If you’re one of the many people who thinks marijuana is a relatively harmless substance that went out of vogue at the end of the 60’s, you’ve been misinformed. Nearly 25% of all Americans have experimented with marijuana, and it is estimated that as many as 20 million Americans smoke regularly. The myth is that marijuana is a “harmless” substance. The fact is that marijuana is a mood-altering drug whose abuse can lead to severe physical and emotional damage.
The immediate effects of marijuana smoking are short-term euphoria, mental confusion, memory loss, decreased reaction time, and impaired visual and cognitive judgment. Marijuana also increases heart rate by as much as 50%, and appears to impair the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to infections. And, marijuana smoke has been shown to be even more damaging to the lungs than cigarette smoke, increasing your risk of lung diseases, including cancer.
Many of the following symptoms may accompany marijuana use. If you, a friend, or loved one exhibits one or more of these symptoms, professional help is strongly recommended.
- Impaired memory; difficulty in learning and remembering tasks.
- Persistent lack of energy.
- Apparent lack of ambition.
- Frequent absenteeism from work or school.
- Erratic performance at work or school.
- Impaired coordination/frequent accidents.
- Mental confusion/lack of judgment.
Where To Find Help
Fortunately, if you need help in breaking a marijuana habit, there are many local and national organizations that can provide information and referrals. Check your local phone book’s “Yellow Pages” under Drug Abuse for numbers near you, or call one of the following “hotlines:” (800) 662-HELP or (800) 252-6465. Your private physician, school authorities, or religious advisor can also put you in contact with service organizations who specialize in helping people with marijuana and other chemical dependencies.
The myth is that marijuana is a “harmless” substance. The fact is that marijuana is a mood altering drug whose abuse can lead to severe physical and emotional damage.