Kids like to be cool, but not too many like to be dumb; but that’s just what kids who are smoking marijuana are doing to themselves. I unfortunately speak from the voice of experience here, and I can remember (foggily) a couple of years in high school during which time I smoked marijuana almost daily, and also during which time I lost almost complete interest in participating in school. But not only did I lose all interest in school…I seemed to lose all interest in thinking as well! That was a great many years ago, and since estimates have today’s pot as 300%-600% stronger than the pot I grew up on…I can only guess how today’s stoners even manage to tie their shoelaces!
Some quick facts on marijuana and thinking ability
*Kids with a D average are 400% more likely to light up than kids with an A average.
*Smoking marijuana causes impaired concentration and memory performance for 24 hours after lighting up…you can see how a daily joint could have a serious impact!
*A recent study showed that people who used marijuana 7 times per week or more had significant deficits in verbal and mathematical abilities, and in memory retention.
*The effects of marijuana on the brain are exaggerated when marijuana is used by teens, with still developing brains.
Marijuana is addictive
Early marijuana use is a significant predictor of later drug problems
Marijuana use is associated with increased risks for schizophrenia and depression
We as a society have a problem. We are too often spreading the message that marijuana use is relatively harmless, that it’s a natural weed and even a beneficial medicine; and that the long term risks of marijuana use are negligible…and part of the problem is that many of today’s parents grew up in a cultural period very tolerant to marijuana use.
The difference today is that marijuana users don’t start in college…they start in high school or junior high (49% of high school seniors have tried marijuana!) and that marijuana today is estimated as 600% stronger than the marijuana of a few decades ago. With increasing potency comes increasing problems, including the very real possibility of developing a marijuana addiction.
Marijuana’s usefulness as a medicine remains controversial and even disputed, and it remains an illicit substance in most of the country. Pro marijuana groups seem especially concerned with spreading the propaganda of marijuana as medicine, whereas doctor’s groups have been far more cautious, and most groups suggest that the risks and harms outweigh any benefits.
Marijuana is dangerous, it does have consequences…it does make you dumb!
Teens need to be made aware of the true risks of marijuana usage, and parents also need to get educated as to the risks of today’s marijuana. Whether through decreased school performance, an increased risk for psychiatric conditions, criminal justice system involvement, increased aggression or intoxicated driving, and ultimately a serious risk for addiction, the dangers of heavy marijuana smoking a real, are many and are significant.
There is a lingering perception that government is somehow misleading us as to the dangers of marijuana, and in the past this likely was so (see the movie "reefer madness") and unfortunately this has greatly reduced their credibility on marijuana issues. The reality is that today’s marijuana is dangerous, the information presented by health and governmental groups accurate, and the risks of heavy smoking high.
Teens (or anyone) unable to stop smoking marijuana may need professional intervention and treatment.