While medical use may show promise for issues like epilepsy and chronic pain, is marijuana safe? Increase your understanding as we bust these five common myths.
Myth #1: Physical addiction to marijuana is rare.
Fact: Four million youth and adults had a marijuana (cannabis) use disorder in 2016, with over half occurring in youth and young adults aged 12 to 25 (National Survey on Drug Use and Health – NSDUH).
Myth #2: Medical and recreational marijuana is being legalized in many states so it must be safe.
Fact: Marijuana use causes physical impairment including increased heart rate, impaired coordination, judgement, and response time, memory and learning issues, risk for chronic cough and bronchitis. A persistent vomiting condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is a common reason for marijuana related hospitalizations.
Myth #3: Marijuana is good for mental health because it reduces anxiety.
Fact: While one effect of marijuana use can be a short-term reduction in anxiety, marijuana is linked with a significantly increased risk for mental health issues including psychotic episodes, panic attacks, and serious illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Myth #4: Smoking, vaping, or ingesting marijuana as a youth is no riskier than using as an adult.
Fact: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.”
Myth #5: Most youth experiment with smoking marijuana.
Fact: Most students do not use marijuana. Here’s the good news: In Wisconsin, only 30% of high-school youth reported ever using marijuana, and only 16% in the past 30 days. Here’s the bad news: Wisconsin’s past-month usage rate is 139% higher than the 2017 national average of 6.7%.
As marijuana legalization is happening in our surrounding states, we need to employ serious marijuana prevention measures to keep our youth informed about the risks for addiction, physical impairment, and associated higher risks for serious mental health issues. Let’s work as a community to empower our kids to make healthy decisions.
Submitted by: Stacy Hilde, We Support Recovery
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