as giving alternate treatment for the patients. As individuals are growing to be more open-minded to modern technology and medicine, the use of medicinal marijuana is also becoming widespread. When scientists are able to settle this issue, many schizophrenic patients experiencing worsened conditions from the current drugs used for their treatment will be provided with better and alternative options. Since the disorder is completely incurable as there is no way to reverse the damage done to the brain, the only hope of a schizophrenic patient feeling at peace is suppressing their symptoms and providing them with that option will change their lives, as medicinal marijuana has done for many other individuals.

Earlier studies determining the correlation between marijuana and schizophrenia indicate that the use of marijuana can be the cause of developing this mental illness and the long-term effect of CBD causes an individual to undergo harmful withdrawals (Abbott). According to a 2005 study, if one is already predisposed and has a vulnerability to schizophrenia, using marijuana can trigger an episode, advancing the disease. The relative high one can get from being under the influence of marijuana shows signs of euphoria and relaxation, however, some individuals can develop hallucinations and possible psychotic episodes (Meier). Public health officials state that the number of patients under the influence of marijuana in the emergency room fleeing from a psychotic episode has increased. Abusing marijuana with 15% THC content, very common among society, could greatly increase the risk for schizophrenia, stating, “5 perfect of people will go psychotic instead of 1 percent” (Chen). Studies also state that CBD is very difficult to develop since it is extracted from an illegal substance and provides no marketable business. Although research shows the use of marijuana can lead to psychosis in individuals who are genetically vulnerable to schizophrenia, individuals who already have emerging schizophrenia could be consuming marijuana for self-medication as the drug induces relaxation and relieves symptoms. Alternative studies demonstrate that marijuana-abusing patients are more likely to have relapses, encounters with the police, and less compliance with the treatment. Therefore, marijuana users are prone to cause more civil and internal conflicts than that of non- users. This abuse is determined through various tests and personal incidents of the schizophrenic patients (Abbott).

In contrast to the studies demonstrating negative effects of the use of marijuana, other researchers have observed that marijuana is associated with enhanced cognitive function in schizophrenia. Individuals with lifetime dependence, high- frequency use and with more recent use of marijuana have performed better in some or several components of cognitive testing (Rodrigo and Rajapakse). Researchers claim that marijuana-treated patients perform a lot better in comprehension and cognitive tests more than patients treated with prescribed antipsychotic drugs. The brain has elevated levels of anandamide, a natural stress reliever and antipsychotic, which lower the symptoms of schizophrenia. The levels of these neurotransmitters are elevated by CBD, therefore calming and relaxing the symptoms of schizophrenia. Intake of CBD shows signs of tranquility that suppress the symptoms of schizophrenia and cause the patients to be less brutal or aggressive. Furthermore, the use of CBD to treat schizophrenic patients exceeds other medications, as it does not cause any harmful side effects. Amisulpride is found to cause severe side effects such as weight gain and diabetes that worsens the patient’s health and increases risk of heart disease.

Comparing the positive and negative sides to the issue, the advantages of marijuana exceed the negative impact of the substance. Claims that the use of marijuana leads to psychosis seem to be proven different as the rate of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia remains at a steady level while the use of marijuana is also rapidly increasing worldwide. As marijuana has no side effects during the treatment and suppresses the symptoms of the disorder, it has a positive impact on the treatment of schizophrenic patients and is more beneficial than that of other medications. Further research is necessary to continue the search for accurate results to determine the long term causes of the use of marijuana on patients. However, as researchers have already determined the effects of marijuana on the human brain, schizophrenic patients are that much closer to gaining serenity and peacefulness, which makes medicinal marijuana an important factor, changing one life at a time.

 

 

Works Cited

Abbott, Jon. “Drug for Treating Schizophrenia Identified.” PBS. PBS, 25 Nov. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

Chen, Angus. “Pot Can Trigger Psychotic Symptoms For Some, But Do The Effects Last?” NPR. NPR, 06 Mar. 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2015

Grohol, John M. “All About Schizophrenia and Psychosis.” All About Schizophrenia and Psychosis. N.p., 27 June 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Meier, Marcia. “The Marijuana and Schizophrenia Conundrum.” Pacific Standard. N.p., 1 Mar. 2010. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.

Mogul, Fred. “Does Medical Marijuana Work? The Experts Are Divided.” WNYC. WNYC News, 07 May 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

Rodrigo, Chaturaka, and Senaka Rajapakse. “Abstract.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 28 Dec. 0005. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

Szalavitz, Maia. “The Link Between Marijuana and Schizophrenia.” Time. Time, 21 July 2010. Web. 3 Apr. 2015.

 

 

Unit 2 Essay

Annotated Bibliography: Marijuana and Schizophrenia Conundrum

 

My research on the relationship between the use of marijuana and the chronic brain disorder has established two major different views on the issue. One perspective for the use of marijuana to treat schizophrenic patients, in which researchers claim that it’s more useful drug than the current treatment medications. On the second hand, other researchers claim that the use marijuana has the same symptoms as that of schizophrenia and has negative effect in the brain. Mostly from medical concerns, issues arise as scientists all over the world carry out various experiments to determine and clarify the effects of marijuana on schizophrenic patients.

