This article provides up-to-date information about the side effects and consequences of substance use and abuse, specifically the effects of Marijuana on the growing brains of our children. Marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, ecstasy, tobacco, heroin, inhalants, Adderall and other psychoactive drugs and over the counter medications are examples of these addictive, chemical-based drugs that alter the mind and damage brain cells, damage body organs and interrupt our control over our thoughts, feelings, actions and behavior.
Translation: These substances will impact your brain and influence your personality; and your brain determines who you are, what you do, how you learn and how you feel.
In my 35 years of practice as a psychotherapist and 15 years as a Neuro-Integration therapist (The science of balancing & healing the brain), I have never seen this much attraction, availability and desirability to abuse drugs and medications amongst our youth ( and adults).
America has the highest rate of adolescent and adult drug use among all industrialized nations. It seems as if our youth, now more than ever, are looking to find ways to feel relaxed, numb, and free of stress.
Sadly, our youth has developed a culture of self-medicating in order to deal with their problems (or not to deal with problems?). This attitude of self-medicating traumatizes the brain and endangers our youth’s wellbeing and their success in the future. By not considering the risks involved with self- medication many lives are put in danger. A very common, yet shocking example of this is when students drive to school under the influence, endangering their lives and the lives of their peers.
What is Marijuana?
The most commonly used illegal drug in the world is Marijuana or weed. Marijuana and Hashish are in the family of Cannabis and are made from an Indian hemp plant. They use the flowers, seeds or leaves of the hemp tree to sell to the public. Our children usually argue that Marijuana is a plant and therefore not harmful so as to have their parent’s approval.
The answer is: Yes, it is a plant and No, it is not safe.
THC VS CBD ( 2 MAJOR COMPONENTS IN MARIJUNA):
THC: The THC in Marijuana is a psychotropic drug, a hallucinogen (psychedelics), which makes people high, damages the brain cells(stays between the cells for about 40 days),distorts
reality, our perception and awareness of the world around us. The younger the person, the more harmful the drug use is to their growing brain. There are over 400 chemicals that create this distortion and alteration in the brain and the main ingredient affecting the brain is called “THC” (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
The amount of THC varies from plant to plant but the fact is that the percentage of THC has greatly increased in the past 20 years, making Marijuana to be even more potent and harmful. Just remember that The THC remains in the brain for weeks if not more and gradually destroys the brain neurotransmitters (messengers) and destroy our organs (especially our brains) and damages the immune system.
CBD: The CBD hemp oil is the medical marijuana which does not have psychoactive effects and does not make the person high. CBD works differently from THC and does not damage the brain cells. The medical field is learning more about the potential benefits of CBD to help patients with chronic pains, cancer, psychosis, autism, schizophrenia and other health problems.
Translation: Marijuana is highly addictive, has side effects, and more than any other drug destroys brain cells and body organs. Marijuana causes mental impairments and if used under age 16, it may cause schizophrenia or schizoid personality disorder.
*Marijuana is as poisonous to the brain and body, as tobacco is to the lungs (British, Sweden, Germany, Holland and New Zealand Health Department; Swedish Army).
*Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke and E-Cigarette. (One Marijuana joint can damage the lung as up to 5 cigarettes smoked in sequence).
*Regular use and/or early use of Marijuana (before age 16), increases the risk of developing severe mental illnesses, psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia (likely up to 70%): and developing depression (likely up to 4 times more) to name a few (University of Maryland).
– Marijuana use from early teenage years (ages 12 and up), will interrupt and change the connectivity of the brain cells forever.
– Over half a million emergency room visits are due to Marijuana use.
– Majority of those arrested for DUI (first cause for DUI is alcohol and the second is Marijuana), and other crimes test positive for Marijuana; 11% of young people who die in car accidents use Marijuana.
– Marijuana users may possibly decide to use stronger drugs to mask their problems.
– About 80%of high school children think “drinking on the weekends with friends and smoking pot is ok”.
– Over 50% of family violence, injury, tragic accidents and death occur in homes where alcohol and drugs are used.
-Edible marijuana such as cookies, pasta, chips, etc. can cause disorientation and complications since the THC in it is not dispersed.
The Article is by : Nanaz Pirnia,Ph.D., M.F.T., N.I.T.H.