Marijuana, especially the legalization of it for recreational or medicinal purposes, has been a controversial topic since the '60s. Overwhelming data exists about the harm this chemical causes, but many people with a loud voice continue to demand access to it — via easier and easier avenues.
One fact is clear: the compulsive and extreme pursuit by those interested in the legalization of marijuana proves that the substance is addicting. Proponents have persevered with a singular focus and have overcome many obstacles and consequences to increase and ease access to their next high. This, almost in itself, would be a strong indication of the addictive component and effects of marijuana.
Think of it this way: What if one of your favorites were taken away? Twinkies, ice cream or ESPN? Would you go to incredible lengths of time, money, energy, effort and consequences to fight for a snack or a TV network? Only if you are addicted to it, because that is the definition of addiction.
Need further evidence of the consequences of marijuana legalization? These fall into four categories: physical, psychological, spiritual and societal.
1. Research clearly shows that even casual or recreational marijuana damages brain chemistry.
2. Damage occurs to the brain areas key to decision-making, problem solving, emotion management, and consequence or re-enforcement learning.
3. Adults who regularly used marijuana during adolescence have impaired neural connectivity in areas that involve alertness, awareness, learning and memory.
4. Users can't be sure that the marijuana they are using is FDA-approved or free from dangerous additives. Today's marijuana is four to 12 times more potent than it was in the '60s and '70s.
5. ER visits linked to marijuana have increased significantly over the past decade.
6. Acute and cognitive effects occur for those under the influence of marijuana, including impaired judgment in driving and bodily effects such as rapid heart rate, lack of physical coordination, delayed reaction time and male sterility.
7. Regular smoking of marijuana during adolescence leads to a 10-point irreversible drop in IQ.
8. Regular use of cannabis has also been associated with an increased risk for depression, anxiety and schizophrenia for some, while also inducing psychotic effects, such as disorientation, hallucinations, delusions or panic attacks, in others.
9. Because many use marijuana as a way to cope with sadness, stress and anxiety to feel good, escape or relax, they miss out on the opportunity to develop a more effective coping mechanism. Just as a cast causes leg muscles to atrophy, using marijuana causes coping mechanisms to atrophy or not develop at all.
10. Addiction to marijuana is evident, as 9 percent who experiment with it will become addicted to it and 16 percent of teens using marijuana become addicted. Marijuana withdrawal is real, both psychologically and physically.
11. For many, marijuana is a gateway drug to other more toxic drugs, and use intensifies over time. Other addictive patterns can also become evident—crime, gambling, food, avoidance and control.
12. Marijuana creates obstacles that interfere with attaining God-given potential.
13. With all drug use, spiritual disobedience and disconnection from God occurs. God says it is wrong to be under the influence or have distorted processing and decision-making skills. When we obey our flesh, we reap the fruit of the flesh.
14. The First Commandment is: "Thou shalt have no other gods (or objects of addiction) before me."
15. The legalization of marijuana sends wrong message to children. Marijuana use among eighth-graders has increased due to the fact that "the government is OK'ing it, therefore it must be safe."
16. Alcohol and tobacco combined are the leading or second leading causes of death in the U.S. With more availability, marijuana will join them and push addictive substances to No. 1 on the list, making marijuana a huge health care issue in America.
17. Marijuana use impacts and interferes with relationships, as the user is tied to the drug, which replaces other key relationships.
18. Society and the government are called to protect its members, not harm them. When in doubt, we should err on the side of caution and conservatism, rather than make decisions based on emotion and instant gratification. Legalizing marijuana opens the door to other addictive and harmful drugs. The bar will be moved as we raise a generation with easy access to a toxic chemical.
19. As more have access to marijuana, society will see an increase in problems such as divorce, finances, poor job performance and other issues that will take their toll on individuals, marriages, families and communities.
Remember, Godly decisions determine your life, so choose well!