The General Election of 2016 was once again filled with state measures regarding the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. Five states took legalization to the ballot, and in the end, only one state rejected the recreational legalization.
While arguments for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use praise the revenue generation of tax dollars, the medicinal value and the perceived lack of health consequences as its basis, opponents have arguments of their own, including that since legalization, the number of adult marijuana users has nearly doubled in three years according to a Gallop poll referred to by CNN.
While alcohol is the number-one abused legal substance in America, marijuana holds the top spot as the most abused illicit drug of choice. The legalization of marijuana will surely make these two substances battle for the top spot.
The legalization of marijuana and its increased availability is setting America up for another drug addiction epidemic. According to Dr. David Sack, “In just about every drug epidemic, a period of increased access has been followed by increased abuse.”
This means we are currently setting ourselves up for an epidemic similar to the cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and the opiate epidemic that we have been facing this decade.
For addicts, it is necessary to remember that marijuana is an intoxicant. Just like alcohol, methamphetamine or opioids, this intoxicant will produce an altered state of mind, a euphoria of sorts, that will keep the chase for the “high” going.
Addiction to the euphoria produced by marijuana, and now the ease of access to the product, the rate for marijuana dependency is certain to grow. Dr. Sack also said, “It is not an accident that alcohol is the most widely abused drug; it is also the most available by virtue of being legal.”
With younger crowds being appealed to the now widely-available drug, we will see marijuana dependency begin earlier in life, and it spells trouble. This dependency has concerning effects on brain development. According to Dr. Sacks, “The effects of cannabinoids on the developing brain are very piercing. If you look at the human cortical development, it continues into the mid-20s and what you see is that adolescents who start smoking at a younger age have memory problems, school failures, other psychiatric disorders, and are at a significantly greater risk of developing schizophrenia.”
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.