Make no mistake, marijuana is a popular drug. Among high school seniors, 45 percent use marijuana at least once in their lifetime.1 However, this does not mean the drug is safe. Today scientists know more than ever about the dangers of marijuana use. Unfortunately, many people use marijuana without concern for the damage it can do. This article will look at some of the facts and myths about marijuana use.
Myth 1: Marijuana Is a Natural Substance.
Marijuana is often described as a form of herb, plant or grass. People who use the drug may claim that it is safe because it grows naturally and is nurtured only by sunlight and rain. In reality, sophisticated drug dealers will do almost anything to make their products more potent and harder to resist. As a result, many dealers lace their drugs with all sorts of unnatural chemicals such as PCP, formaldehyde, codeine and cocaine.
These underground dealers are not required to share their ingredient lists. In addition, they’re not required to prove the purity of the products they sell. As a result, they can do whatever they want to the marijuana. Users may never know what they’re consuming until they have a reaction of some sort. Some of the products sold as marijuana are mass produced, chemically altered and laboratory adjusted. Those who believe that their products are natural just because dealers say so may be deceived on a regular basis.
Myth 2: People Have Used Marijuana for Decades, Proving It’s Harmless.
In the 1960s and 1970s, marijuana entered the cultural consciousness.As a result, it is relatively easy to find songs, movies, television shows and even artwork that glorifies marijuana use. Some people who abuse marijuana point to these cultural touchstones as proof that the drug is harmless. After all, if the drug were truly dangerous, there would be scores of people now dealing with damage from past drug use. The potent chemical in marijuana, THC, is responsible for the effects of the drug.It’s also responsible for some of the damage caused by repeated use. According to research, THC levels in marijuana has been on the rise for years, and now marijuana is approximately seven times stronger today than it was in the 1970s.2 Studies like this suggest that the modern marijuana simply isn’t the same as the drug of the past. As a result, comparing modern marijuana and its impact on users to the substance and impact of past decades doesn’t stack up.
Myth 3: Marijuana’s Effects Are Temporary.
There is a commonly accepted myth that when an individual uses marijuana, the drug only changes the user’s feelings for a short period of time. Once that effect wears off, the user feels as normal once again. In reality, the changes caused by marijuana can linger, and they can change the way people feel for long periods of time. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that marijuana can change portions of the brain responsible for learning and memory.3 As a result, people who abuse marijuana may struggle with names and faces, and they may even have lower IQ levels. Even if the individual stops drug use, the damage remains. It’s clear that this drug doesn’t just cause temporary changes—the damage can be permanent.
Myth 4: The Relaxation Caused by Marijuana Can Help People to Succeed in Life.
When under the influence of marijuana, the individual’s mind becomes sedated and calm. In fact, some users believe the peace they feel allows them to navigate the stressful modern world with more poise. Unfortunately, marijuana use makes an individual’s success less likely. Research shows that when a marijuana user is compared with someone who does not use marijuana, users have lower grades and are more likely to drop out of school.4
Myth 5: Marijuana Isn’t Addictive.
Some people claim that marijuana isn’t an addictive drug because it doesn’t cause persistent chemical changes in the brain that might lead to drug addiction. They claim that even heavy users can stop using the drug anytime. In reality, marijuana can and does cause addiction in people who use it, and chemical changes are to blame for this behavior.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that one in 11 people who use marijuana will become dependent on it. In addition, those who begin using the drug in adolescence have a one-in-six chance of dependence.5 These people may find that they need to take higher doses of the drug in order to feel the same effects. Escalation of use and a withdrawal syndrome are components that are found in people who use and abuse marijuana. Clearly, marijuana use is harmful.
Myth 6: Marijuana Changes Only the Brain.
Some of the common signs of marijuana use include relaxation, slurred speech and a feeling of lethargy. All of these sensations begin in the brain. As a result, it’s reasonable for people who take marijuana to believe that the drug they’re using only works on the brain. However, scientists know that marijuana can cause changes in other parts of the body, and these changes might not always be easy for people to feel or understand. For example, marijuana use may double the risk of stroke in young adults. In fact, strokes may take place long after sobriety had returned, which seems to indicate that the drug can cause long-term damage.6 Those who believe that the drug impacts only the cells of the brain overlook the damage that takes place in other parts of their bodies.
What You Can Do
If you or someone you love struggles with a marijuana problem, help is available right now. At Michael’s House, we offer the highest quality care to help you get clean. Once our drug treatment program is complete, individuals have the ability to live a life without drug abuse or dependence. Our state-of-the-art facility, nestled in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, can help you find a peaceful new life without drug dependence today. Please call now.
1 “Marijuana.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Accessed 8 February 2018.
2 “Potency of Marijuana.” Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute.Accessed 8 February 2018.
3 “Marijuana.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. August 2017.
4 “Marijuana Facts For Teens.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. May 2015.
5 “Marijuana.” Office of National Drug Control Policy.Accessed 8 February 2018.
6 “Evidence Linking Marijuana And Risk Of Stroke Grows.” American Heart Association. February 19, 2015.