Hidden Dangers of Marijuana
Author: Dr. William Rappaport
Date: January 2017
Marijuana legalization, decriminalization, or medicalization is on the rise. Eight states have made it legal to carry and use pot. More states are right behind those with more and more legislation in favor of its broader use. This new movement to make pot smoking legal brings hidden dangers the legislators are not telling us about. Cannabis is stronger and more potent than ever before with higher levels of THC, the main active chemical. By legalizing it our youth are getting the wrong message.
A person’s brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. When marijuana is smoked, THC goes into the lungs, then the bloodstream, and into the brain and other organs. THC works by connecting onto nerve receptors in the brain. When THC reaches different parts of the brain sensory perception, thinking, memory, and coordination all get impaired. This in turn can lead to difficulty learning, thinking and solving problems. Distorted behavior becomes the norm and is a result since decision-making centers are greatly impaired. These are all the short-term effects when a person is “high”. It can lead to risky behavior like driving while under the influence, sexually acting out, or even arrest for doing something risky.
The long - term effects on a growing brain can lead to irreversible damage. Studies have proven long term use of marijuana leads to chronic respiratory problems, low fertility rates, and impaired cognitive abilities. It can also lead to psychological problems like anxiety and depression. If someone is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or has psychosis it can actually make it worse. Long-term effects can touch every area of a kids life from schoolwork to career choices to achieving goals.
Marijuana is addictive and withdrawal can be difficult. It can alter a growing brain to the point of no return just like other recreational drugs used by our youth today. If you need help talking to your child there are many sites and books to inform the best and most affective way to do this.