Marijuana Use in America: Consequences of a “Purple Haze”

obamamacdaddyThe Holy Bible tells us that we reap what we sow. In other words, for every action we take, there are consequences, intentional and unintentional.

And, that includes America’s growing acceptance of “harmless” “recreational” marijuana use.

The CBS Local Affiliate in San Francisco has the story…

Three third-grade students at a Sonora elementary school were busted for smoking pot in the school’s bathroom last week.

Two 8-year-olds and a 9-year-old were caught by another student, who immediately informed school administrators. Those officials then alerted local police.

The students were questioned by officers, and later released to their parents on February 27th.

Governor Brown Questions Push For Marijuana Legalization

Sonora Elementary School Principal Chris Boyles would not speak with CBS SF regarding the case, but Superintendent Leigh Shampain confirmed that the students were caught smoking marijuana in the school’s bathroom. He would not discuss how the students might be disciplined.

“(I’m) shocked. To be in third grade and have their own pipe,” parent Linda Rodriguez commented to KTXL-TV. “I think they should be expelled, but I also think they should follow it further to where they found (the drugs).”

The case was forwarded to the Tuolumne County Probation Department.

Of course, seemingly everyday, we read on the Internet how “harmless” “recreational” marijuana use is. However, here are some facts you may not have seen, courtesy of an article found at azcentral.com:

Having implemented medical marijuana in 2000, Colorado has 13 years of data we can examine.

Past 30-day use of marijuana by teens 12 to 17 is highest in medical-marijuana states. In Denver between 2004 and 2010, past 30-day users of marijuana ages 12 and up increased 4.3 percent, while the increase for the nation was 0.05 percent.

By 2010, past 30-day use for this age group was 12.2 percent, compared to 6.6 percent for the country. One in six kids who start using marijuana becomes addicted.

On Dec. 19, Dr. Christian Thurstone, Colorado Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society president and youth addiction researcher at the University of Colorado-Denver, observed that his clinic has been “inundated with young people reporting for marijuana-addiction treatment. … Every day, we see the acute effects of the policy of legalization. And our kids are paying a great price.”

In Colorado’s schools, drug-related expulsions spiked 45 percent between 2008 and 2012. In a single academic year, a 10-year low in drug-related suspensions and expulsions flipped to a 10-year high. While the Colorado Department of Education includes all drugs in its data, officials report that most drug-related suspensions since the 2008-09 academic year are related to marijuana.

Sadly for Colorado residents, marijuana-impaired drivers and fatalities are on the rise. While overall traffic fatalities decreased 16 percent between 2006 and 2011, during these same six years, traffic fatalities with drivers testing positive for just marijuana increased 114 percent.

All of these statistics should not be any surprise to anyone who has been paying attention…or has lived any length of time.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.

THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high” that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.

Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.2 As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.

Research into the effects of long-term cannabis use on the structure of the brain has yielded inconsistent results. It may be that the effects are too subtle for reliable detection by current techniques. A similar challenge arises in studies of the effects of chronic marijuana use on brain function. Brain imaging studies in chronic users tend to show some consistent alterations, but their connection to impaired cognitive functioning is far from clear. This uncertainty may stem from confounding factors such as other drug use, residual drug effects, or withdrawal symptoms in long-term chronic users.

Addictive Potential

Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite the known harmful effects upon functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent) and among daily users (25-50 percent).

Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including: irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent. These symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 2-3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.

Marijuana and Mental Health

A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be an important risk factor, where early use is a marker of increased vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or reflects an attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence.

Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses – including addiction – stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. Currently, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.

A few months ago, I was watching the local news when they announced that a fellow I had graduated high school with, had escaped from custody, after trying to commit suicide, because the authorities were about to commit him to the looney bin for long-term treatment.

Even back in ’76, this guy had hung out outside the school building in what was affectionately called “the smoke hall”. And, of course, it was well known that he liked to smoke pot.

As I type this, I hear thousands of potheads, young and old (picture Tommy Chong), yelling at their monitors, and, among the words I can repeat, are words describing me as a clueless out-of-touch Bible-thumping old man, who doesn’t know what the He@@ he is talking about.

They’re screaming that pot is harmless, non-addictive, and safer than alcohol.

And, they also probably voted for Ron Paul.

…so, their judgement is questionable.

In their own way, they live in a fantasyland as naive as Obama’s Foreign Policy.

The argument “libertarians” with a small “l” always bring up is that it is affects no one else, but the user.

That is an immature and selfish argument, at best. We all touch others’ lives as we travel through our own. And, just like the alcoholic, or the crack addict, a frequent majiuana user affects the lives of others, intentionally or unintentionally.

If children are raised around irresponsible, immature parents, who smoke dope openly, in front of them, they, eventually, will wind up doing exactly what those children in San Francisco did.

And, people struck and killed by a stoned driver, are just as dead as those killed by a drunk driver.

So, as I have said before, stop eating your Cheetos, slackers, and listen tight: Your actions affect others. You are responsible to others. You are not alone in this world.

So, get up out of your bean bag, turn off the TV, move out of Mom’s Basement, and get a job.

Useless, clueless, and stoned is no way to go through life, son.

…Unless, of course, you’re the president.

Until He Comes,

KJ

3 thoughts on “Marijuana Use in America: Consequences of a “Purple Haze”

  1. Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.

    They’re screaming that pot is harmless, non-addictive, and safer than alcohol.

    I’ve called it “the fog,” the stupid we walked around in. And I was addicted; I cried when I put it down hard. I’ve never understood why it’s necessary to lie about the nature of getting stoned, or why anyone thinks they can get away with such obvious lies, or why anyone actually does get away with such obvious lies. The getting away with it is a little creepy.

    Though, KJ, I accidentally made “Cheetos” the word of the day. But before that, the word was DORITOS for this particular clique. I’m only mentioning this because . . . meh, too late now. (Looks sadly at bag of Cheetos.)

    Like

  2. And, people struck and killed by a stoned driver, are just as dead as those killed by a drunk driver.

    Right after yelling at you for stereotyping potheads as dumb, they’ll yell about how potheads are more likely to be going 35 than 55– and get pissed if you invite them to sit in front of your house and notice how the cars that smell like skunks are going at least 45 in a 35– and you can check it on the school zone speed sign across the road.

    There’s something about pot that makes people irrational about it, even years after stopping. Axe here is the first person I’ve ever heard NOT defend it, even in the face of very mild, well supported opposition.

    Like

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