Say No To Drugs: The Problem Of Marijuana Abuse

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana is one of the most used drugs in the United States after alcohol. The drug is most common among the younger population and is very controversial when deciding if it’s good for you or not. Many people choose marijuana as their drug of choice because they believe it is harmless with little to no side effects. The number of people who use marijuana on a daily basis continues to grow, which means it's affecting more people in our society and it's important for us to understand how.

The Drug Enforcement Administration also known as The DEA, labels marijuana as a Schedule I drug, this means that the drug can be highly addictive to its users and it has no accepted medical use. Knowing that marijuana is most common among young people makes hearing that it's highly addictive is very alarming. This means that many people who are becoming addicted to the drug are young and at the early stages of brain development. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that people who use marijuana heavily or too early can experience low cognitive functioning making your memory, reaction speed, and verbal communication skills well below average. These long-term side effects only get worse as you intake more marijuana, and the more you use the drug, the more permanent these problems could become. Although marijuana affects its users differently, knowing that the way your brain functions could be at risk should generally be enough to dissuade you from usage.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse also says that using marijuana before the age of 18 is four to seven times more likely to experience marijuana use disorder. Minimizing the intake of marijuana among the youth could minimize the amount/severity of marijuana's negative side effects. In the year 2018 marijuana had 37.6 million users and 11.8 million of them were young adults, that means over 30% of marijuana users brain is not finished developing before starting the drug. It is the inevitable truth that people are going to use marijuana but to be able to reduce the usage of the drug in young adults by 15%, though this will take time and dedication it could also cause a major shift in the way in which marijuana is viewed.

The DEA believes that the best way to reduce marijuana usage among the youth is to simply keep them educated and reminded. Ways to educate would include holding educational assemblies about the drug and its effects, mentorship, and programs like the Red Ribbon Patch Program. When you know the negative effects of something you're putting in your body, and you're constantly being reminded of it by your peers or authority, it will be harder to consume and enjoy the drug. The American Addiction Centers says that teaching youth how to avoid and recognize peer pressure will also help to reduce the number of young adults using the drug. The saying “birds of a feather flock together” often shows fit but when you’re aware that the people around you enjoy activities that you are not ready for or don’t like you, you should take measures to ensure they limited it around you or that you are firm when you say NO. Staying away from marijuana will be solely up to the person, they will have to have the willpower to keep a drug free life.

I think it’s easier to ignore the negative effects of marijuana now, more than ever due to the fact that in many states it is becoming legal. When licit drugs cause the day to day life problems it often easy to look over or ignore because it seems like everyone is doing it and I mean, you can't go to jail for it(as long as you abide by the law when using). Legalizing weed also allows more profitable advertisements of the drug making it more prevalent in the mainstream lives of young adults and harder to say no. A major barrier when trying to reduce marijuana use among the youth would simply be a matter of what the media says versus fact. The facts are, marijuana is highly addictive and not accepted on a federal level, marijuana is seen to have no proven medical use. As long as the youth is aware and constantly reminded it will be easier to knock down this barrier.

Marijuana is a very controversial drug. It is known for its recreational and medical use in society, mostly by young adults. The number of young adults using the drug continuously increases, meaning that more of our youth are being exposed to a form of drug use disorder. Using a drug of this nature can permanently affect your day to day life, cause brain damage over a long period of time. Eliminating weed from the publics’ eye can be nearly impossible but a reduction is attainable through knowledge. Waiting to smoke weed until you have a developed brain (at least after the age of 18) could significantly reduce the likelihood of you experiences the negative side effects of the drug. Another measure that can be taken toward prevention would be not becoming a daily user and keeping the use minimal, the effects of marijuana on the brain would be less detrimental if the brain isn’t being constantly in contact with the drug.

16 December 2021
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