Myth and Facts
There’s a lot of talk about marijuana these days. There’s a lot of confusion, too.
It’s time to talk about science, and what’s really at stake with marijuana. Parents, it’s time to confront the myths about marijuana.
Myth: Marijuana isn’t harmful
Now that marijuana is legal for those 21 and older, it might seem like everyone has agreed that marijuana isn’t dangerous. That’s not true. Especially for teens, the danger is real.
Research has shown that marijuana can affect attention, memory and learning for days or weeks after the high has worn off. Is having your child’s education and future worth risking?
Parents also need to know that this isn’t the same marijuana that was around during their younger days. The percentage of THC in marijuana (the part that creates the “high”) is much higher now. You can’t use yesterday’s experiences to determine today’s risks.
Myth: Marijuana helps your mood
It might be tempting to think that marijuana is just relieving stress, but there is more going on. In fact, marijuana can be a factor in some mental illnesses, making the symptoms of anxiety, depression and psychosis worse.
Myth: Marijuana isn’t addictive
Marijuana addiction is a complicated topic. Some say that because stopping marijuana use doesn’t have the same dramatic withdrawal as heroin, for example, that it isn’t addictive. But there are many marijuana users who have let the drug become the main focus of their lives.
If someone uses marijuana daily, even to “smooth out the edges” of a routine day, it could be that marijuana has become too much of a factor in their life. Do they use marijuana instead of meeting with friends? Is it harming other relationships in their life? If this isn’t “addiction,” it is at least abuse.
And when a drug is introduced during the teen years or before, it increases the risk of addiction. Those who abuse alcohol in their teen years have an increased risk of lifelong alcohol problems. The same is true of marijuana.
Myth: Marijuana doesn’t affect driving
Marijuana isn’t just affecting your mood but your judgement, coordination and reaction time. That’s what a driver needs! There is ample evidence that driving under the influence of marijuana is linked to impairment and car crashes, including fatal ones.