Marijuana is a pretty hot topic these days in the political-drugs arena, second only to heroin, it seems. Legalization appears to be looming potentially in multiple states, though there have already been troubles in Colorado, where the drug has just been legalized for adults.
The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Nora Volkow, recently addressed the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations subpanel regarding the dangers of marijuana legalization on our society. Dr. Volkow not only reminded the Congressional members that many younger marijuana users go on to try heavier drugs afterward, but she also spoke of additional negative effects of the drug.
Recent studies involving marijuana use have shown a decrease in brain function, such as lowering IQ and causing memory loss. Dr. Volkow has previously spoken about the effects of long-term marijuana use.
“Beyond potentially lowering IQ,” wrote Volko, “teen marijuana use is linked to school dropout, other drug use, mental health problems, etc. Given the current number of regular marijuana users (about 1 in 15 high school seniors) and the possibility of this number increasing with marijuana legalization, we cannot afford to divert our focus from the central point: Regular marijuana use stands to jeopardize a young person’s chances of success—in school and in life.”
Let’s also not forget that it is the most widely used illicit drugs and also has the potential for dependency, which is indicated by the number of people seeking treatment for marijuana addiction each year.
Whether or not marijuana ultimately does receive legalization in more states remains to be seen, but the evidence showing its negative effects make a strong case against it. Regardless of what happens, it seems like there should be additional research done to learn more about its effects in both casual and chronic users.
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