To begin with, I found sources that investigates the effect of marijuana on the brain, one that supports the use of marijuana and the other that states the negative effects on the brain from the use of marijuana. Different research techniques, technology, and varying intentions of the experiment accounts for the differences in the approaches about the topic. As one author conducts an experiment in an attempt to clarify the effect of marijuana on the brain uses a different approach to the research, from the use of different technology to techniques that leads to varying results and conclusions of the experiment. In Castle and colleagues’ Marijuana and Madness, the authors highlight the effect of marijuana to the brain in relation to brain disorder schizophrenia and conclude that dose-depending marijuana use impairs the cognition and psychomotor functioning, however, the prolonged use of cannabis does not create irreversible neuropsychological deficits. In their research, Weiland, Thayer, and Depue conduct various experiments suggesting that there is no association between marijuana use and the differences in shapes/structures of the brain. These two sources take on a different approach to the topic and use different research techniques, which could have led to varying results.

The newspaper article by Reuters “Comparing Schizophrenia Drugs” found in the New York Times states that a new drug should be under consideration to treat schizophrenia as the current treatment medication causes severe side effects for the patients. This source is supported by the Maia Szalavitz’s article, in which she also claims that treatment medication for schizophrenia should be replaced with alternate medications, such as marijuana. The same research approach, as both of the authors had similar hypothesis and similar studies or evidence accounts for similarity between the sources.

The differences and similarities indicate that the topic has different bias and perspectives dealing with the indications of marijuana leading to schizophrenia. Some researchers claim that it is a clear phenomenon that marijuana is a drug that changes an individual’s disposition, therefore, it is plausible for it to cause schizophrenia in some people, while other researchers conduct experiments that counter argue most studies. Cultural, religious, and political assumptions do not play that big of a role in these sources, except for the newspaper article, as all of them are research based and have scientific evidence leading to their conclusion. Potential ethical dilemmas are inevitable as treating chronic brain disorders with the use of marijuana.

Solutions to the issue could be further research to accurately demonstrate the relationship between marijuana and schizophrenia. Newer technology and collaborated work could lead to the precise prediction of the effect of marijuana on the treatment of schizophrenia. These perspectives will assist me in formulating a solution for my unit 3 topic as I can use all these sources to support my argument and my counterargument against the use of marijuana in schizophrenic patients. As I plan to take on the stance against the use of marijuana, I will use the sources found to support my hypothesis along with alternate sources the authors cited in their work.

 

Rodrigo, Chaturaka, and Senaka Rajapakse. “Cannabis and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: A Review of Clinical Studies.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 28 Dec. 0005. Web. 19 March 2015.

The authors, who have also been researching on the mental illness, refer to separate studies and experiments indicating the effect of marijuana on individuals that are predisposed to the chronic brain disorder, schizophrenia. The hypothesis that marijuana causes more positive symptoms with cognitive deficits in schizophrenic patients than negative symptoms is sustained by varying studies and interventions. These studies and intervention show that those with lifetime dependence, high-frequency use and with more recent use performed better in some or several components of cognitive testing. Cannabis use is associated with enhanced cognitive function in schizophrenia.

This source found on the web for U.S. National Library of Medicine is useful for this topic. The validity of this source is also demonstrated through the citations and references to other work based on the same subject. As the writers are scientists and have carried out experiments to prove their hypothesis, the source becomes even more valid and useful. It compares to other sources in my bibliography as the writers carry out various experiments to support their theory. The source does not seem to contain any bias because the writers address both the positive and negative effects of marijuana on schizophrenic patients and support their claim using science. The goal of this source is to demonstrate and inform the readers of the positive effects of marijuana on the treatment of schizophrenic patients.

This source was really helpful to me because it helps me shape my argument using valid experiments carried out by scientists. The source was also found on an academic website related to medicine so I can use it in my research as a logical scientific support. It did change the way I thought about my topic because I was against the use of marijuana for schizophrenic patients but if they have carried out several research on the topic, it could be that marijuana can help some patients.

 

Weiland, Barbara, Rachel Thayer, and Brendan Depue. “Daily Marijuana Use Is Not Associated with Brain Morphometric Measures in Adolescents or Adults.” The Journal of Neuroscience. The Society of Neuroscience. 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 03 Apr. 2015.

To determine the short term and long term effects of marijuana, the writers conduct various experiments suggesting that marijuana use is associated with shape and volumetric differences in the structure of the brain. The study examined brain morphology in samples of adults: users, non-users along with a sample of adolescent: users, and non-users. The experimenters acquired high-resolution MRI scans to investigate differences in gray matter (tissue in the brain that processes information) using morphometric measures (measurement of brain structures) to evaluate the change in brain structure, in regions of the frontal lobe such as amygdala (fear, aggression), hippocampus (memory), and cerebellum (cognitive function). When the samples were controlled for alcohol use, gender, and age, they found that there is no association between marijuana use and the differences in shapes/structures of the brain

This source is just as useful for this topic compared to the sources based specifically on the schizophrenia and marijuana correlation. It compares to other sources in the bibliography as it discusses effects of marijuana on the brain and cognitive function. The source is reliable as the writers themselves carry out the experiment and simply write their lab report, from their methods used to the results and discussion of the entire experiment. The source does not seem to contain any bias because the authors address both the negative and positive effects of marijuana discussed in other studies and they perform an experiment to determine the results instead of taking sides based on facts. The goal of this source clarify the effects of marijuana on the brain and its cognitive function.

