The addiction problem in our country continues to skyrocket. From opioids, to benzodiazepines and stimulants, to our trusted little friend alcohol, 20.5 million Americans reportedly had a substance abuse disorder in 2015. In that same year, over 52,000 died from drug overdoses, now the leading cause for accidental deaths in our nation. As these numbers are plastered across billboards, websites, news series, and national studies, subconsciously being burned into our memory, lobbyists and legislators are fighting to legalize marijuana.
Although many clear indications exist of marijuana’s hazards and harmful effects, a hefty lot believes that this drug is safe in comparison to opioids, stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco. Some have even gone as far as to recommend it in the treatment of opioid addiction. If we have only learned one thing, it should be the mere fact that treating one addiction with another is foolish and dangerous to the addicted person. We do not imply that marijuana is not a beneficial tool in specific medical conditions, such as the treatment of pain associated with cancer or other fatal illnesses, as we are not medical experts or physicians. These are scenarios in which we will not add opinion, but in regards to supplying marijuana as a recreational “safe” substance, or in the case of using it as a treatment option, we stand firm on the fact that it will only add to our crisis…not alleviate it.
The Dangers Of Marijuana
The indications are there…whether or not supporters want to believe it. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), marijuana affects users on both a short and long-term basis. In the short-term, use can affect attention and memory, which in turn has a negative impact on mood and relationships. On a long-term basis, marijuana use can affect memory, learning, and attention, especially in users 18 years or younger, ultimately re-wiring their brains. Sometimes the impact depends on the level of THC in the drug, but as marijuana has become more popular, the levels of THC have only increased. This is found to be especially true in the more current means of ingestion, including edibles and dabbing. Thus, for users under the age of 18, they are more susceptible to poor educational outcomes, which is often correlated with poverty, crime, and yes, you guessed it…addiction to other drugs. Furthermore, 1 in 10 marijuana smokers become addicted to the drug, but more importantly, that number increases to 1 in 6 for individuals under the age of 18.
Additionally, legalizing marijuana and the use of the drug, has other colossal effects on both our youth and other users. First of all, it tells adolescents that using this drug is socially acceptable, and thus becomes ingrained in their brains as a means of “having a good time.” One leading factor for addictive diseases is the onset of marijuana use at a young age. As the brain gets rewired, the user’s physical craving for the drug and other drugs, increases. Finally, that is why marijuana is many times considered the “gateway” drug. As the physical craving increases the vulnerability to use more illicit drugs also rises.
Marijuana use can also cause higher rates of depression, schizophrenia, bronchitis, lung cancer, and heart attacks.
As with any substance that becomes more widely available and easier to access, we run the risk of our young children getting their hands on it. The same can be said for synthetic drugs, such as K2, Flakka, and Pink; all drugs that can be found and sold over the internet. So, as our country continues to fight for the legalization of marijuana, and appears to have it approved, we build an army of addicted high school students and young adults.
Just as with prescription medications, such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and ADHD meds, such as Adderall, young adults will believe that marijuana is safe to ingest, because they can find it a local shop or because it’s prescribed by a doctor. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those between the ages of 18 and 25 abuse prescription medications more than any other age group. Furthermore, they say they do so for a variety of reasons, ranging from stress relief, experimentation, to increase concentration, and, to simply get high. Can the same not happen for legal marijuana?
As the legalization of marijuana becomes a celebrated feat in at least 28 states, being legal to some extent, legislatures, lobbyists, and supporting citizens do not and cannot even see what’s coming. Yes, you can search the internet and find many supporting articles and arguments as to why marijuana is “safe,” nonetheless, were we not stuck in that same ignorant mindset with prescription opioids, alcohol, and even tobacco, at one point or another? Did it not hit us like a tidal wave at some point in our history, with associated deaths and other health issues? Each negative side effect or fatal outcome left us all wondering, “What happened?” We then said to ourselves, “I thought it was safe.” “No one told us cigarettes could kill us.” Do we want to look back in 20 years from now and regret this very moment? The moment when the nation agreed to make a very addictive and dangerous drug easily accessible to our youth and society as a whole.
Contact Clearbrook For Marijuana Addiction Treatment
Are you or someone you know and love suffering from a marijuana addiction? If so, we will be able to help you. For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been treating alcoholism and drug addiction. Through the utilization of a variety of therapeutic tools, we have had the opportunity to treat our patients and their very specific needs. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, please contact our Admissions Specialists today. Recovery is real and possible…and it starts here.