Now that marijuana is legal in California, many people think they are safe to use this “harmless” drug with impunity. But what you may not know is that legal or not, marijuana poses several significant risks that you should be made aware of.
YES – Marijuana IS Addictive
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has determined that marijuana is addictive. Research suggests that approximately 9% of users will develop a Cannabis Use Disorder. Of special relevance, 17% of people who smoke marijuana daily or who initiated use during adolescence become addicted – roughly 1 in 6.
HALF of all users admit to daily use. Significantly, among new drug treatment admissions, 61% of patients aged 15 years or younger say that marijuana is their primary drug of choice.
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4 MILLION Americans aged 12 and older have a substance abuse disorder involving marijuana. This is a 48% increase since 2012.
YES – Marijuana IS a Gateway Drug
Although the majority of people who try marijuana do not go on to use other “harder drugs, it does “prime” users’ brains for a greater response to other addictive substances, thereby putting them at a greater risk.
YES – Marijuana DOES Impair Your Ability to Drive
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- In states where marijuana is still illegal, 16% of traffic fatalities are marijuana-related.
- In states where medical marijuana is permitted, that percentage jumps to 21%
- In states with legal recreational marijuana, it increases again, to 31%
- Drinking alcohol while smoking marijuana means an 8X greater likelihood of a fatal crash, compared to a driver using neither substance.
YES – Marijuana IS Associated with Serious Health Concerns
Far from being harmless, regular marijuana use can have serious health consequences, including:
YES – Marijuana IS Linked to Mental Illness
Because smoked marijuana affects the brain within 7 seconds, and because the THC content is much higher than in years past, users’ brains are significantly impacted.
NO – You CAN’T Use Marijuana While in Recovery
Even if you are in recovery for some other substance – alcohol, cocaine, meth, etc. – using marijuana can hinder your success. For example, marijuana users are:
- 5X more likely to have an Alcohol Use Disorder.
- More responsive to the effects of methamphetamines.
- 60% more likely to relapse during cocaine recovery.
More than anything, marijuana use lowers inhibitions and clouds judgement, making it all-too-easy for the user to give into cravings or make other poor choices.
If your use of marijuana has become a problem, or if it is interfering with your recovery from other addictions, Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab can help.
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