This source was helpful for my research as it experimentally demonstrates the effect of marijuana to the brain. This relates to my topic of schizophrenia and marijuana conundrum in that schizophrenic patients have impaired cognitive functions and abnormal shape/ structure of regions of the brain including the frontal lobe and gray matter, both of which is discussed in the source. The result of the experiment that marijuana use shows no association with damage to the structure of the brain, shows that it positively correlates with schizophrenia, showing evidence that it does not cause the same effects as that of a brain disorder and will have no further damage to the brain to schizophrenic patients.

 

Castle, David J., D’ Souza, Deepak., and Robin M. Murray. Marijuana and Madness: Psychiatry and Neurobiology. New York: Cambridge UP, 2004. Print.

In this book, Castle, D’ Souza, and Murray highlight the effect of marijuana to the brain in relation to brain disorder schizophrenia. The authors discuss the roots of the marijuana plant itself, stating that it consists of the CB1 and CB2, which inhibit a variety of neurotransmitters in the brain, although the correlation of cannabis intoxication and the brain function is still not precise. They allude to a series of studies and experiments done by scientists all over the world to provide scientific evidence throughout the text. They provide statistical and graphical evidence to determine the effect of marijuana use to the brain. The authors conclude that dose-depending marijuana use impairs the cognition and psychomotor functioning, however, the prolonged use of cannabis does not create irreversible neuropsychological deficits.

The source stands as a very useful source as it contains a lot of information about my research topic. It’s different from other sources as the authors use many different studies to prove their claim about the relation between schizophrenia and marijuana. It’s a major counterargument to the study done by Barbara Weiland and Rachel Thayer because it acts as a counter argument to the pro stance of this issue. It’s basically a book containing numerous experimental studies and facts that demonstrate the negative effects of marijuana. However, the authors also address the positive effects, so it does not contain any bias as they also use studies to show both sides of the discussion. The information is reliable because the authors provide experimental, graphical, and statistical evidence. The authors themselves are also researchers; Deepak D’ Souza is part of the Schizophrenia Research Program and Robin Murray directs the Psychiatric Research Institute. The goal of this source is to clarify and demonstrate that marijuana has negative effects to the brain, worsening the condition of schizophrenic patients but also has positive effects when not prolonged.

This source fits in my research as it shows that marijuana has negative effects on the brain, making the condition of a schizophrenic patient even worse. This was helpful to me in that I can take a stance on my topic against the use of marijuana and use it to support my hypothesis as it contains a lot of information about the drug.

 

Sharma, H.S. New concepts of Psychostimulant Induced Neurotoxicity. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic, 2009. 335-396. Cannaboid Receptors in Brain. Science Direct, 6 Nov. 2009. Web. 27 Mar 2015.

In his book, H.S Sharma discusses the biochemical, cellular, and behavioral responses to marijuana. He investigates a series of cannabinoid genomic and proteomic profiles to determine the long term effects of the use of marijuana. He provides scientific evidence throughout the text to conclude that the negative effects of cannabis use does not outweigh the beneficial effects to chronically ill patients such as cancer and psychotic patients as well. Although marijuana use is addicting, which varies from individual to individual, the author states the potential benefits of endocannabinoids (substance found in marijuana and the brain itself) in brain function, immune function, and emotional behavior. Marijuana based therapeutics is also on the rise for future use.

This is a very useful source as the author digs in to the cellular and biochemical responses to marijuana and uses experimental studies and data to support his conclusion that marijuana has more positive effects than negative effects to the brain. This information is reliable as the author himself in a researcher in Cardio-Pulmonary Molecular Biology and he discusses the cellular/molecular roots of marijuana. He also uses studies from other scientists to validate his work. The source is not biased because he addresses both the negative effects and the positive effects of the use of marijuana as the goal for this source was not to support a specific hypothesis but to come to a conclusion on the issue based on many different studies.

This source helps shape my argument as I can use it take sides on the positive effects of marijuana. The studies in this source will also take me a long way on supporting my hypothesis and concluding my research. Since it’s a book, its more reliable compared to other sources in that it has been across plenty of peer reviews and the published work has been supported by many other scientists so it can be of use for a strong standing support.

 

Szalavitz, Maia. “Marijuana Compound Treats Schizophrenia with Few Side Effects: Clinical Trial.” Time. Time, 30 May 2012. Web. 20 March 2015.

The author, who researches information that of schizophrenic patients uses data from   clinical trials and varying statistics in order to prove that CBD, a substance developed from marijuana is more suitable for the treatment of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia than the use of amisulpride and other drugs that cause harmful side effects. Her hypothesis is supported by clinical trials, which demonstrate that the brain system has elevated levels of anandamide, a natural stress reliever and antipsychotic, which lower the symptoms of schizophrenia. These clinical tests also show CBD increases this neurotransmitter, therefore, calming and relaxing the symptoms of this mental disease. Other medications also increase the risk of diabetes and weight gain along with alternate side effects. In addition, the studies also demonstrate the development of physical and mental therapy, with the use of marijuana, seems to be more useful to treat schizophrenia than the medications. The author’s prediction is supported by tests that show medications causes severe side effects that worsen the patient’s health.

