Is Pot Use Safe?
Now that Colorado and Washington have decriminalized recreational marijuana use, many are wondering what the possible ramifications are. It’s important to remember that even though pot is legal in some states under different provisions, legal does not automatically equate with harmless. Some important things to remember about pot: Marijuana smoke is still smoke. According to the NIH (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana) , marijuana can be quite physically harmful. Over time, marijuana smokers’ lungs can experience many of the same problems as tobacco smokers’ lungs. Smoking also increases your risk for heart attack and elevated heart rate.
Marijuana can impair judgment. Getting behind the wheel high is always a bad idea, even if the substance is legal. Marijuana can delay reaction time, severely inhibiting drivers’ reflexes. A recent study suggests that marijuana use before driving more than doubles the risk of an accident.
Many studies suggest that marijuana is quite addictive. While we may not see people fiend for pot the way addicts do for crack or heroin, it can still be very addictive. Many long-time users find it rather hard to reduce the strong desire for it akin to tobacco cessation, and report suffering from intense withdrawal symptoms after trying to quit: sleeplessness, irritability, and anxiety included.
Ask yourself: Is everything else that is legal safe? By now we all know what some totally legal substances can do to destroy a person’s body, brain, and even their life. Alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs are all legal, and combined they’ve killed more Americans than any illegal substance.
Marijuana may become legal where you live, and soon. That said, it’s still a drug. Let the user beware. We all want others in our lives to live happy, long lives filled with joy; we should want the same for ourselves.