Marijuana is the most used illegal drug in the United States, and around the world. The only substance that is abused more is alcohol, which largely stems from the fact that it is legal. As a matter of fact, nearly 1 out of 14 teenagers report using marijuana every month. One particular reason for the widespread use of marijuana is that it is not viewed as a dangerous substance. One reason for this is that it isn’t nearly as destructive as some of the other drugs that it is legally classified with, such as heroin or meth. However, there are still dangers to marijuana abuse that cannot be ignored, just like any substance.
Short term effects of marijuana abuse
A person who is high on marijuana suffers from a multitude of short term effects. Initially, because of the calming effect of marijuana, a person’s reaction time and coordination will be impaired. Being under the influence of marijuana can also impact a person’s short-term memory. For some users, marijuana will elicit negative feelings like panic or anxiety, and some people might even experience hallucinations of sights, sounds, and smells that aren’t there.
Long term effects of marijuana abuse
If a person continues to use marijuana regularly over a long period of time, there are symptoms that will compound and build. There are studies that have tied long term marijuana abuse to declines in IQ and school performance (university students who use marijuana are more likely to drop out than those who don’t). Contrary to popular belief, individuals are able to develop an addiction to marijuana (a psychological one, not a physical one). As a matter of fact, roughly 17% of admissions into addiction treatment centers are caused by marijuana abuse.
Changing legalization of marijuana
Marijuana is a substance that exists in the spotlight quite a bit, nowadays. The recent sweep of legalizations in different states has led to a nation-wide debate about whether marijuana has any place in our society, and whether criminalization and prohibition were doing much to stop it, anyways. It’s important to note, while marijuana isn’t as inherently dangerous and addictive as other, harder drugs, it is still an illicit substance that can have profound negative impacts on people’s lives. This is a fact that shouldn’t be lost as we discuss the pros and cons of marijuana legalization.