Legalize marijuana. Protecting teens from marijuana.
Why marijuana makes kids dumb
We should legalize marijuana, but not because everyone should start smoking it, but so we can do a better job of regulating it's sale, controlling and taxing access, and also keeping it out of the hands of the very young.
As far as drugs go, marijuana is relatively harmless when used in moderation. It's not good for you per se, but you could do a lot worse; but marijuana is getting pretty potent these days, can be seriously intoxicating, and the risks of addiction and cognitive impairments are greater amongst young people…who are also a major group of users of the drug.
Risks of marijuana to teens
As with everything ( and even for teens) the risks increase with the frequency of use, and trying it one or two times is very unlikely to cause anyone much difficult; but regular us-- and the possibility of addiction--can be mentally, physically and socially very harmful.
- Marijuana use in teens greatly increases the probability of experiencing a major psychiatric condition later in life
- Marijuana use affects concentration and memory performance for up to a full day after smoking, and can seriously affect academic performance.
- Clinical studies have shown that kids who use marijuana 7 times a week or more were significantly behind their non drug using peers in mathematical ability, in verbal scoring and in memory retention.
- Marijuana is addictive, does induce a tolerance, and there is a recognized syndrome of withdrawal associated with cessation of use.
- Marijuana smoking can induce cancers similar to the smoking of cigarettes.
Is marijuana as harmless as we perceive it to be?
As a society we perceive marijuana as a fairly harmless drug, and many parents of today's teens have a personal history with the drug and experienced no real adverse effects for their usage. Things are a bit different today for two real reasons; firstly, the marijuana is as much as ten times stronger than the pot of a few decades ago, and secondly, the vast majority of marijuana users in decades past were 18 or older, and the average age of onset today is in the mid teens, with a significant number trying the drug before the age of 12.
We should legalize it, so adults can decide for themselves how they want to partake of this drug, and we waste precious resources in a fruitless battle against marijuana trafficking; but we should do a better job of keeping this drug out of the hands of kids. Marijuana smoking might very well harm them, they are at a greater risk for addiction (more teens are in rehab for marijuana than for anything else!)…and if nothing else, they are at risk of complete incomprehension in math class!
Parents need to be aware that marijuana at today's potency can induce addiction, and be on the lookout for signs of dependency in their children. Professional help is available for those unable to quit on their own.