The Discovery House Blog

Marijuana: Some Believe Not Harmless

February 18, 2013 Addiction Treatment

MarijuanaMore and more US states are starting to legalize the use of marijuana. This is sending a clear message that marijuana use is okay and acceptable. Roger Roffman, a professor emeritus at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work says, “Daily use increases the risk of becoming dependent.” Roffman is not anti-marijuana either as he supported Initiative 502, which called for the legalization of a small amount of marijuana for adults 21 and older in Washington.

Roffman says that there are benefits from using marijuana, especially when used to reduce symptoms of disease and treatments of disease. It also assists in helping people relax and enhances some sensory experiences. However, the drawbacks of marijuana use clearly outweigh the benefits.

To some Marijuana is a double-edged sword,
Having the good and the bad.

Roffman says, “Dependence can cause impairment or distress and other effects that interfere with other areas of life. It’s fairly common for people who are using marijuana regularly to complain that their ability to think clearly is impaired — to remember, to organize their thoughts, to follow through with multitasking.”

Ruben Baler, a neuroscientist with the National Institute on Drug Abuse said, “THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, “hijacks and corrupts” the natural process of endocannabinoids, a key family of chemicals that help guide the brain in proper maturation. These chemicals “play key roles in memory formation, learning, and decision-making.”

“One of the main contributors to worse outcomes (of marijuana use) is the age at which you start,” says Baler. “So we are particularly worried about young people who are using the drug.” The years that young people should be working at peak levels of performance, the ones that use marijuana are performing sub optimally. The more that marijuana is used the more of a cumulative effect on achievement it has.

Baler says that contrary to what some people believe marijuana is addictive. According to the NIDA, about nine percent of people who use marijuana become dependent on it. The number increases to about 1 in 6 among those who start using it at a young age, and to 25% to 50% among daily users. There are many people who go into treatment to get over an addiction to marijuana.

More than 29 million Americans ages 12 and older — 11.5% — reported using marijuana within the past year, according to NIDA numbers for 2010. That’s a significant increase over numbers reported each year from 2002 to 2008.

Marijuana will lower your life standards.

Studies show that when marijuana is used chronically, “people achieve lower in academics, job performance and life satisfaction,” says Baler. “It’s difficult to understand why kids working so hard on their education would engage in an act that would lower their chance of success.”

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