Marijuana-The cure or just recreation?
There’s an ongoing emotionally charged global discussion on whether marijuana should be legalized as so-called recreational psychoactive substance or it should just undergo a process of decriminalization and be used for medical reasons. Strong arguments fly all over the globe while the number of users increase and the low age limit critically moves toward adolescents. Those who are pro-legalization accent enormous gap between pot and “heavy drugs”, so as the fact that marijuana doesn’t cause physical addiction or abstinence syndrome.
The percentage of teens using marijuana across America is in increase
They also insist on benign signs of being high, comparing weed with alcohol or smoking that manifest with far severe consequences for the user himself and people around him. Famous claim that marijuana will play a role of a trigger and lead to future using of heavy drugs also doesn’t stand ground since statistics show that majority of marijuana users tend to stick with pot.
National Institute on Drug Abuse reports increased rate of teens using cannabis in North America
Some recent statistics indicate that over 180 million people, which is around 5% of total population, use cannabis in some form for personal joy. Its value on the illegal market is estimated to 140 billion and this market is quite spread in America. What sounds rather alarming are data showing significant increase and wide use of cannabis among teenagers with almost 15% of 8th graders tried it and one percent of them is smoking on daily bases. Weed induces a well-known state of relaxation, euphoric mood and feeling of bliss and usually, the consequences are weak and come in the form of hunger, transitory anxiety or slightly distorted perception. All of this sounds attractive to teens, but since their brains are still maturing, and neuronal connections are forming, it can lead to unexpected severe consequences.
Research conducted across Canada associate schizophrenia with using cannabis in adolescence
Young adults using marijuana expose their brains to higher risk than they imagine, increasing their chances of developing schizophrenia – like symptoms and various forms of psychosis later in life. These are the alarming results of a recently conducted study.
The study monitored nearly 2 thousand teenagers for several years and carried out a wide range of functional testing of major brain functions and psychological features. Scientists followed closely their behavior, cognitive development, chances of perception, levels of anxiety, motivation and the quality of social interactions. Furthermore, the participants passed regular EEG testing and molecular analyzes. The major aim of the study was to determine long – term effects of THC, the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis, on the brain of average adolescent, which is particularly vulnerable.
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University revealed the results and launched further experiments
Probably due to brain maturity, these changes were not found in a control group of adults. As a scientific contribution to the global debate on marijuana legalization, this group of scientists announced new large-scale research on the same matter soon.
Steven Laviolette, the leader of the team of scientists, stated that statistic clearly showed morphological, molecular and behavioral persistent changes in prefrontal cortex and dopaminergic pathways, so as sub – cortical dysregulation. The overall picture resembles changes seen in patients with schizophrenia, both negative and positive type.