A recent article in Forbes Magazine reported results from an almost four-decade-long study that demonstrated the dangers of marijuana use, including permanently lowering the IQ up to eight points for those who start smoking it regularly prior to their 18th birthday.
Information about the harmful effects marijuana has on young people has been available for years. With all of the publicity surrounding the legalization of marijuana and the misinformation that has been in the public over the last couple of years, making this a headline now is wonderful but should have been done a long time ago.
The Forbes article does make important facts known about the dangers of marijuana use on our youth. At Enterhealth, we have been sharing this important information along with the fact that pot is addictive, to students and families since we opened our doors.
Here are some important facts about marijuana that most people do not know.
- Smoke from a joint is four times as carcinogenic as a tobacco cigarette.
- Smoking marijuana significantly increases the heart rate, creating a 5-fold increase in the risk of having a heart attack.
- Regardless of age, smoking marijuana harms most systems of the body, but as discussed in Forbes Magazine, it primarily does damage to the brain by impairing cognitive abilities and short-term memory. It also makes complex tasks and learning difficult while promoting poor decision-making and risky behavior. These impairments can last up to a year or be permanent depending on how heavy the usage was.
In his best-selling book, “Healing the Addicted Brain”, our chief medical officer, Dr. Harold C. Urschel, III, explains that some people think marijuana is non-addictive because they do not feel any withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking. The THC in marijuana can be stored in the body’s fat cells for as long as 42 days, so that’s why there are no immediate negative consequences. But after two or three weeks, the withdrawal symptoms – insomnia, irritability, agitation, anxiety and cravings – begin to appear. In the user’s mind, these feelings aren’t connected to that “last” joint, so as they light up again after showing everyone they can quit if they want. Yet another sign marijuana of how affects the brain and one’s thinking.