By: Elias Azizi, Contributing Writer
Marijuana is not always harmful:
When we think about drugs, especially marijuana, we tend to focus on all the harmful effects of drugs on the human body. Yes, drugs can negatively affect the body, but only when they are not used wisely. Marijuana, specifically CBD oil and THC, is commonly used to relieve pain. It is a simple, easy to get drug that suppresses pain from injuries, helps treat medical conditions, and relieves stress. This usage of marijuana is reserved mostly for older adults, usually above 21 years of age. The use of marijuana in individuals younger than 21 is less common but is generally seen when daring teenagers try to fit in. Marijuana, along with all other drugs, should not be used excessively at any age, but really shouldn’t be used at all in teenagers.
Why a teenager might decide to use marijuana
As written before, many teens use marijuana as a result of peer pressure. This pressure can sometimes force somebody to use cannabis along with other substances. Also, some teenagers may decide to use marijuana to relieve stress. Teenagers around the world are constantly facing things that can make them stress. School and grades can cause stress. Relationships can cause stress amongst teens. Issues at home with parents can cause stress. The list goes on and on. Stress relief from marijuana is definitely good for adults who have fully developed, but definitely not for teens whose bodies are still growing.
The negative effects of marijuana on the body of teens :
Effect on the developing bodies of teens : young teens tend to start puberty at around 13-14 years of age for the most part, and develop throughout their teenage years. During these years, the bodies of teens change drastically, from child to adult. As well, the brains of teenagers develop a lot as well during puberty. The use of marijuana can affect the overall growth of a teen, which can cause issues in the future. Some of these issues are brain based, others are related to other parts of the body.
Effect on Lungs : Firstly, just like cigarettes, marijuana can have a long term effect on your lungs. After prolonged use of cannabis, one may have difficulty breathing sometimes, which can affect one’s life. For example, an athlete who has used marijuana for a long period of time will be less successful since their lungs would be in a bad state. In high intensity sports, proper breathing is needed, because your muscles and other parts of your body need to receive oxygen to work properly.
Effect on mental health : long term use of cannabis can also lead to many mental disorders. One who uses marijuana often is more likely to suffer from schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and moodiness. These effects are related to the brain, so it’s safe to say that the effect of marijuana on the brain is definitely serious, and not something people would want. In more serious cases, the use of marijuana may even lead to suicidal thoughts, which in general, can lead to suicide attempts.
Lower intelligence : this is still being researched. However, based on the last point, one would realize that this is quite likely. Since marijuana use has a negative effect on the developing brain of a teenager, it’s likely that it could also decrease intelligence as well. Not to mention, this may be off topic, but studies have shown that pregnant mothers who used marijuana are more likely to give birth to children who have mental defects like autism.
Prevent the use of marijuana : alternatives
After reading this article, most teens would reconsider using marijuana. However, some may still feel pain, or feel stressed, and want to find other alternatives that have the same effects of marijuana, but without the risks. To start, talking to others about your issues and getting feedback can be a great way to reduce your stress. When you share your problems with others, you can feel more comfortable around them, which will lead to a reduced amount of stress. If you are in pain, don’t be hesitant to talk to your local physician about your pain. There are many types of medications that can reduce your pain, that are safe to use as teenagers. Lastly, if marijuana is the deciding factor between your friendships, rest assured that this friend of yours is not a good match for you. A real friend will not pressure you to do something that will harm you; a real friend will give you constructive feedback, and only recommend you to do things that can have a positive effect on your life.