Most Americans are in favor of either medical cannabis programs, recreational use laws, or both. There may be a day that comes in the not too distant future when we see cannabis downgraded to a status similar to alcohol, decriminalized on the Federal level. Naturally, there exists two pretty good arguments for supporting or criticizing legislation that will bring about more relaxed marijuana laws. Each case should, and likely will be considered carefully before any national decisions are made in the future.
Maintaining the status quo of marijuana legality is harmful and has disrupted the lives of millions of Americans. The fact that people are serving lengthy sentences in prison for cannabis is almost hard to believe, and yet that is the reality of many Americans. Even though the drug is habit forming for some people and can lead to a cannabis use disorder, doesn’t mean that locking people up for using the substance is the right course.
However, it is vital that legislation in this country, and the rolling out of laws that allow for adult use, be guided by public health and addiction science experts. Americans need to be able to access the facts about the drug so that they can make informed decisions at an age when the brain is still not fully developed. Simply put, there are inherent risks to using cannabis; many Americans, especially young Americans, are unaware of such hazards.
Young Adult Cannabis Use
The majority of people who use cannabis recreationally do so in moderation. Your average smoker is lighting up first thing in the morning, maintaining a high throughout the day, and then using the drug just before bed. Just like with alcohol, most Americans exercise caution when it comes to using the drug. However, research shows that young people who use the drug are at a heightened risk of experiencing cognitive deficiencies, social problems, and developing a cannabis use disorder.
Teenagers and young adults, in states permitting medical use or people over the age of 21 years, need to understand better what is at stake before they begin using the drug regularly, or at all for that matter. Millions of people in this country currently meet the criteria for a cannabis use disorder; such people seek the assistance of addiction treatment centers regularly. With that in mind, it is clear that cannabis – as some purport – isn’t benign; those who attempt to quit on their own will often experience withdrawal symptoms that can precipitate relapse before recovery takes root.
The addictive nature of cannabis use is incontrovertible, and young people are vulnerable; which is why it is concerning to learn that the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey found that more non-college young adults are using the drug than ever. The MTF shows that daily, or near daily, marijuana use among non-college young adults is climbing. Last year, use reached its highest level (13.2 percent) among the mentioned demographic. Non-college attending young adults use marijuana at nearly three times the rate of college students.
Please take a moment to watch Dr. Nora Volkow discuss some of the findings of the survey:
If you are having trouble watching, please click here.
Cannabis Use Disorder
At Celebrate Hope, we can help men and women struggling with cannabis use disorder break the cycle of addiction. Please contact our skilled team of professionals to learn about our recovery programs and discuss treatment options.