On the ballots in this year’s election, legal marijuana was a big factor in many different states. After the votes were counted, it became official. Pot is now legal for recreational use in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada. It has been made legal for medicinal use in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas. Fans of the drug are celebrating, but the fact of the matter is that it is still just that – a drug.
Legal Marijuana Doesn’t Make Abuse Ok
A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that because a substance is legal, it is safe. This is not the case whatsoever. All you have to do is look at how many deaths are caused as a result of alcohol per year to realize this. Nearly 88,000 people die in the U.S. alone per year from alcohol abuse. It shortens the lives of those who abuse it by an average of 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
You can also look at prescription medication, which is also legal. It is leading the opioid epidemic that is currently ravaging the country. According to results from a 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is estimated that 2.4 million Americans use prescription pills for non-medicinal use. This is leading to a lot of death and destruction.
Marijuana, while viewed by many as not as destructive as alcohol, is one of the newest substances to become legal, and with becoming legal will almost certainly come a rise in use. It’s important to remember that no matter what your views on marijuana are, it is a substance that changes your mood, and with that can almost certainly come dependence. Dependence means you have trouble going through day-to-day activities without using it.
Marijuana dependence has a number of negative consequences, including:
- Respiratory problems that are caused by the common method of ingestion, which is smoking pot.
- Anxiety and/or depression.
- Poor memory.
- Irregular, or fast heartbeat.
- Slowed motor skills.
Withdrawal from pot use can cause negative emotions and physical reactions as well, including intense craving for it, anxiety and irritability, sleeplessness, and a lack of appetite. As another negative effect, marijuana can cause cancer in the lungs and other areas in the body. This is especially the case when it is smoked in a blunt, because the blunt wrapper retains tobacco in it, combining the negative health effects of both.
If you currently use pot, or are thinking about trying it due to its new legality, beware of the potential negative consequences. If you haven’t smoked yet, it isn’t worth picking up. And, if you smoke and think you may have a problem, get help for your addiction as soon as possible.