always asking for information about how to intelligently discuss the use
and potential dangers of marijuana with their children. On May 02,
2002 the St. Petersburg Times published an article entitled: The
Myth of Harmless Marijuana by John P. Walters, the acting U.S. Drug
Czar. Here's some of the information that article and other
sources that may be of use in discussing the potential benefits and
risks of marijuana use.
University of Michigan released its the annual survey "Monitoring
the Future," which measures drug use among American youth, reports
that drug use among our nation's teens remains stable, but at
near-record levels, with some 49 percent of high school seniors
experimenting with marijuana at least once prior to graduation -- and 22
percent smoking marijuana at least once a month.
is not a harmless drug -- for those predisposed to react with an
addictive brain response people can become dependent upon and even
addicted to it.
Today's marijuana is different from the marijuama of a generation
ago. The potency levels 10 to 20 times stronger than the marijuana
used in the 1960's and 1970's.
Marijuana directly affects the brain. Researchers have learned
that it impairs the ability of young people to concentrate and retain
information during their peak learning years, and when their brains are
still developing. The THC in marijuana attaches itself to
receptors in the hippocampal region of the brain, weakening short-term
memory and interfering with the mechanisms that form long-term
Marijuana smoking is linked serious emergency health problems.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, every year
more than 2,500 admissions to the District of Columbia's overtaxed
emergency rooms -- some 300 of them for patients under age 18 -- are
linked to marijuana smoking. The number of marijuana-related
emergencies is growing. Each year, for example, marijuana use is
linked to tens of thousands of serious traffic accidents.
Research has now established that marijuana is in fact addictive.
Of the 4.3 million Americans who meet the diagnostic criteria for
needing drug treatment ( criteria developed by the American Psychiatric
Association, not police departments or prosecutors ) two-thirds are
dependent on marijuana, according to HHS. These are not occasional
pot smokers but people with real problems directly traceable to their
use of marijuana, including significant health problems, emotional
problems and difficulty in cutting down on use. Sixty percent of
teens in drug treatment have a primary marijuana diagnosis.
Marijuana smoking carries with it the same long-term health hazards as
smoking cigarettes, except those risks are higher with marijuana
smoke. People who smoke are more likely to suffer from emphysema, lung
cancer, and other respiratory problems.
Marijuana is illegal. Using it carries series legal penalties.
All people, but especially children, are at high risk of having their
lives ruined by drug enforcement efforts if caught in the possession of
or selling marijuana. Being caught by law enforcement is more
likely to result in tough punishment and long incarceration than
receiving help in the form of treatment. Once you get arrested for
using or dealing marijuana you can be labeled for the rest of your
Because marijuana is illegal, you never know what you are smoking.
No one sets standards of purity. No one assures that dangerous by
products are not mixed in with the marijuana that is bought and
sold. Some of the most serious problems experienced by
marijuana users is caused by the impurities present in the marijuana
that they buy.
using, or selling marijuana put people into contact with violent and
antisocial drug dealers. Many marijuana dealers are dangerous
criminals, especially those at the top of the distribution
chain. The more deeply involved people get in using marijuana, the
more likely they hare to start dealing with the dangerous criminals who
form the back bone of the illegal drug trade..
11. Once people
get involved in the criminal underworld, it's easy to get trapped and
can be difficult for them to get out. Marijuana dealers are no
less violent and antisocial than cocaine and heroin traffickers.
They have just as much money to lose, just as much turf to lose, and
just as many reasons to kill as any drug trafficker."
12. Because drugs
are illegal, users have no legal recourse to being ripped off in drug
deals, injured or hurt during drug transactions or being threatened by
When it comes to using marijuana a simple saying applies:
The oven is hot, act accordingly.