The current Government stance on cannabis does not fail our young people. On the contrary, it attempts to protect them from the harmful effects of a dangerous substance.
Cannabis is an illegal drug produced from a plant called cannabis sativa. It can be smoked, eaten with food, or made into a tea. . It contains over 400 chemical substances, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Cannabis plants are also called marijuana. The leaves, stems, seeds and flowers are dried, shredded and combined into a brown, grey and green mixture which is then often rolled in paper and sold in a cigarette form. This is called ” a joint” in street language.
Marijuana can be smoked in a pipe. It may be stuffed into a hollowed-out cigar, which will retain its tobacco-leaf covering. This method of delivery, known as “a blunt”, combines the harmful effects of tobacco to those of marijuana.
What are these harmful effects?
* Marijuana increases the heart rate by 20 to 100 percent for a short time after smoking, increasing the risk of heart attack, palpitations and disturbance of the heart’s rhythm.
* The carcinogens in marijuana smoke, which are more dangerous than those in tobacco, are carried directly to the lungs. Pot users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers, increasing the exposure to cancer-causing agents.
Marijuana smokers have the same symptoms of lung irritation as tobacco smokers: daily cough, production of phlegm, frequent respiratory illnesses and a heightened risk of lung infections.
* THC affects the brain areas governing pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, and perception of time. It causes impaired coordination, and difficulty with learning and problem-solving. The effects on learning and memory can last for days after the initial impact.
* Studies have shown a link between frequent marijuana use and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies.
* Long term marijuana use can lead to addiction. There are unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a frequent user tries to quit.
* Heavy marijuana use causes problems in everyday life: it weakens physical and mental health, it decreases learning ability, it adversely affects social life and careers. Marijuana users are late more frequently; they have more work absences, more accidents, more workers’ compensations claims and more job changes.
* Marijuana use can be detected in urine tests up to one month after its last use, and for regular users up to 45 days later. In a hair test, the drug may be detected for up to three years. It takes a long time to completely disappear from the human body.
Survey results for 2008 show that 14.6% of Grade 8 students have used marijuana at least one. By Grade 10, the number escalates to 29.9 %, and by Grade 12 to 42.6%. This illegal drug is the most misused in North America, especially among young people.
“There are now more teens going into treatment for marijuana dependency than for all other drugs combined. “
John Walters, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
It is evident that anything the government can do to protect young people from the use this dangerous drug is commendable.