It’s a useful and reliable source as the author is a neuroscience journalist and American reporter focused on science and addiction treatment. She also provides a personal insight to the issue as she was a former drug addict. She also uses various research studies to support her hypothesis. Since the goal of this source is to show that marijuana has more positive effects than those drugs used to treat schizophrenic patients, which is supported by experimental data and evidence. In terms of bias, the source targets both for and against the use of marijuana so it does not contain complete bias. However, the author does use more studies to prove the positive use of marijuana than providing equal evidence against the use of marijuana.

This source was very helpful to me because it targets both pros and cons of the use of marijuana. As it has more evidence showing positive effects of marijuana, it would help shape my argument in support of the use of marijuana to treat schizophrenic patients. It has changed how I think about my topic because it shows strong evidence that marijuana is a more suitable drug to treat schizophrenia than alternate medications.

 

Reuters. “Comparing Schizophrenia Drugs.” The New York Times. N.p., 21 Sept. 2008. Web. 19 March 2015.

The author, a researcher for schizophrenia, discusses the necessity of better treatments for this mental illness. The writer argues that the government should spend money to investigate and develop a new drug that is far more useful than other drugs used to treat schizophrenia that cause severe side effects. The argument is supported by studies and statistics, which prove that current treatment medications cause harmful side effects and are a major failure during the treatment of this disorder. The author states that the government’s spending on the establishment and manufacture of new drugs is highly expensive, yet the drugs are still not meeting up to the demands of the patients.

In comparison to other sources, this article is supported by Maia Szalavitz, who also states that the treatment medications should be replaces and proposes that marijuana should be one of the drugs under consideration. Although the source does provide support using research studies, it contains bias because it does not address the opposing view and provides no evidence for the counter argument. The information is quite reliable since the author uses strong support and he himself is a researcher for schizophrenia.

I could use this on my research for evidence leading to the positive effects of marijuana on schizophrenic patients. It helps shape the argument that current treatment medications are of no use and cannabis could be a better suited drug for most schizophrenic patients. It hasn’t changed how I think about my topic because it’s an alternate support along with the work of Maia Szalavitz.

Meier, Marcia. “The Marijuana and Schizophrenia Conundrum.” Pacific Standard. ___N.p., 1 Mar. 2010. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.

The author of this article cites different studies in which the correlation between marijuana and schizophrenia is demonstrated. Those who were vulnerable to psychosis were more likely to use cannabis, which in turn could contribute to an increased risk of developing mental illness. The prediction that the use of marijuana can be the cause of developing this mental illness is strongly proved through research and large studies. One of the studies by scientists at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine in Wales show that regular cannabis use among young people increased their risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life by more than 40 percent. And the more they smoked marijuana, the higher the risk. Those who smoked most frequently were more than twice as likely to develop psychosis. Researches from Translational Neuroscience Program greatly contribute to the studies cited in the article as well.

The source is useful as I can use it for my argument against the use of marijuana for schizophrenic patients. It compares to other sources in that it acts as a counterargument as the author relates the use of marijuana to the development of schizophrenia. The source is somewhat reliable as she is an award winning author and editor but she does not have any experience in the research field. Although she gathers studies to support her hypothesis, the article is still biased as she does not present the opposing view in her article.

I could use this source to support my claim that marijuana has a negative toll on schizophrenic patients and leads up to more damage to the brain.

 

 

 

 

 

About Me

A little bit about me:

Originally from Nepal, I moved to the United States about five years ago. With my parents and my brother, we made drastic adjustments in an alien environment that we had never got a glimpse of before. From a new house to a new school, which came along with a completely different education system, I had to adapt to new surroundings and an unfamiliar culture at a young age. As years went by, I learned so many new things and changed into a better version of myself.  Meeting new people and finding certain people that last a life time, I came to grow so much love for a new country. I acquired new hobbies, especially in the health aspect, as now I have a lot of interest for fitness and health along with active sports. From acquiring new skills in academics to developing the love for dissimilar sports and recreational activities, I also excelled my years in high school and now have come to do the same at VCU.

Reflective Writing

Sharbani Rana

UNIV 111

Dr. Pallo

09 December 2014

Reflective Writing

My initial impression of myself as a thinker when I began this course is that I would attempt to find ways in which I wouldn’t have to do much thinking at all. I got by high school making the least amount of effort, as every student did, so that got me in the habit of doing minimum work to get a good grade. However, I tried by absolute best my junior year in my AP English Language class, mostly because my teacher would motivate the entire class to do the most we can. The essays we would write, the readings, and other activities done in class required a lot of effort, as one would have to put a lot of thought and hard work in all the assignments. Disregarding the grades we received in that class, she would also make the assignments very entertaining and interesting for us to want to put in our hard work. As a writer, I was never the one to receive A’s on my papers, but trying my hardest to learn and improve in my AP English class, I showed drastic changes in the way I write as the year progressed. That class was my turning point, as I started receiving good grades in all the assignment throughout the year. As a collaborator, I thought of myself as an introvert and unconfident in dealing with collaborative projects and assignments. Throughout the course I was presented with assignments that required cohesive element that challenged me the most compared to individual projects assigned during the year. This was the case only with classmates that I didn’t know, but I was very comfortable working with my friends who were in my class. Over time however, these aspects improved through practice and repetition, as I am more competent with my writing and became very comfortable working with groups.

