There could be a vast array of benefits that come with legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. First of all, patients who have a qualifying medical condition would be able to benefit from the purported properties of the plant. Then there is the fact that marijuana appears to have less side effects and public health concerns than traditional pharmaceuticals, and profits from legalized medical marijuana could actually benefit society as a whole.
However, legalizing marijuana for recreational use is an entirely different concept, and one that concerns many people. The parties that are lobbying to fully legalize marijuana assert that legalization will allow the production and sale of marijuana to be taken out of the hands of drug cartels and illegal dealers, instead placing the responsibility with licensed manufacturers and retailers. Apparently, legalization would permit the taxes from marijuana sales to be channeled into health and education systems, which would be much better than the current situation where only individual drug dealers benefit financially.
Be that as it may, there are a few drawbacks to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. One of the main issues is that legalization conveys a message to impressionable young people that marijuana is safe and acceptable. The other issue is that it might end up easier for minors to buy marijuana, despite the fact that it will apparently only be accessible to those over 21 years of age. Much the same as liquor, teenagers can simply find older siblings or companions to buy cannabis for them. Yet, having said that, it is currently incredibly easy for youngsters to buy marijuana, even if it is purchased illegally.
So, What’s Wrong With Marijuana?
Physically, cannabis can cause fatigue, and the act of smoking can increase the dangers of heart disease and cancer, particularly lung cancer. Studies have shown that smoking marijuana is less carcinogenic than nicotine, but there is still a health risk associated with smoking of any kind. Neurologically, marijuana is a notable trigger for psychological illnesses, as high-THC strains can lead to paranoia and, in drastic cases, psychosis. The damage it can cause to a developing brain can be very negative, which is why it is so bad for teenagers. This is caused by THC, however, so it is much safer to buy CBD oil instead.
In ordinary brain development, significant changes occur in brain structure and function during the adolescent years. Healthy brain function and development should be upheld through a healthy diet, enough rest, and other positive lifestyle factors. So consider the outcome if the developing brain doesn’t get the perfect requirements for ordinary development and instead is exposed to neurologically-toxic substances such as marijuana and other medications.
A portion of the brain damage that has been identified includes changes to the working memory – even two years after stopping usage.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Studies have shown that marijuana is not actually addictive, or at least no more addictive than other legal substances such as alcohol or video gaming. However, it is widely used in the youth community. This often results in the youngster losing their motivation to take part in learning, as the effects of THC on the developing brain can lead to apathy. The alarmist images of marijuana smokers as walking zombies are a bit extreme, but the consequences of cannabis on the developing teenager should still be noted.
A worrying matter is that strains of cannabis are getting stronger and stronger. Young people are smoking high-THC strains, and this is becoming normalized. The youth of today begin smoking marijuana at parties, and may soon begin to smoke each week and, before they know it, they are seeking it out every day. Vast quantities of young people are smoking marijuana multiple times every day just to feel ‘normal’. This kind of usage can dramatically affect their developing brain – as well as their lungs if they smoke it. It can also affect them financially – marijuana is expensive.
Tragically, even those that choose to stop using cannabis may not be able to repair the damage that was done to their brain during the development stage. Therapist Dr Paula Riggs cited the measurements from a long-term study in New Zealand that was conducted on young people who routinely smoked marijuana. The study was carried out over more than 38 years and found that there was a 6-8 point reduction in IQ in regular marijuana users, which can influence individuals for whatever remains of their lives.
It is clear that there are some positives to marijuana usage, or it would not be being legalized for medical usage in numerous states. However, it is also clear that marijuana – or at the very least THC – is not good for the developing brains of young people. If this is the case, why is it being legalized recreationally in some places, too?
There is a school of thought that legalizing marijuana recreationally would hand the reins of responsibility over to the state, where stricter laws would prevent as many young people from getting their hands on potentially dangerous substances.