The following blog post is by Family Council staff member Deborah Beuerman.
Marijuana is certainly not like milk that “does a body good.” Milk is especially good for babies and children and growing teens. Marijuana is not.
The human brain is not fully developed until about age 25. During development, the brain is more vulnerable to the effects of marijuana. Marijuana is especially damaging to children, teens, and young adults—even with just occasional use. This is permanent damage. There is much scientific evidence to back this up.
One researcher looked at the serious problems and bad consequences of using marijuana and said, “I’ve developed a severe worry about whether we should be allowing anybody under age 30 to use pot unless they have a terminal illness and need it for pain.”
Marijuana can cause severe problems with thinking, reasoning, and memory. One writer and minister, who has the reputation of being very bright and a good thinker, said that he used marijuana casually in college, and then stopped. He says his thinking before was sharper, clearer, and easier. He realizes he did that to himself by smoking marijuana, and has learned to live with his lost mental abilities.
Marijuana can cause a permanent loss of IQ points. A recent newspaper article talked about brain injury to a football player who played for 14 years. Common symptoms of this progressive degenerative disease of the brain include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, suicidal thoughts, and eventually progressive dementia. That sounds a lot like brain damage caused from smoking marijuana! Could marijuana cause the same type of damage to the brain that “repetitive brain trauma” does? Is smoking marijuana like being hit in the head over and over?
Many studies show that marijuana affects brain development. It affects thinking, memory, attention, motivation, learning, and judgement. That causes problems in school. It leads to lower graduation rates. It leads to problems with jobs and careers. It effects relationships and socializing. It can cause moodiness and personality changes. It can lead to psychosis and schizophrenia.
It is interesting that surveys of marijuana users later in life show they agree marijuana had negative effects in many areas of their lives: thinking abilities, career achievements, social lives, and physical and mental health.
Parents need to know what marijuana can do to their kids’ brains. We all need to tell our kids, and we need to protect them. Marijuana does not need to be easily available to them. Making marijuana legal sends the message that using it is alright; marijuana may even be good for you—“it’s medicine.”
It’s not good. It’s bad. Vote AGAINST Issues 6 and 7.
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.