I chose these pieces because the writings demonstrate the change in my writing style, thinking, and the same topic interpreted in different ways. Through out these short three months, my writing seemed to change as it showed a deeper thinking and understanding of the topic compared to the first essay. In my opinion, the Unit 1 essay is the best one compared to the three, as I was more interested and passionate about writing about my experience and change throughout my childhood/adulthood. This essay reflected my learning over time because it demonstrated a better and deeper way of thinking compared to the first writing piece I wrote for this course. Although the Unit 1 essay is a complete different prompt compared to the other two, it still reflects the change in my writing overtime. The Unit 2 essay demonstrates improvement as my focus is clear throughout and I use examples and experiences to support my position on the topic. The Unit 3 essay reflects my thinking and learning as I put more effort and thought for the analysis of different sources used and the writing piece itself.

I can apply what I’ve learned this semester in future academic endeavors as I can use my writing skills in other classes as well. During my time in this class, all the lessons and assignments were very well incorporated into improving my way of writing and thinking. Making my collaborative, thinking, and writing skills in this class better, I can be successful in other courses that require writing essays and interpreting different readings. As my goal is to attend Medical School, the most useful skill I can use for future endeavors is writing and collaborative skills as I will need to write papers, essays, and many different research writings. Collaborative skills are a very important factor, as I will need to work amongst different people in order to reach where I want to be. Thinking skills is also very important as it used for a lot of assignments and work throughout college.

Unit 3 Essay

Sharbani Rana

UNIV 111

Dr. Pallo

Marijuana and Schizophrenia Correlation

Researchers worldwide have been performing numerous experiments with varying outcomes to indicate the marijuana and schizophrenia conundrum. Some researchers state that marijuana positively treats schizophrenia and is scientifically proven to be more preferable than alternate drugs that treat this chronic brain disorder. Other scientists allege against the use of marijuana for schizophrenics, stating that this substance is the cause of schizophrenia and is harmful during the treatment of schizophrenia as well. Schizophrenia is a biologically based disease of the brain and has increased rapidly during the past two decades. To treat this severe chronic brain disorder, early scientist Pierre Deniker identified chlorpromazine, now named amisulpride. This drug used to treat schizophrenic patients has showed various negative side effects, which lead to the discovery of marijuana as an alternate treatment for schizophrenics. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine (Rodrigo and Rajapakse), the use of marijuana has more positive outcomes than negative results on schizophrenic patients. In addition, they state that the use of marijuana shows no signs of cognitive deficits during the treatment of schizophrenia, making it a more suitable drug used for treatment than alternate medications. On the other hand, researchers argue against the use of marijuana, stating a prolonged use can precipitate schizophrenia and expose a venerable individual to this mental disorder at an earlier age (Souza, 19).

Graduates from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, who majored in Medicine, Chaturaka Rodrigo and Senaka Rajapakse published their work, “Cannabis and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: A Review of Clinical Studies” in the year 2009 in U.S National Library of Medicine to demonstrate that patients who were treated with marijuana perform a lot better in comprehension and cognitive tests more than patients treated with prescribed antipsychotic drugs. The statistics presented in their research indicate that the use of marijuana worldwide has increased rapidly, yet patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have not. This determines that marijuana is highly unlikely to be the cause of schizophrenia. In contrast, other researchers state that the use of marijuana shows a negative impact on patients as it causes the same symptoms as that of schizophrenia, in which users undergo hallucinations.

Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine argue against the use of marijuana. Deepak D’Souza, Richard Sewell, and Mohini Ranganathan published their work, “Cannabis and psychosis/schizophrenia: human studies”, in The European Achieves of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience on 1 October 2009 to review the relationship between marijuana and psychosis and to determine whether the use of marijuana causes schizophrenia. In their research, they conclude that the use of marijuana induces schizophrenia-like cognitive symptoms, in which users experience hallucinations, thought disorder, anxiety attacks, and is associated with deficits in memory, attention and cognitive functioning. Their research determines that marijuana exposure increases the chances of developing schizophrenia by 40 percent as heavy cannabis users at the age of eighteen were 6.7 times more likely to develop schizophrenia compared to non-users.

