MARIJUANA FACT SHEET:
The Council on Alcoholism and Other Chemical Dependencies of the Finger Lakes is opposed to the use of marijuana as a recreational drug.
Research on the health and safety effects of marijuana strongly correlates with many mental, emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual problems. In addition, many crimes, accidents, job and school performance problems have been associated with the use of marijuana. While not everyone that uses marijuana becomes drug dependent, the reality is that as with alcohol and other drugs marijuana use certainly can lead to profound, chronic and progressive chemical dependency.
Its use can be very serious, dangerous,
o According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, in 2002, there were 119,472 marijuana related admissions into hospital emergency rooms (a 164% increase since 1995.)
o According to the Department of Health and Human Services TEDS (Treatment Episode Data Set), in 2001 there were 255,394 admissions of people into drug treatment programs who stated that marijuana was their primary drug of addiction (a 176% increase since 1992.)
o According to a major study of motor vehicle collision victims in a regional Trauma Unit in Toronto, marijuana was the most commonly found drug in impaired drivers other than alcohol!
o Marijuana is a very powerful, psychopharmacological substance. A very small amount of cannabis (i.e. 2-3 mg of THC) can produce a high for the occasional user; but the psychoactive effects are remarkably varied. At moderate to high doses mood varies considerably with anxiety and panic sometimes reported, and depression may be enhanced. Impairment of short term memory, disturbances in thought patterns, lapses in attention, depersonalization, and sensory distraction also occur. Larger doses can bring on stronger distortions of time and space, and illusions. Large doses can result in mental confusion and panic reactions. Extremely large doses can cause hallucinations, and marijuana flashbacks have been reported by some users.
o Research has consistently demonstrated that there are potentially serious and damaging physical effects from marijuana use and abuse to the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, in causing precancerous and cancerous growths, to the endocrine system, and the immune system. Cannabis can also inhibit the intracellular synthesis of proteins, DNA and RNA, and inhibit cell division, similar to alcohol and the opioids.
o Research has long implicated Cannabis as both a causative factor in the development of mental illness and personality problems, and as an exacerbating factor where mental illness is a pre-existing or concurrent condition. Recent research has largely supported these earlier findings especially in noting a relationship between marijuana use and schizophrenia, depression, borderline personality, suicide attempt and self-injury histories, panic reactions, and anti-social personality characteristics.
o Marijuana has been found to be connected to employee problems on the job; to impaired cognitive skills and learning at school, and both dropping out and academic underachievement; to impaired driving and an increased risk for auto accidents; and marijuana has been found definitely related to crime.
o There are scores of scientific studies that prove that marijuana is a harmful, addictive drug. As with alcohol and all drugs, marijuana can certainly lead to profound, chronic and progressive chemical dependency. Marijuana is currently up to 25 times more potent than it was in the sixties making the drug even more addictive, and many say that quitting marijuana is much more difficult than they thought (even than quitting cocaine).
o Fetal Marijuana Related Birth Defects: Studies show that marijuana may seriously affect fetal development. Lower birth weights, a shorter gestation period, major malformations, and the occurrence of miscarriages increases with marijuana use.
Marijuana Can Mess You Up
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