Young marijuana smokers prone to mental and physical health issues
Recent polls have shown that most Americans are in favor of the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Thus, the day is not far when people will be seen smoking bongs and rolling joints in every nook and corner of the country, without the fear of jail time. But, studies have shown that a long-term use of pot can lead to lingering effects on the mind and the body. Thus, there is an urgent need for clear-cut guidelines indicating when its consumption can be considered as an abuse, especially in case of youngsters who are most likely to be impacted by its illegal consumption.
A recent study published in journal Health has demonstrated that early use, i.e., use of marijuana before one reaches the legal age of 21 can lead to dependency. However, this is the first study that looks into the age at the time of use. At the same time, youngsters who refrain from marijuana abuse until they reached the legal age are unlikely to be addicted to the drug.
Listed below are a few other drastic effects of early use of marijuana:
- High rate of cognitive impairment
- Decreased IQ level
- Increased probability of respiratory diseases
- Vulnerability to develop different types of cancers
The study also highlighted the need for carrying out in-depth researches to garner more information about effects of marijuana on people of all ages.
Early marijuana use and its impact on physical and mental health
Early marijuana use is associated with significant brain alterations and deterioration of physical health. Some of the physical and mental ailments associated with early marijuana use are:
Testicular cancer: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there is a definitive link between marijuana use by teens and the development of testicular cancer. Precisely, the development of early testicular cancer is an indication that the effects of marijuana are apparent within a few years of use.
Heart attack: The risk of cardiac arrest is five times higher within an hour of marijuana consumption. Marijuana is also responsible for a condition called orthostatic hypotension, wherein a person’s blood pressure falls suddenly when standing up.
Schizophrenia: Studies have shown that avoiding marijuana use until the legal age of 21 prevents anomalies such as poor memory, cognitive impairment and abnormal brain development.
Implications of pot legalization
The impact of legalization of marijuana is a bone of contention, with many critics pointing out that such a move would make it easier for adolescents to procure pot. However, there are many who believe that legalizing pot would result in a spike in teen abuse.
Surprisingly, states that have legalized the drug have seen a considerable decline in the number of marijuana addiction cases in recent times. For example, teen marijuana use dropped by 12 points during the period 2014-2015, after recreational marijuana markets were opened in the state of Colorado. A similar decline was also observed in the state of Washington that made recreational marijuana legal. State-level data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that in 18.35 percent of Coloradans aged 12-17 years had used marijuana in 2014 or 2015, down sharply from 20.81 percent in 2013-2014.
Road to recovery
Underage marijuana, as proved by several studies is responsible for onset of disorders like schizophrenia in later years. Teenagers using recreational marijuana are more likely to use a synthetic form of the drug, instead of the pure plant extract, used in medicines. Recreational marijuana not only leads to an addiction abuse to harder drugs; but also prevents teens from living a quality life.
If you know someone who is addicted to marijuana or any other substance, contact the 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline for information on the best inpatient drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-403-5607 or chat online with our experts to know about various drug addiction treatment centers in your area.