When our President said that marijuana is no more dangerous to a person’s health than alcohol, not everyone agreed. Consider these 1o points:
1) The American Medical Association opposes marijuana legalization and continues to see it as a public health concern.
2) Stuart Gitlow, director of the Annenberg Physician Training Program in Addictive Disease at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, says that marihuana use can cause a loss of productivity.
3) Gitlow also notes that in 1% of heavy users, psychosis is possible. And marijuana use impairs perception, judgment, thinking, memory, and learning.
4) Marijuana can be addictive, even though fewer than 10% of uses become dependent.
5) Marijuana does contain carcinogens, including tar and other toxins. That said, people don’t tend to smoke marijuana in the same quantities as cigarettes.
6) Today’s marijuana is more potent than days gone by. It contains a higher concentration in THC. Here is the science: “The human brain’s cannabinoid receptors are typically activated by naturally occurring chemicals in the body called endocannabinoids, which are similar to THC. There is a high density of cannabinoid receptors in parts of the brain that affect pleasure, memory and concentration. Some research suggests that these areas continue to be affected by marijuana use even after the “high” dissipates” (Quote from Well by Roni Rabin, Jan 17, 2014). Memory defects may persist six weeks after last use.
7) According to Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens who start smoking at an early age tend to smoke more and more often, heightening their risk of addiction.
8) Those with an addiction, have withdrawal of anxiety, sleep problems, appetite and mood changes, irritability and depression.
9) Brain scans show that people who start smoking before 16 may lose cognitive function later in their brains.
10) A regular habit can take a toll on the lungs.
The greatest concern is adding another health risk to the teen population. Smoking pot impacts the developing brain and we don’t have enough long term data to know the extent of that impact. We do know that smoking marijuana affects health, brain function and memory. This is based on science, not someone’s opinion.