About Marijuana…

11 08 2011

Dear Teenager,

I don’t presume to know what you are thinking, but generally I know how it is: when you are a teenager, you feel pretty invincible; like nothing bad will happen to you. On days like that you don’t want anyone getting in your way.

Other days I think you feel less invincible. Some days I think you would like someone to get in your way, to say “no” just so you would have a way out, an excuse, without looking too terribly un-cool.

It’s both an amazing time of life and a confusing one, hey?

So, I just want to bring up a topic that seems to fall into the latter category: confusing. I have heard a lot of you talking about pot/marijuana like it is no big deal. I hear you saying, “it’s natural,” and “it’s not addictive” and it’s “not as bad as” a lot of other things.

Do you believe that? Really?

I know you probably don’t want to do a bunch of reading, so I will do my best to say some important things, briefly, because it really matters to me that you live out your purpose on this earth; if you are messing around with marijuana you are stealing from your future (and everyone connected to you).

Here are a few things that are true, I hope you will think on this because people smarter than you or I have done their homework on this stuff:

  1. When you smoke marijuana it plays a trick on your brain. This is what people initially like about pot; it dulls discomfort and makes things that might otherwise bug you, seem to not matter as much. Your brain is like, “Ya, I like this,” but your brain doesn’t know what this means down the road. To keep that same mellow sensation it will need more marijuana because the little it had the first time won’t do the trick down the road. Added to that, those uncomfortable things that marijuana dulls don’t go away; they are still lurking around. In the long run, it would be better to deal with them head-on with the help of a great friend or mentor than pretending they aren’t there with a little help from a drug. Anyway, the “wanting more” thing is why they call marijuana a “gateway drug” — it starts small, demands more, and leads to even more destructive drugs.
    TK
  2. Here’s another problem, when your brain gets used to marijuana, when you aren’t smoking it, normal anxieties are going to feel a lot bigger than they used to and more unmanageable without the drug helping you along.  When anxiety levels go up, it messes with your ability to sleep and, even more serious, you may find yourself struggling with depression. Marijuana makes you feel out-of-touch and unable to deal with what people who aren’t on drugs deal with every day. So while, in the real world, people deal with their real problems; people on drugs aren’t building the same coping muscles. By then, your body gets addicted to the feeling that marijuana provides you with, so that when you want to stop, it misses what you had before and wants it back, creating even more discomfort for you.
    TK
  3. The younger you are, the more danger you are in when it comes to marijuana. Studies now are showing that marijuana use especially when you are young is at the root of many mental disorders.I will give you a little list here just to give you an idea (kind of a scary list): acute toxic psychosis, panic attacks, flashbacks, delusions, depersonalization, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, and uncontrollable aggressiveness, bipolar (manic-depressive) psychosis, schizophrenia and thoughts of suicide. When people are young and experiment with marijuana they might not notice any of this right away, but later in life they can “unravel” and find themselves dealing with crippling mental illnesses as a result (by the way, if you are interested, many of these things are listed at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/evidence99/marijuana/Health_1.html)
    TK
  4. If that list isn’t nasty enough, smoking marijuana damages your lungs and respiratory system leaving you with breathing difficulties and weakening your system so that you are at a higher risk for heart attack and strokes and lung cancer. Studies have shown that smoking even one joint a day can damage cells that help your immune system fight off bacteria. Not good.
    TK
  5. By the way, one joint has four times more tar than a cigarette which means that your young lungs are getting four times the toxins.
    TK
  6. If you are enjoying being young, you should know that marijuana also speeds up the aging process, increases your appetite, slows down your ability to learn, makes it difficult to remember things, makes you less adaptable to change, and makes your coordination all wonky; many accidents on the road are due to marijuana use.
    TK
  7. OK, gotta mention this one. Using marijuana can delay the onset of puberty;and if you are planning to have a family later on in life…well…I won’t get into it, but you may have some issues in that department if you are experimenting with marijuana.
    TK
  8. Added to all that is this thing called “impaired judgment.”  When you are “on” something, you make decisions that you wouldn’t normally make if it were just you and not some drug speaking. When you are playing around with marijuana you just don’t think straight so you end up doing things and saying things and going places that in your right mind, you wouldn’t. There is a lot of trouble in that and what you end up with is a world of regret.
    TK
  9. And don’t forget this last one. No matter what people say about marijuana, it’s illegal to sell, buy or use in our country. Illegal. To avoid a boat-load of trouble, that in itself is a pretty massive reason to stick to a wiser course of action.
    TK

Anyway, why am I reminding you of all of this? I guess I look at all of you and see all that you are becoming and I don’t want anything side-tracking you from having the best possible life. There are going to be challenges that come your way, why in the world would you want to bring them on yourself?

You are a very interesting, important person and you matter; we need you to be as “all there” as you can be. So, if you need a parent to say, “You are not to get involved with marijuana” – I am saying it to you. Don’t do it. Don’t be around it. Don’t let your friends mess around with it. Just don’t.

You won’t regret it.

— Teresa Klassen

TK

TK

P.S. You might also find this interesting: “The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found adolescents who smoke pot 85 times more likely to use cocaine than their non–pot smoking peers. And 60 percent of youngsters who use marijuana before they turn 15 later go on to use cocaine.” (http://www.acde.org/common/Marijana.htm)

Here are some great articles on the topic:

http://www.marijuana-addiction.net/marijuana-dangers.htm

http://www.healthieryou.com/mjteen.html

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/evidence99/marijuana/Health_1.html

http://www.acde.org/common/Marijana.htm

http://www.well.com/user/woa/fspot.htm

http://www.braha.org/en/interesting-information/1548

http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/001738.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211084701.htm

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2 responses

21 08 2011
Jayden

the only true thing is that marijuana is illegal.. its not bad for you either, almost every day, and i’m super healthy….

22 08 2011
teresaklassen

I don’t always approve comments but this one made me smile. Unintentionally, I think it sort of supports my article. You might want to do a double check on the comment. All the best to you. T.K.

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