In Rodrigo and Rajapakse article, they emphasize the positive impact of the use of marijuana for schizophrenic patients throughout their research. However, they begin their paper with a sense of ambiguity, in which they state, “despite new evidence, the exact relationship between cannabis and SSD is unclear” (Rodrigo and Rajapakse, 20), although they address the opposing argument, they do mention that they have found new evidence that marijuana positively correlates with this brain disorder, which still reassures the audience that their hypothesis has a strong support. The writers evaluate articles related to the relationship between marijuana and schizophrenia very carefully in order to conduct their research, which establishes credibility in a sense that past science supports their claims and is more likely to convince the readers of their hypothesis as they have referred other scientist’s work as well. In hopes of establishing ethos, they introduce their article mentioning that scientists in universities conducted their research. In their research, they provide no physical data or structure their writing into numbers or data plots, instead they use other clinical studies to provide strong support. This decreases factual accuracy, as they do not provide any research evidence gathered by the scientists. This however, affects the validity of their work as they can pick and choose which other studies to use for their research. As they address to the opposing argument, they immediately follow it up with evidence that reassures their hypothesis (line 49). The use of logos is consistent throughout the article, as they use scientific data to support their hypothesis. The structure of the article itself, as it’s a modern scientific paper following the “IMRAD” form (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion) organizes the paper logically, as it stays in its scientific ideal; the methods are stated, results are analyzed but the discussion, which includes their own input, is kept separate. As the authors wrote their research article in hopes of influencing individual’s knowledge on the correlation between marijuana and schizophrenia, there is some bias present as the writers provide all the evidence from the works of other authors in their favor. The context of the piece, as it’s published from the National Library of Medicine in 2009 makes their research paper more valid compared to other sources found online. In contrast, the research conducted by D’Souza and his colleagues establishes a more visual form of rhetoric. Although they also introduce their research with a hint of vagueness and uncertainty, they make it clear that they’re arguing against the use of marijuana. Using evidence from various sources: anecdotes, surveys conducted in the general population, epidemiological studies, and medical studies, provides for a stronger support in their hypothesis that makes their work more credible. The use of logos is consistent throughout the paper, as they use numerous scientific data and evidence to prove their claim correct. Anecdotal evidence establishes pathos, in which they provide readers real life experiences to balance credible fact with appropriate amount of emotional appeal. By using physical data and structuring their work around data plots and charts, it makes their claim and evidence more believable to the reader. The interpretation and presentation of physical data convinces the validity of their work as it demonstrates stronger evidence than compared to just writing. In comparison, both articles use formal and scientific language, which also establishes ethos and makes the writers a credible and valid author. As the writers conduct their research in a science facility, it provides more credentials and appeals to ethos as well.

Research done by Rodrigo and Rajapakse works in favor of the use of medicinal and recreational marijuana. The authors intend to inform individuals about the positive effects and uses of marijuana in relation to chronic brain disorder, schizophrenia. Scientific research used in their work further exemplifies the advantages of marijuana that exceeds the negative impact of the substance as it provides useful results to schizophrenic patients compared to that of other drugs used for treatment. In contrast, D’Souza and his colleagues carry out scientific research and use various sources, from anecdotes to pharmaceutical studies, to prove that marijuana triggers schizophrenia as well as worsens the conditions of schizophrenic patients. They conclude the theory of “dual diagnosis”, in which the use of marijuana during the treatment leads to couple drug addiction. Although the authors have opposite views of the topic, they both intend to inform an audience well educated and interested in their field of study.

The articles have increased my understanding of the topic as it presents both sides, for and against the use of marijuana in relation to schizophrenia. Both articles use scientific research and data to further demonstrate the validity of their work. As D’Souza and his colleagues use numerous visual data and numbers as well as personal experiences, it makes their work more reliable than compared to Rodrigo and Rajapakse, who only refer to other studies to support their hypothesis. Analyzing and annotating articles with viewpoints on opposite poles, it doesn’t clarify the correlation between marijuana and schizophrenia as well as I thought it would because both authors state that their research and evidence is still not assuring. These articles could be used to support a critique of other sources on the topic as both the authors establish credibility since they conduct viable research in scientific facilities and refer to the works of other scientists as well.

Although the two articles conflict one another, the authors intend for the same purpose that is to inform and clarify individuals about the relationship between marijuana and schizophrenia. As one article provides evidence that states marijuana is an essential drug for medicinal and recreational use for schizophrenics, and the other argues against it, both the authors make sure the reader understands there still needs to be more studies and evidence to accurately identify the correlation. Regarding the topic under examination, it would be interesting to actually find out if marijuana is the cause of schizophrenia or if an illegal drug is the best solution to treat the chronic brain disorder. The effects of marijuana and the drug itself need to be further examined to determine the long term causes of the use of marijuana on patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.

 

 Works Cited:

Rodrigo, Chaturaka, and Senaka Rajapakse. “Abstract.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 28 Dec. 0005. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.

D’Souza, Deepak, Richard Sewell, and Mohini Ranganathan. “Cannabis and Psychosis/schizophrenia: Human Studies.” European Achieves of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.

UNIV 111 Unit 2 Essay

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee

President of India

Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi, Delhi 110004

India

Dear Mr. Mukherjee,

As India starts to rise as a greater political power in comparison to the leading nations worldwide, the problems occurring in your nation seem to be catching more attention from a vast number of international organizations as well as local groups attempting to make India a better nation as a whole. According to UNICEF, as one of the nations with the highest percentage of child labor, India has shown a drastic increase of illicit labor practices over the years that act alongside growth of poverty, lack of regulations and education, and high demand for cheap labor. In order to suppress the growth of child labor, we need to begin eliminating conditions that add to poverty, provide adequate education, and reform current government regulations regarding child labor.

