Should I smoke weed everyday? Or, maybe a better question is should I consume marijuana at all? This question has been debated for decades but never more than since legalization in October 2018. Proponents of the drug preach it as a miracle substance capable of curing all sickness and pain while those opposed to cannabis argue that it causes mental illness and may lead to a life of debauchery. So what’s the answer?
One of the more concerning demographics for marijuana consumption is the age range up to 25 years old. The reason that 25 is the magic number cited in most journal articles is because this is the age when the human brain has fully matured and is now less susceptible to damage from marijuana. According to a study conducted by the Canadian Paediatric Society, one in three Canadian children have tried marijuana before the age of 15.
The damage to the developing brain depends on the frequency and potency of marijuana. Research has shown that moderate to heavy use of marijuana in adolescence has been linked to anxiety, depression, impaired concentration, and trouble making plans. These effects may be permanent and are thought to be caused by a re-wiring of the brain when being exposed to high amounts of THC (the psychoactive/intoxicating agent in marijuana). More troubling, some research has found a causal relationship between heavy marijuana use in adolescence and development of schizophrenia. The issue of marijuana use amongst teenagers is summarized well in the following video made by The National.
But marijuana can’t be all bad right? Why do so many people consume it when there appears to be so much research that it is detrimental to the mind? One reason which is obvious but overlooked is the fact that people like to get intoxicated. This is the same reason why Canadians spend over twenty billion dollars annually on alcohol. It is not sufficient to say that because alcohol is allowed despite its many downsides, we should allow the public to use marijuana. Having said this, as a society we have decided that adults over the age of 19 have the right to choose relatively safe intoxicants and for this reason it seems reasonable that marijuana be legal.
In addition to pleasure there is some evidence that CBD (the non-psychoactive ingredient of marijuana) may actually have health benefits. Due to marijuana only recently becoming legal, there is still relatively little research for the benefits and drawbacks of CBD. Supporters of CBD argue that it reduces their anxiety and allows them to think more clearly. While this is not yet entirely understood, there still are many companies offering CBD supplements such as Urbal Activ.
I believe that everything has a use within moderation and this applies to marijuana. While there are benefits and drawbacks of cannabis, overall it is a harmful chemical substance that has the potential to hinder brain development. To answer my question, I will not be smoking marijuana.
Author: Isaac Clark