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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Reefer Madness: It Fries the Brain

Posted by admin in October 15th, 2019
Published in Marijuana, Social Issues, Uncategorized

Marijuana causes impaired cognitive abilities.
Even among infrequent (non-daily) users, marijuana causes significant impairment to one’s ability to pay attention and to concentrate. A number of studies have shown that marijuana use significantly affects impulse control, the ability to do simple planning, decision making, and a person’s working memory—this is with nondaily, infrequent use.

But the enormous “Marijuana Legalization: Impact on Physicians and Public Health” study that I read shows that marijuana use results in:

  1. slower response time in tasks and simple reaction time,
  2. impairment of visuospatial (perception of distance between objects),
  3. inhibits sustained attention and divided attention, and
  4. it wreaks havoc on short-term memory, as well as impairment on motor control tasks.

With chronic, daily use of marijuana, users experience greater cognitive impairment and oftentimes, depending on the age of the user, that cognitive impairment does not repair itself after the users stops ingesting marijuana—resulting in long-term irreparable cognitive damage. Heartbreaking.

So, let’s look at some of the persistent effects of this drug. Chronic marijuana use is associated with:

  • persistent impairment of attention,
  • verbal memory loss,
  • working memory loss,
  • impaired decision making (the making of bad decisions) and
  • impaired decision-making function (unable to make any decisions at all).

Although early research indicated that cognitive deficits caused by marijuana use resolved by day 28 of abstinence, more recent data show persistent cognitive deficits despite prolonged abstinence especially in users under 25 yrs old.

Early, heavy, and long-term marijuana use among adolescents causes permanent damage. It fries the brain and it cannot recover from the damages done. Where are Meryl and Steve now? Where are all the hip leaders in our government and media when these stats are reported by trained and highly qualified medical researchers? Another example of America throwing its children on the trash heap.

The study’s findings are shocking. The discovery that permanent damage to the brain occurs with long-term, persistent, and heavy use of marijuana in adolescents who begin smoking marijuana in their early teens should be broadcast nationwide. The study goes on to explain that adolescents who began smoking cannabis early (14–22 years of age) and stopped by age 22 had significantly greater cognitive deficits at age 27 than non-using peers. About 10% of cannabis-dependent adolescents report experiencing a “serious problem” with memory loss even four years later.

In a birth cohort studied in New Zealand, 1,037 individuals were followed over a 38 year period. Those who persistently used marijuana showed a six-point decline in their IQ; these deficits were greater (an eight-point decline) when use began in adolescence, and, most importantly, these declines did not reverse after quitting marijuana use. Why New Zealand? Because it has the highest number of marijuana users per capita in the world.

Marijuana is harmful. I’m no defender of alcohol, but marijuana is much more harmful and the consequences of its use are more far reaching. Alcohol abuse certainly causes physical harm, but marijuana is a neurotoxin—a poison that acts on the nervous system irreparably. You can destroy brain cells by drinking alcohol, but when you stop drinking alcohol, those brain cells self-repair. As the research has shown, THC, the main toxin in marijuana, destroys gray matter in the brain that does not reproduce, resulting in permanent brain damage and loss of intelligence.

You see, you can drink alcohol without getting drunk, but you cannot smoke marijuana without getting high. The drug has one purpose: to get a person stoned. That’s why we have alcohol level testing in the US. Because you actually can drink a certain amount of alcohol and still drive unimpaired. It’s measurable. Not the same with marijuana.

Now do you see why I hate it so much? It harms people and it causes not only developmental problems, but episodes of psychosis, especially after long-term use. Most importantly, marijuana causes permanent, irreparable, damage in adolescents and young adults.

Yes, alcohol has addictive properties and large consumption of alcohol does destroy brain cells—especially in binge drinking. However, once the individual abstains from alcohol, even in adolescent users, brain cells reproduce and eventually the brain is able to self-repair. That does not happen under the influence of marijuana. And this is how I answer the question of alcohol and pot being the same.

If you want to read more, please click on the link to Part IV.

Reefer Madness: Why I Hate Marijuana’s Guts – Part IV

 

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