Although not viewed as a drug by all, the legalization of marijuana can create potential health risks.
Many people were happy to hear that the legalization of marijuana had spread to the state laws of Colorado and Washington. The drug seems harmless, but there are potential health risks associated with the drug’s use, and even more so with the legalization of its growth, sale, and consumption.
Eighteen of the United States now allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and now the two states mentioned above have full legalization, or specified amounts each person within the state is allowed to have and/or to grow. Is this progression going to affect the age at which individuals start smoking weed? Will the categorization of weed as a legal substance like alcohol lead to the acceptance of the substance’s use and abuse?
Marijuana contains carcinogens similar to cigarettes, and the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has at least doubled in the last two decades.
The main risks from the legalization of marijuana involves permission to smoke that is granted to young people who believe that smoking weed is harmless and of no concern to them. If the age of first use becomes younger, and the THC concentration and the amount smoked increases, health risks are real.
Legalization Of Marijuana Health Risks
The frontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for planning and for abstract thinking, is most affected by smoking weed. If a young person starts partaking because marijuana becomes legal in his or her state, let’s say before age 16, there is a possibility that the frontal cortex will never become active and they will spend a lifetime battling marijuana addiction.
Repercussions: low IQ scores, inability to focus, complications in everyday decision-making, increased impulsivity, and negative impacts on executive functioning, which includes the brain’s ability to plan, organize, strategize, pay attention to and remember details, and to manage space and time.
The impact of smoking weed is real and should be taken into account when state and federal lawmakers decide on marijuana as a controlled substance.
Listen to Sovereign Health guest speaker Marcia Ullett speak on drug addiction: