If you have ever tried marijuana, you would have experienced many feelings, physically and neurologically. People who use marijuana can feel paranoid, anxious or afraid. You won’t hear that from proponents of the drug. They will tell you that it has many positive medical purposes; that it makes a person feel relaxed and can take away pain and nausea. In addition, they will insist that it is a “benign” drug and is not addictive. Others would argue that it impairs a person’s physical mobility, reflexes, judgment and thinking. It also can be very habit forming. One could certainly say there is a lot of controversy around the pros and cons of marijuana use.
As of May 2017, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some way (mostly for medicinal purposes) and seven states have legalized it for recreational purposes. These days, our society seems to be overlooking the negative aspects of marijuana. New jobs, taxes and other income related to legalizing marijuana have swayed many states and voters to change legislation.
So why might our society turn a blind eye to this drug? It is widely believed that marijuana is a “recreational” drug. It has been around for years. Harkening back to the days of peace and love of the 1960’s, it seems to have developed the reputation of a relatively harmless drug that rarely affects the user negatively. It’s a natural herb that calms a person, enhances friendships and might even increase creativity. Avid marijuana users will tell you that they do not black out from it (unlike alcohol). Proponents of marijuana use will also say that users are rarely, if ever, violent.
However, there is another side to this “magical” thinking. I have spoken to several parents on this matter and there is no doubt that marijuana causes an attitude change for the worse. Parents have told me that their children (both teens and adults) have exhibited fits of rage when using the drug; a dramatic change from previous behavior. Moreover, the responsible kid they once knew had now become lazy, detached and generally moody. Not to mention, their grades in school have dropped and they now are getting into trouble in class. Finally, along with other problems they seem to lack the focus they once had and their purpose in life is now more complicated than ever.
That being said, legalizing this drug has created some crazy statistics related to its capitalization. A recent article highlights some of the most startling profit and employment data related to the expanding industry. One claim is that if marijuana was legalized in all 50 states, profits would easily exceed ice cream sales in the country!
So, the next time you hear about how “harmless” marijuana is and the big tax profits it will bring to your community, think about one former patient who said he would “never try heroin”. But, because he was high on pot his curiosity got the best of him. Both his impulse control and judgment were altered and he made a life-changing decision. He had a momentary lack of judgment that he would not have had, if his mind weren’t so clouded by that seemingly not so innocent joint. He then became a full-blown heroin addict and has struggled to stay clean.