A case against MaryJane

A case against MaryJane January 12, 2014

Willie Nelson before long-term marijuana use

Willie Nelson: After long-term marijuana use.

Word to the young: Be careful before you toke

And for further consideration:

Marijuana use and the maltreatment of children: Parents who use marijuana, for example, may have difficulty picking up their babies’ cues because marijuana dulls response time and alters perceptions. When parents repeatedly miss their babies’ cues, the babies eventually stop providing them. The result is disengaged parents with disengaged babies. These parents and babies then have difficulty forming a healthy, appropriate relationship. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/substanceuse/chapterthree.cfm

Marijuana use and driving imparied: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/10/news/la-heb-marijuana-car-crashes-20120210

Long-term health effects: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-abuse/how-does-marijuana-use-affect-your-brain-body

As people age, they lose neurons in the hippocampus, which decreases their ability to learn new information. Chronic THC exposure may hasten age-related loss of hippocampal neurons.

Within a few minutes after inhaling marijuana smoke, an individual’s heart rate speeds up, the bronchial passages relax and become enlarged, and blood vessels in the eyes expand, making the eyes look red. The heart rate—normally 70 to 80 beats per minute—may increase by 20 to 50 beats per minute, or may even double in some cases. Taking other drugs with marijuana can amplify this effect.

Limited evidence suggests that a person’s risk of heart attack during the first hour after smoking marijuana is four times his or her usual risk. This observation could be partly explained by marijuana raising blood pressure (in some cases) and heart rate and reducing the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen. Such possibilities need to be examined more closely, particularly since current marijuana users include adults from the baby boomer generation, who may have other cardiovascular risks that may increase their vulnerability.

Consequences of Marijuana Abuse

Acute (present during intoxication)

  • Impairs short-term memory
  • Impairs attention, judgment, and other cognitive functions
  • Impairs coordination and balance
  • Increases heart rate
  • Psychotic episodes

Persistent (lasting longer than intoxication, but may not be permanent)

  • Impairs memory and learning skills
  • Sleep impairment

Long-term (cumulative effects of chronic abuse)

  • Can lead to addiction
  • Increases risk of chronic cough, bronchitis
  • Increases risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals
  • May increase risk of anxiety, depression, and amotivational syndrome*

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  • $23022903

    Also see: alcohol and tobacco

  • Jeff

    Your first example, the pictures, merely points out that people will look older as they age.

    Your second example has less to do with pot than it has with negligent parenting.

    The third example is about operating a vehicle while impaired.

  • Zeke

    Yeah Karen, what’s your point?

  • Seth

    Very poor article. Firstly, many individuals consume cannabis through a vaporizer, cookies, candy, brownies, etc. Most of the “harmful” effects you mention stem (ha) from smoking it. Second, as stated above by another savvy commenter, showing a picture of a man young, contrasted against old, has nothing to do with pot. People age. Yes, it’s true. Hmm. Thirdly, my uncle (age 47) has been smoking pot for about 30 years. He is a picture of health, and is very intelligent and quick-witted; has the attention span of a healthy 20 year old. Maybe you should have written an article about cigs and booze…those two, they actually kill. A lot.

  • Sagrav

    I’m not sure what point you were trying to make with those Willie Nelson photos. Willie is 80 years old, and he has a physical appearance that resembles any average 80 year old. I don’t see any negative consequences to his pot use. In fact, he made it to 80, and that is more then a lot of non-pot smokers can say.

    I know it is a cultural thing for religious conservatives to oppose pot legalization since pot is often associated with liberal social groups, but this is just weird.

  • Brian Westley

    According to this interview, Willie Nelson took up pot as a way to quit cigarettes, because “half the people in my family were killed by cigarettes”.

  • I’ve been offered a toke more than once, even from doctors(!), but it just doesn’t interest me. I think it is because I read Timothy Leary’s book Chaos & Cyber Culture. (Ronin Press, 1995) Dr. Leary knew most drugs quite well, yet he showed the PC as more mind-bending than any drug, (and the Mac as more mind-accelerating that the PC, for all you Mac fanboys out there!) in a chart titled “The Acceleration of Brain Power,” on the first few pages of the title. The most potent “drug” according to the drug expert? The Internet, which he called the “Global Home Network.”

    So I’ll never smoke weed with Willie. Ever.

    However, my “drug” dealer, the phone company, does deliver DSL connection to the WWW. A few preachers might think I got “totally wasted” on buying books like “Gospel Fictions” and “The River of God” from Amazon. 😉


  • MarthaOz

    Yeah, right, and I didn’t have gray hair when I married my husband — 25 years ago. This article was very poorly researched. There is a ranking of drugs and alcohol impairments that I wish I could find to help you, and it showed alcohol near the top, and Mary Jane way down in the middle…lower even than cigarettes. Get on the stick and find that before putting out this nonsense. As with any substance, even water, excess use has bad outcomes; moderation is key. So stop with the stupid fear-mongering.

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t use the stuff, but we have to stop ruining people’s lives who do use it. If it were universally legal, regulated and taxed, fewer lives would be lost, fewer ordinary people would be dealing with criminals, the profit and value would go down, we’d spend law enforcement money where it matters, and the taxes could help with state budgets.