The substantial growth of poverty plays a big role when we take into consideration what pushes these children into work. Although India seems to be on the rise to become a more developed country, the increasing rate of poverty causes a huge gap of income and large distribution of wealth between the rich and poor groups in India (Berrebi). This gap results in the privatization of services as well as economic policies that only benefit the rich class, which adds on to the decrease in employment rate and gives a greater economic power to the big corporations in India. These big corporations use child labor, as it’s the cheapest form of labor, to gain huge profits for their business in the long run. Since these corporations play a big role in the economic success of India, there’s no mechanism to hold them accountable of any fraud of regulations and laws (Berrebi). The decline of the employment rate also results in loss of jobs for the parents themselves that result in shortages of needed goods in a household, which drive the children into labor so they can also act as a financial resource to the family. Some individuals claim child labor is beneficial to the family as children are an additional financial resource (Craig), but aiding those families in need would make child labor evitable as a whole and make further education a possible option for every child in India. Not to mention, the main target for child labor has become young girls, who are abducted from villages while their parents are off at work. “Middle men” or employers use clothes and food, often what’s missing in their household, to lure these young girls into forced labor (Kannan). As the parents don’t have enough money to take action and avoid the situation, most families are forced to deal with the loss of their children. The economic weakness of India also plays a huge role in the growth of child labor practices (Berrebi). As agriculture is a huge contributor to the economic success of India, many impoverished families are obligated to work in that field. Young children from all ages are coerced to work with their families, as the parents prefer their children to be an extra helping hand in their labor force rather than attending school. Bonded child labor, in which children are forced to be employed against a loan or debt, has expanded over the years. Since parents are not wealthy enough to pay for their debt, the oldest child pays it off in the form of labor, usually in agriculture. With the help of international organizations and local groups, we can be able to secure the income of poor families. By providing aid and relief to the lower class individuals, we can also lessen the possibility for the children having to work.

Furthermore, the lack of education is also one of the main reasons we see the growth of child labor. Since parents themselves undergo illiteracy, the tolerance of child labor is a very common (Berrebi). As education does not have much importance within the lower class society, children are forced to go into labor instead. Not receiving education also results in low skilled jobs that of which children are easily adapted to, such as artisan work and textile mills (Gastal). The plus side to this condition is that children can easily adjust to their assigned tasks, as it would be easier for a child to work in small spaces compared to adults (Craig). As children suffer from being exposed to harmful and dangerous working conditions on a daily basis, we need to make changes to better their health and lifestyle. With aid and financial resources from your own and other intervening nations, you can improve education so school will be an attractive yet useful factor that will retain children from child labor. The idea of mandatory schooling also comes into play, as it should be made a law for children to attend school. Only then, parents will be obligated to send their children to be educated and have a successful future.

Last but not least, the weak government regulations also play a major role. According to the head of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the child labor prohibition act is outdated as it is also not precise nor clear, the government hasn’t acted strongly against the illicit efforts to expand child labor. The Indian parliament hasn’t seemed to reform the current laws against child labor, which doesn’t make a positive effect (Berrebi). A solution to this could be to reform the laws and regulations, as well as implement it much stronger.

As child labor plays a huge negative toll in your nation, the effort to suppress the growth of the labor practices would be the most important factor in bettering your nation. Aiding the impoverished, providing a better education, and strongly implementing the laws and regulations would certainly help contain the increasing rate of illicit labor practices in India.

 

Sincerely yours,

Sharbani Rana

 

 Works cited:

Berrebi, Dario. “Child Labor in India – Causes Consequences.” Poverties.org. N.p., 21 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Kannan, Shilpa. “Child Labour: India’s Hidden Shame.” BBC News. N.p., 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Kannan, Shilpa. “Child Labour in India.” CHILDLINE India Foundation: Child Protection and Rights in India, 1098 Child Support. Child Line, 4 Dec. 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Craig, Jamie. “Pros and Cons of Child Labor.” By Jamie Craig. N.p., 04 Oct. 2009. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.

Gastal Fassa. “Special Health Risks of Child Labor.” The World of Child Labor an Historical and Regional Survey. By Hugh D. Hindman. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2009. 127-30. Print

 

 Writer’s Memo

I spent about two hours on the revision process since turning in the first draft. I improved on the sentence and paragraph structures. Ryan Bentley’s feedback on elaborating on some ideas, for example when I wrote how children are driven to labor, drove me to expand on explaining how children are forced into it. The global aspects of the essay I’m most confident about are the organization and the topic itself. Referring to organization of the essay, I wrote it in chronological order so the reader follows through clearly without any confusion and the topic I chose for this essay fits the prompt. The global aspect of the essay I’m most concerned about is the structure because I’m not sure if I separated the paragraphs well according to the information being presented in each. The local aspect of the essay I’m most confident about is grammar because I’m quite sure there are no grammatical errors after my revision. I’m most concerned about punctuation because sometimes I get confused on whether to use a comma or semi colon separating sentences. If I had more time to work on the essay, about a day or two, I would focus on incorporating the sources to connect it to my topic so it fits perfectly in context.

 

 

UNIV 111 Unit 1 Essay

Sharbani Rana

UNIV 111

Dr. Pallo

6 October 2014

Up until the age of thirteen, I lived in Kathmandu, Nepal. Seeing as it is a country often defined by its beauty, describing it as paradise would be a mere understatement. A feeling of peace prevails over the deep green mountains that extend high above the clouds. With its diffusion of various religions and customs, Nepal was a Mecca for diversity. Residing in an area aroused by such tranquility, I felt content and at home. The rich culture within my surroundings created immense happiness within me. Besides my incomparable love for my country, I cherished my family and friends. Leaving it all behind was unimaginable. Moving to the US was my parents’ decision, one that I viewed as a permanent separation from the lifestyle I had become so accustomed to. I would be alienated from all that I knew, all that I was brought up with.

