According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in America. The drug has high popularity among adolescents and young adults, and medical emergencies involving its use are increasing.
America’s Marijuana Use
In 2011, NSDUH reported that there were approximately 456,000 hospital emergency room visits involving the use of marijuana. It is still illegal to use, possess or sell marijuana in the U.S. but some States have legalized its use for medical and non-medical purposes. Laws are also being changed in some States to decriminalize marijuana for personal use.
Many law enforcement professionals agree that arrests and incarceration are not the proper tools to handle the marijuana problem. To really help people stop taking drugs, the proper health care treatment programs are proven to be the most effective. Law enforcement laws and systems have to be changed regarding marijuana use, and the problem should be directed toward health care facilities.
Where Does Marijuana Come From?
Marijuana comes from the hemp plant and can be smoked, eaten, vaped or brewed into a tea. The plant contains two psychoactive compounds that affect people differently. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the compounds found in marijuana, affects visual perception which is the first stage of memory development in the brain. THC also creates feelings of euphoria, paranoia, psychosis, an increase in appetite and dependency on the drug. THC is the component that makes marijuana addictive, and the newer strains of the plant are being developed to increase the level of addictive THC. High levels of THC remain in the body because it is stored in the fat cells and is slowly released. THC causes the impairment of memory formation, intelligence and brain neural-transmissions.
The other psychoactive compound found in marijuana is cannabidiol (CBD). There is naturally occurring cannabidiol in the brain that is involved with normal brain development, and CBD from marijuana increases those levels. CBD is the component that prevents marijuana dependency and new strains of the drug are being developed to contain less and less of it. This causes the new marijuana to be increasingly highly addictive. CBD also protects the brain against psychosis and cognitive impairment.
Long-term use of marijuana drug abuse causes a decrease in the volume of the striatum and thalamus areas of the brain. This decrease in volume is similar to the brains of schizophrenics, and this seems to be the reason why marijuana addicts develop schizophrenia. The brain will continue to be damaged by marijuana abuse and overtime the addict may develop mental disorders, some of which are: psychosis, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia.
Marijuana Myths, Lies, and Deception
Today, in America, marijuana addicts have created a culture of marijuana based upon myths, lies and deception. Many are in denial about the real dangers of using marijuana and want to create a “feel good” approach to using the drug. Many marijuana addicts believe that the drug they use today is a lot weaker than that used in the “hippie era”. The truth is that the marijuana in use today is from twenty to forty percent stronger in THC levels and much more dangerous to the brain and body. This marijuana is called “turbo marijuana” on the street.
Another myth that young people believe about marijuana is that it is actually good for them physically. The truth is that it is really bad for them. The Journal of the American Heart Association reported in an article that marijuana use increases the risk for cardio-vascular disease. Smoking marijuana also damages the lungs and causes chronic and acute bronchitis. Research has shown that use of the drug damages the cell lining of the lungs. Marijuana use also causes brain structural damage, memory loss and risk for developing schizophrenia. It causes the onset of psychosis in young users who are also more prone to develop cognitive impairment from marijuana use.
The list of facts continues to conclusively prove that marijuana is not good for your health, but actually detrimental. The use of marijuana leads to school problems, aggression, risky behavior, increased risk of suicide, problems with memory and concentration, psychosis, respiratory problems, lung cancer, lower intelligence, depression, anxiety, anger and more. Myths, lies and deception aside, marijuana abuse will negatively affect your quality of life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.