Marijuana Abuse Today: How A Relaxed View Of Marijuana Is Leaving Today’s Youth Uneducated And At Risk

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Marijuana Goes Recreational

As of June 2015 23 states have legalized marijuana in some form, of these states Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and Washington DC have legalized it for personal recreational use.  It seems absurd as someone who grew up in the 90’s when marijuana was still on the banned list and it was taught in school that marijuana was as bad as any other controlled drug that in a short twenty years, the collective American psyche would come full circle and allow recreational marijuana in four states and the capitol with proposed recreational use becoming legal in another 9 states. Although the tax revenue created by recreational sale of marijuana is immense, complete legality of this substance and the relaxed mentality resulting from said laws will possibly leave our youth at risk of not knowing the dangers of abusing marijuana.

The Effects Of Marijuana On a Developing Teen

Marijuana is the most commonly abused substance by teens in the United States. Generally smoked by teens using the drug, the ever increasing legal sale of the drug is making it easier for our youth to get the active ingredients in marijuana in vaporizer pens and edibles that make it harder to detect the use of the substance, therefore increasing the use among teens. Unlike adults, the teen brain is still developing; often well into their 20’s. Drug abuse during this time of development can have long lasting detrimental effects on a teens brain to properly grow in areas such as, emotional development, academic retention and social interactions. In the Journal Clinical EEG and Neuroscience one study reported how teen use of marijuana can actually affect the physical makeup of the brain negatively affecting the volume of brain structure, quality of white matter in the brain as well as the user’s ability to perform cognitive functions.

How THC Works In The Brain

Delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol, also known as THC, is the main active ingredient in marijuana. While in some way it affects almost every organ in the human body, the developing brain of a teenager is where the most impact is noticed. The THC introduced into the brain affects the way that sensory information is processed in the hippocampus, part of the limbic system in the brain that controls memory and learning as well as the combination of experiences with emotion and motivation. While the THC introduced in the brain is suppressing the neurons in the hippocampus, learned behavior begins to deteriorate; therefore the ability to handle stimuli productively is stunted. Long term abuse of marijuana by teens just increases the risk for permanent damage.

Finding A Balance For Legal Marijuana

How do adults who want cannabis legal prove to the world that it can be used responsibly while properly educating their children in the dangers of using marijuana while they are still maturing? I think the answer is in educating one’s self about the risks of using cannabis. While there is proven to be mild medical benefits in cannabis the results are still out on the long lasting social effects that recreationally legal weed will have on this country. Just like any other drug or alcohol abuse problem the fact remains that is marijuana is getting in the way of fulfilling obligations to yourself or your families and loved ones, it is a problem. As the old saying goes, too much of anything is not a good thing, legal cannabis is no different. Educate yourself so we can continue to educate future generations on the use of marijuana.

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