Feeling helpless and out of my element, I despised my parents for having put me in that situation. A sense of separation and nostalgia lingered within me for the first few months. All I wanted was to return home and these thoughts often overpowered the adventure and excitement of being in a new country. Rather than embracing the joy of having an opportunity to build a new life, I found myself dreading going to school, because I felt forever isolated amongst the crowd of new faces. This resulted in an onset of anxiety; the most detrimental of the symptoms was perhaps the unexplainable sensation of utter inadequacy. Adjusting to the American education system and a completely foreign environment made for an extremely stressful first year. From school to my social life, my once happy-go-lucky spirit had perished and it left me broken.

Despite an overwhelming feeling to give up on my efforts, I eventually recognized the endless sacrifices my parents made on the behalf of their children. They aimed simply to secure a better future for my family and once I saw that, it strengthened and motivated me to challenge myself to assimilate. I made changes to better myself, little baby steps in the right direction. I strived for progress and refinement. It drove me to acquire a more optimistic mindset and to essentially make the best of my abilities. Before I knew it, I began excelling in academics. I enrolled in honors and advanced placement courses. Success in this field set a precedent that not only was hard work inevitable if I planned on succeeding, but that I was fully capable of working hard. A few years later, I volunteered for the first time at a non-profit organization. Aside from feeling humbled by the experience, it showed me first-hand that true happiness could be attained simply by maintaining the right mindset. People that were far less fortunate than I were so modest and thankful for what they were given. The irony of their million-dollar smiles spurred a remarkable epiphany within me. Being satisfied with what you’re dealt in life and making do with what you’ve got is the key to happiness. The way a situation is approached, whether big or small, makes all the difference. It was no longer the circumstance that dictated the outcome of a matter, but it was up to my discretion. I could determine my own destiny.

Rather than a physical journey, coming to America turned out to primarily an internal transition to maturity and open-mindedness. I came to eagerly accept responsibilities and with this new life came self-improvement. With great influence and support from my best friend Brittany, my mother, and uncle I was able to take control of my life and emotional well-being, rather than it controlling me as it had previously. Specifically, it was a talk I had with Brittany on my birthday that altered my priorities regarding education. Her advice was especially valuable because not only was she very close to me, but she was an immigrant from Ecuador herself. She explained the consequences of my actions, good and bad. She told me that not applying myself whole-heartedly in school and my other pursuits would only hurt myself. She had once felt the way I did and she guided me in a way that I now realize was a foundation for my work ethic. As I read through Leamson’s “Learning, Your First Job”, a feeling of mere accomplishment brought a smile to my face, that was once before daunted by the amount of work that I had for the day. Realizing that I had been following the same techniques Leamson had mentioned, I hastily contacted Brittany, thanking her for leading me to follow her footsteps, taking me closer to success and even further. I would take the exact words out of context, “Remember, stealing a “nerd trick” will make you a better student.” (Leamson, 10), to explain my success in high school. Not only was Brittany my best friend but I also saw her as my mentor and role model, much different than what one can say about his/her best friend.

As my actions and efforts focused toward becoming more goal-oriented, I became increasingly self-directing. I am thankful to have acquired this sense of initiative, because my intrinsic motivation is one of my greatest and, in my opinion, most admirable asset. It helps me to have hope that through change of perspective, achieving personal gain is alleviated. Moving to a new country allowed me to adopt new values while integrating them with the ones I was brought up with. Having been exposed to a variety of cultures, I have come to appreciate and exhibit my values regardless of where in the world I may be. For instance, the Nepalese values of family ties and a strong community support system are ones that my parents enforce within our American household to this day. The merging of American culture has shaped who I am today. I am Nepalese with an American flair. My own hybrid culture comprises my identity and it is the sole way in which I remain true to my morals and conserve old traditions.

 

Works Cited

Leamson, Robert, Ph D. Learning (Your First Job) (n.d.): n. pag. Dec. 2002. Web. 5 Oct. 2014.

Writer’s Memo

I spent about an hour on the revision process since turning in the first draft. I improved on my explanation on how I changed my habits to better my academics. Jackie Bustos’ feedback on elaborating on some ideas, for example when I talked about working hard in school, drove me to expand on explaining how I achieved my success in my classes. The global aspects of the essay I’m most confident about are the organization and the topic itself. Referring to organization of the essay, I wrote it in chronological order so the reader follows through clearly without any confusion and the topic I chose for this essay fits the prompt. The global aspect of the essay I’m most concerned about is the structure because I’m not sure if I separated the paragraphs well according to the information being presented in each. The local aspect of the essay I’m most confident about is grammar because I’m certain there are no grammatical errors after my revision. I’m most concerned about punctuation because sometimes I get confused on whether to use a comma or semi colon separating sentences. If I had more time to work on the essay, about a day or two, I would focus on incorporating the sources to connect it to my topic so it fits perfectly in context.

 

 

 

 

 

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