More than 30 states have passed laws that permit the use of cannabis and a myriad of products containing THC—the psychoactive ingredient that causes euphoria. Some states only allow people to use the drug for medical purposes, while other states permit adult recreational marijuana use.
The findings of 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) shows that 22% of those aged 19-22 perceived regular use of marijuana as carrying a significant risk of harm. That is a five percentage point decline from the previous year and the lowest level since 1980, according to the University of Michigan. The research is somewhat concerning because marijuana use is not without risks.
Comparatively speaking, cannabis isn’t the most dangerous mind-altering substance. Some people use the drug to varying degrees for the majority of their lives and face very few side effects. However, there is a growing body of research that suggests the drug can wreak havoc on developing brains. What’s more, regular use can lead to dependence and addiction.
People living in states that permit the use of cannabis should have all the facts about prolonged use, especially young people. The MTF survey shows that marijuana use among U.S. college students is at a new 35-year high. Given the reduction in perceived risk, many young people could be on a path to addiction or other problems unknowingly.
Moreover, marijuana being smoked today is far more potent than in years past owing to enhanced growing techniques. Researchers are still trying to figure out what long-term effects this will have on individuals. It’s worth noting that young people are vaping highly concentrated THC oils and distillates, the long-term ramifications of which are not yet known.
Surgeon General Warning On Cannabis Addiction
At a recent press conference, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that cannabis is not safe for teens, young adults, and pregnant women, NPR reports. Surveys indicate that the number of adolescents and pregnant women using the drug is rising. Adams added that a large number of people do not understand how potent marijuana is today.
“While the perceived harm of marijuana is decreasing, the scary truth is that the actual potential for harm is increasing,” said Adams. He adds that, “The higher the THC delivery, the higher the risk.”
The surgeon general pointed out that nearly 1 in 5 adolescents who use cannabis become addicted, according to the article. He explains that regular marijuana use among young people can impair attention, memory, and decision-making. They may also begin to struggle in school. More research is necessary to understand better the drug’s true impact on developing brains.
What research can tell us is that cannabis is not a benign substance, mainly when used in large amounts. Millions of Americans meet the criteria for cannabis use disorder, and those who try to quit can experience withdrawal symptoms. Without professional assistance, relapse is likely to occur.
Please take a moment to listen to a short broadcast on the subject:
If you use cannabis regularly and have trouble quitting even though it interferes with aspects of your life, then please reach out for help. Addiction treatment can help you break the cycle of addiction and begin the journey of recovery.
California Addiction Treatment Center
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we have extensive experience in treating marijuana addiction or cannabis use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and to determine if HVRC is right for you or a loved one. Recovery is possible, and we can help.