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Youth Blog

How can marijuana be harmful if it’s a just a plant that grows naturally?

December 19, 2013

A: Great question! And you’re right – marijuana is a plant that’s grown all around the world, for many different purposes. But just because something’s ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it’s totally risk-free if I eat it or smoke it or whatever. Think of all those wilderness survival guides out there; they all include important tips: This berry’s safe to eat. This one will cause your arms to fall off…Or something like that. People use a lot of different ‘measuring sticks’ to decide what’s okay or not okay. For some, it’s natural vs. artificial. For others, it’s legal vs. illegal. And still for others, it’s socially accepted vs. unaccepted. And so on…What’s really important though is that you use MORE THAN ONE measuring stick to figure it out for yourself. So here’s my suggestion: develop a case for and against smoking weed, weigh all the Pros and Cons, Gains and Losses… And make it personal! Some people feel more relaxed when they’re high, while others get totally sketched out…factor it all in. Here are some potential downsides to smoking weed (some of these may hit close to home):

  • Impaired depth perception, attention, concentration
  • Decreased motivation
  • Could exacerbate (make worse) symptoms of depression or anxiety over time
  • For those at risk for mental illness, or with high doses, may trigger a psychotic episode or increase thoughts of paranoia or panic
  • May be contaminated with other harmful drugs or toxins. Don’t trust weed if you don’t know where it came from!
  • Greater risk of long-lasting (and even permanent) cognitive impairment in the developing brain – e.g. pre-teens and teens. It sucks, I know…

For some more effects (short term and long term), check out this site: http://not4me.org/drug_facts/marijuana.html

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