There has been a big push to legalize marijuana use throughout the United States. While some studies indicate possible health benefits, the substance isn’t completely harmless. Additionally, the lines between marijuana abuse, use, and addiction can get kind of blurry.
Marijuana is made from the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant. According to a University of Michigan study, over 22 million people use marijuana each month. Marijuana use impairs motor skills and coordination. Driving a car under the influence of marijuana is very dangerous. Smoking marijuana can lead to respiratory illnesses, including lung cancer. Children who smoke marijuana are four times more likely to be aggressive and commit crimes than those who don’t.
However, attitudes surrounding marijuana use are changing. In fact, consuming the drug is even legal in some states. With that in mind, it’s important to distinguish marijuana use from possible problematic behavior.
Some people who use marijuana do so because they have a legitimate prescription. Some even smoke socially on occasion with friends. However, marijuana abuse goes beyond a mere social habit.
Long-term marijuana abuse affects memory, learning skills, and job performance. Smoking marijuana can cause excessive sweating, a rapid heart rate, and breathing difficulties. In addition, some people may experience panic attacks and paranoia. People who started using marijuana as teenagers are four to seven times more likely to abuse marijuana as adults. Although it’s a fact that many like to deny, marijuana can act as a gateway drug. Many people who are addicted to stronger illegal drugs first started abusing marijuana to get high or avoid their problems.
Marijuana addiction develops when you become physically or psychologically dependent on the drug. Heavy marijuana users can even experience withdrawal symptoms. When this occurs, users may feel the need to use higher amounts of marijuana just to feel normal.
Another danger is the fact that users don’t always know what’s in their marijuana. More potent combinations have led to an increase in the number of marijuana-related hospital emergency room visits, including people suffering from the harsh effects of synthetic marijuana addiction.
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