It is considered a “gateway drug”, meaning it opens the door to the use of harder drugs. It has both short-term and long-term negative effects on the user, adversely affecting the mind and body. Commonsense would dictate that legalizing such a drug could give people the wrong impression, leading people to believe that it is in fact harmless. Nothing could be further from the truth.
More about Marijuana
What exactly are some of the effects of marijuana use, whether you live in a state where it is illegal or in a state which now deems its use legal? It needs to be pointed out, as well, that the adverse effects of a drug are not changed by making it legal. With that in mind, let’s look at some effects the use of marijuana has on those lulled into believing it is somehow harmless.
- Problems with learning and memory
- Difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of coordination
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Increases the chance of tissue damage and lung cancer
- Causes changes in the brain. (similar to the changes caused by heroin and cocaine use)
Some Overall Consequences of Marijuana Use
Smoking five joints per week is equivalent to smoking an entire pack of cigarettes per day, leading to respiratory problems (bad cough, chest colds, wheezing). The use of marijuana has been linked to poor performance in school as it is more difficult to concentrate and retain the information being studied.
A National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that youth who were frequent marijuana users were nearly four times more likely to commit an act of violence against people or property when compared to those young people who did not use the drug. It was also found that the youth frequently using marijuana were five times more likely to steal than those not using marijuana.
And most disconcerting of all is the fact that 60% of the teenagers in drug treatment programs are there due to marijuana use.
Legalization and Increased Use
In a recent study of students in Midland, Texas, it was found that marijuana use has nearly tripled over the past 5 years. The Texas Prevention Impact Index Survey found that drug use by students in MISD (Midland Independent School District) has increased significantly.
A Director at the Midland area Palmer Drug Abuse Program, Kim Henderson, noted that marijuana use has “almost tripled in the last 5 years.” Henderson also said that the legalization of marijuana has given kids “the wrong impression”, now seeing it and its use as less harmful than it truly is. She also sees an increasing trend of young people experimenting with drugs at an earlier age coupled with an increased use of marijuana and alcohol by teen-aged girls.
How can we stop Marijuana use?
One of the key means to prevent substance use and abuse is factual, realistic and effective drug prevention education. Whether a person is a child, an adolescent or an adult, he or she needs to know the truth about drugs in order to make the pivotal and life-changing decision to use—or not to use. Informed as to the true nature of drugs and the damage drugs do to the body, mind and spirit, most people would likely choose not to ever open the door that leads to drug damage, potential addiction and the ruination of one’s life and the lives of others.
For more information on the truth about drugs and effective drug prevention education, please visit Foundation for a Drug-Free World at http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/the-truth-about-drugs.html