There’s thousands of people in the world who will read that headline and automatically get a thorn stuck in their ass and a megaphone in their hand and start screaming all over our Facebook wall “WELL I MAKE $50k A YEAR AND I SMOKED WEED EVERY DAY SINCE I WAS IN THE WOMB AND I TURNED OUT FINE,” and yet they’re 40, single, and living in their parent’s basement. Yes, you are the epitome of success; tell me more about how you’re still a virgin. While I’m obviously exaggerating, this study shows what happens across the majority of people. Are you a special little pothead snowflake who can handle their shit better than everyone else? Maybe. Most people aren’t.
In any case, Professor Wayne Hall of the World Health Organization conducted a 20-year study with results that refute the notion that marijuana has few to any side effects on the brain over a long-term period of time. Hall’s results included:
• One in six teenagers who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it
• Cannabis doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
• Cannabis users do worse at school. Heavy use in adolescence appears to impair intellectual development
• One in ten adults who regularly smoke the drug become dependent on it and those who use it are more likely to go on to use harder drugs
• Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash, a risk which increases substantially if the driver has also had a drink
• Smoking it while pregnant reduces the baby’s birth weight
Hall also found that smoking marijuana while pregnant can reduce the baby’s birth weight and that long-term usage can raise the risk of cancer, bronchitis and heart attack. As for teenage smokers, regular marijuana usage leads to long-term mental health problems and addiction.
‘The important point I am trying to make is that people can get into difficulties with cannabis use, particularly if they get into daily use over a longer period,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that heavy users experience a withdrawal syndrome as with alcohol and heroin.
‘Rates of recovery from cannabis dependence among those seeking treatment are similar to those for alcohol.’
Mark Winstanley, of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: ‘Too often cannabis is wrongly seen as a safe drug, but as this review shows, there is a clear link with psychosis and schizophrenia, especially for teenagers.
‘The common view that smoking cannabis is nothing to get worked up about needs to be challenged more effectively. Instead of classifying and re-classifying, government time and money would be much better spent on educating young people about how smoking cannabis is essentially playing a very real game of Russian roulette with your mental health.’
Even if you’re the biggest advocate for the legalization of marijuana, can you honestly disagree with the results, or even the common sense behind them? You wouldn’t want your 15-year-old cousin getting hammered on alcohol every day, so why would you want her smoking weed all the time as an alternative? The point to take from the study is that anything done in excess most likely has negative consequences regardless of your age, be it alcohol, marijuana or cheeseburgers, it doesn’t matter. Discretion is necessary no matter how old you are.
*Cue the comments from people who didn’t actually read the article and just want to scream about smoking weed all day ‘erry day.