Marijuana is one of the the most commonly abused illegal drugs in United States. According to NSDUH, there were 15.2 million Marijuana users aged 12 years and more in 2008. It also reported that around 2.2 million people used Marijuana for the first time in 2008. This averages more than 6,000 initiates per day. This may be primarily because of the furnishing false information spread about Marijuana.
As mentioned above, millions of people are initiating Marijuana. This is due to many myths associated with marijuana. Some of the common myths are:
Myth #1. One cannot get physically addicted to marijuana
Truth: Addiction is a compulsive drug seeking behavior and the abuse affects the health of the abuser. People perceive that one cannot get addicted to Marijuana. But in fact, the long-term marijuana abuse leads to addiction. People who use Marijuana for long period of time, report drug craving, irritability, sleeplessness, lowered appetite and anxiety which makes it difficult to withdraw the marijuana abuse.
Myth #2. Marijuana is natural and good for health
Truth: Some people wrongly assume that marijuana is natural and is good for health. But what they fail to understand is that there are plenty of poisonous plants which are ‘natural’ as well as harmful to us. One should understand that just because Marijuana is natural, it does not mean that it is safe to use.
Marijuana abuse can cause impaired coordination, distorted perceptions, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, weak memory and low learning skills. According to NIDA, long-term Marijuana abuse has similar effects like other major drugs on the brain.
There are many important hard facts which individuals, parents and society need to know to stay away from this harmful drug. Some of them are:
Fact #1. Five times more likely to have a heart attack
According to NIDA, marijuana increases heart rate by 20–100 percent and this effect lasts upto three hours. It is also estimated that marijuana abusers are almost five times more likely to suffer heart attack in the first hour after smoking marijuana. The risk of heart attack is said to be greater in older people and the people with heart problems.
Fact #2. Increases risk of cancer
Marijuana smoke contains carcinogens that are considered to be irritating and harmful to lungs. When compared to tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons. NIDA’s official website states that marijuana abuse can double or triple the risk of cancer. Marijuana abusers are also known to suffer many respiratory problems, daily cough and phlegm production, frequent acute chest illnesses and lung infections.
Fact #3. That marijuana is the most important abused illegal drug and considered harmless by many marijuana abusers is a real concerning issue in the society today. In US, it is the most abused illegal drug. Ignorant of the potential harmful effects of marijuana, many people are initiating, abusing and getting addicted to it.
Fact #4. Leads to loss of employment
People who abuse marijuana are more likely to suffer at the workplace. Since marijuana compromises the mental and physical ability of the abuser, s/he is more likely to loose his/her employment. Also, Marijuana abuse is associated with absenteeism, accidents at workplace, more workers’ compensation claims, and less job turnover or productivity.
Apart from the above mentioned effects, marijuana has many other negative effects physically, mentally, socially, and economically. Therefore, it is very important to take some time to know the myths and facts associated with marijuana abuse. This can be a significant step towards stopping the drug abuse.