high or brain destroyer?
Drug misuse and abuse has existed from the beginning of time, especially those drugs which are found growing naturally. The use of marijuana has increased significantly and is often underestimated in its risk capacity. Scientific studies increasingly suggest it may not be the risk-free high that many users and non-users believe it to be. However, it is still widely perceived by young smokers as relatively harmless.
Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Since THC is the main active chemical in marijuana, the amount of THC determines its strength or potency and therefore its effects. The THC content of marijuana has been increasing since the 1980s. All forms of marijuana are mind-altering; they change how the brain works.
The risk to both physical and mental health is becoming frighteningly evident, unfortunately predominantly among young people. It is presenting itself in significantly higher incidences of hallucinations, paranoia and the triggering of psychotic illness in adolescent users. Although the risks are dangerous to all ages, the developing brain can be the most severely damaged through cannabis use.
Brain development in childhood continues through teenage years and into the early 20s. Cannabis affects how the brain’s regulator controls things like mood and memory. The fragile circuitry that is developing in the teenage brain that allows for risk-taking is being tampered with and cannabis can alter the system that’s there to regulate things. These effects cannot be corrected. If damage is done to the brain during growth, it will forever be affected.
Studies of frequent adolescent users suggest those who start smoking early have a higher tendency to develop psychotic illnesses. While cannabis use is not to be condoned, if you are going to indulge, it would be wise to avoid doing so until later in life when the brain has stopped developing. It can worsen psychotic symptoms in people who already have the mental illness schizophrenia, and it can increase the risk of long-lasting psychosis in some people.
For many, repeated use leads to addiction; controlling the drug use becomes difficult and a person often cannot stop even if they wanted to. Like most abused substances, it alters judgment leading to risky behaviours that can expose the user to danger in all sorts of dimensions. Regular use of marijuana has also been linked to depression, anxiety, and a loss of drive or motivation, which means a loss of interest even in previously enjoyable activities.
Of course, not everyone who smokes marijuana will become addicted. Each person is affected in different ways and that can depend on many factors including genetics, the age you start using, whether you also use other drugs, family and peer relationships.
People are often heard saying that they have used marijuana for decades with no psychotic effect and there may be rare cases where this appears to be so, but if you were to ask people closest to the users they would no doubt tell a different story.
Users may function well enough, hold down a job, continue in school and lead an apparently normal life, but the likelihood is that they experience and exhibit some negative personality traits that are enhanced by smoking. High doses of marijuana can cause disturbed perceptions and thoughts or paranoia. Users are not necessarily aware of this but family members, partners or friends will be and it can have a negative effect on relationships.
Even those users who manage to stay in school will be more likely to experience school failure due to adverse effects on memory, attention and learning. If you use regularly; alertness, concentration, and coordination will diminish. Combined, this makes it difficult to learn something new or do complex tasks that require focus and concentration. Daily use can cause the brain to become ‘dimmed down’ and result in lower grades and high dropout rates. Research even shows that IQ can be lower if you smoke marijuana regularly in your teen years.
The irreversible consequences of using this drug at an early age can be devastating. It can significantly impede development of key brain functions that are vital for the perusal of successful adulthood. The financial burden and high instances of addiction are detrimental aspects that can affect those closest to you significantly. Believing there are no effects or consequences is a dangerous oversight to make about your physical and mental health. As with many drugs, the highs will eventually be over and you will be left with the long-term effects of the lows.