The Hidden Risk of Legalizing Marijuana

The potency of marijuana has increased quite a bit as have the number of people who perceive marijuana as not harmful or addictive. There are ways that marijuana can be smoked or used that are different than in years past (vaping, smoking, edibles). The number of people using it for medicinal purposes have also increased. Learn more about what some of the hidden risks of legalizing marijuana may be and the challenges those bring.

Legalization Challenges

The addiction treatment system is seeing more people who choose to use a drug for medicinal purposes but end up addicted. Despite the fact admissions for treatment for marijuana addiction account for a large number of young people, the perception is that marijuana is not addictive. Older people who are not teens can become addicted, also. Only certain groups of people who are vulnerable to developing dependence or already use drugs are not the only ones vulnerable to become addicted. There are critical questions to answer about marijuana and whether it is helping people or putting them at a greater risk for dependence and addiction.
Researchers are looking at the rate of addiction for those who use marijuana and found that there are vulnerable people who may become addicted to higher potency concentrations or just be more susceptible to addiction. More than one in seven people have used marijuana and may qualify for criteria which is clinically significant for marijuana use disorder. That is twice as many people as previously thought. Young people are more likely to use it but older people are also becoming addicted who use it for health ailments on a regular basis.

Preventable Crisis

Addiction is this country’s largest preventable health problem. Although the focus has been on opioids, marijuana is still a challenge for people in terms of addiction. When people try to gloss over the circumstances of how people become addicted (while using other drugs or drinking), the truth is people who use medical marijuana may also struggle with it. There are other risks including health complications from overuse of marijuana or long term use. It is not as dangerous as heroin or opioids, so maybe it does not get the bad rap but, after decades of research, it has been noted it is not the harmless drug people think it is. There is a preventable crisis rising among people who use marijuana. People who struggle can still find support and help for addiction at treatment centers regardless of how long they have used, how old they are, or any other factor. The only thing that matters is that they are willing to receive treatment and be open to getting better.

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