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September 15, 2023

Why Marijuana Is Not as Harmless as You Think

In the past few years, we have watched as more and more states fight for the legalization of marijuana. The most repeated argument is that marijuana is a harmless substance. While the drug has become more mainstream and even legal in some states, the effects remain the same. Just like alcohol, opioids, and other addictive substances, marijuana can be just as dangerous. Let us explore the dangers of this substance and debunk a few common myths associated with it.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana, also known as weed or pot and a plethora of other slang terms, is a drug that is derived from the dried leaves of the cannabis plant. There are several ways in which people use marijuana, such as smoking it or using vaporizers. Users of this drug are typically drawn to the calming effect that it has on the body.

The primary chemical in marijuana is THC. This chemical allows people to experience a sense of euphoria and relaxation. Although the “high” that marijuana offers is not as extreme as some other substances, there are still significant side effects to its use.

What Are the Effects of Marijuana on the Body?

When smoked, the THC in marijuana is passed from the lungs throughout the bloodstream. There are both long-term and short-term effects of prolonged marijuana use. While individuals may experience a “high” after ingestion, like any other substance, it becomes a possibility that the individual will build up a tolerance and require a higher dosage to feel satisfied.

In the short term, the effects of using this drug include the following.

  • Changes in mood,
  • Difficulty thinking and problem-solving,
  • An altered sense of time,
  • Impaired memory.

On the other hand, long-term use can result in more significant consequences. Some of these consequences include:

  • Impaired brain development,
  • Hallucinations,
  • Delusions,
  • Psychosis.

Why Is Marijuana Dangerous?

Like alcohol, marijuana is a substance that is highly accessible and used by underage individuals. Just like any other substance that alters brain chemistry, marijuana is addictive. Regardless of the adverse effects, teens and preteens around the nation are being exposed earlier and earlier. In fact, studies have shown that large percentages of middle and high-school-aged students reported vaping.

One of the reasons that this substance is so dangerous is because of the popularization in today’s society. When a teenager whose brain and body are not fully developed begins to use this drug recreationally or frequently, it can pose a massive risk to their overall development. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana use can have permanent effects on a developing brain when regular or heavy use of the drug starts in adolescence.

Not only is marijuana dangerous for adolescents, but it can also have severe impacts in adulthood. When people become accustomed to using marijuana, they can develop a dependence and an addiction without even realizing it. For women who become pregnant, they might experience symptoms of withdrawal when they can no longer use marijuana. Other dangers of marijuana use include the following.

  • Impaired driving,
  • An increased risk for mental health problems,
  • Lung diseases,
  • Problems with child development during pregnancy and after.

Individuals might also experience symptoms of withdrawal when they attempt to quit use. These side effects can include grouchiness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and disinterest in things that would otherwise be important.

Debunking Myths About Marijuana Use

There are many misconceptions about marijuana use that aim to glorify the use of the substance. Whether it is legal or not, there are still negative consequences to the use of the drug. Here are a few myths that are associated with marijuana use and the truth behind them.

You Can’t Be Addicted to Marijuana

Like any other substance that offers a feeling of calm and euphoria, marijuana can be addictive. Not only does it alter the way an individual experiences things, but it also provides a desirable feeling that keeps a person coming back for more. When a person’s mood can be altered because they have not had a substance in a certain amount of time, that points to signs of dependence and addiction.

In fact, some individuals have reported that they are unable to eat or sleep without the drug. Long-term users of the drug have reported a variety of withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and cravings, after a long period without the drug.

Marijuana Is Safer Than Other Drugs

This could not be further from the truth. Individuals who use marijuana have impaired judgment. In fact, in some states where the drug is legal, it is still considered a crime to drive impaired. If caught driving while high, it is considered driving under the influence (DUI). This is because the drug impacts reaction time and motor coordination and impairs a person’s overall judgment.

Marijuana Is Good for Your Mental Health

Some might be convinced that because the drug offers a calming and relaxing sensation, it is good for your mental health. This is false. In fact, the use of the drug has been shown to worsen the symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. The short-lived feeling of euphoria is temporary. After that feeling passes, the same underlying problems still exist.

Reach Out to Inner Voyage Recovery Center for Help With Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana can be just as addictive as other substances. Like alcohol, legal does not mean safe. It is still a substance a person can become addicted to. At Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia, we treat multiple substance use disorders, including marijuana addiction.

If you are looking for a judgment-free center to overcome your marijuana addiction, Inner Voyage Recovery Center is the place for you. Addiction does not discriminate, and neither do we. We offer drug rehab to residents of Atlanta and its surrounding areas. Your recovery matters to us. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact us at Inner Voyage Recovery Center to take a tour of our facility. Let us help you live on your terms again.

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Author

  • Emily Rowe, LMSW

    Emily Rowe is the Clinical Director at Inner Voyage Recovery Center. She is a Licensed Master of Social Work with 8 years of experience in clinical settings covering one on one sessions, family sessions, group sessions, crisis interventions and suicidal prevention. Recognized by leadership and colleagues as forward thinking, creative, empathetic, active listener and effective.

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