What You Should Know About Marijuana
The “feel good” generation of the ’60s introduced America to what they considered a safe drug – marijuana. But evidence now shows it to be a psychoactive chemical (THC) that is anything but safe. “Pot,” “grass” or “weed” has increased in potency up to 10 times since the early ’70s.
After using marijuana, some people feel silly, easily amused, dreamy, relaxed, talkative, withdrawn, confused, depressed or anxious. With the use of hashish (resin from leaves and flowers of the plant pressed into cakes), THC potency can increase an additional five to ten times. Street product is often laced with dangerous chemicals like PCP.
Immediate physical effects of marijuana include increased heartbeat, bloodshot eyes, lung damage and a dry mouth or throat. It can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time, reduce concentration and affect coordination skills required for driving.
Heavy use has been shown to change the way a person thinks, learns and behaves. It further interferes with several important brain activities, causing mood swings, lowering motivation, blocking memory and frustrating attempts to learn and make decisions. It can also decrease fertility.
A common bad reaction is the “acute panic reaction,” described as an extreme fear of “losing control” for a few hours. Long term users report becoming psychologically dependent and have trouble limiting their use due to rapidly developing tolerance. Most importantly, marijuana is the most common “gateway” drug, opening doors for other hard core substances.
How to Recognize Usage:
- Frequent bloodshot eyes and use of eye “whiteners”
- Finding seeds in a pocket, unused cigarette papers or small pipes
- Poor grades, withdrawal from family activities
- A new, more undesirable peer group
- Radical change in appearance and dress, eating and sleeping habits
- Having the “munchies” and craving sweets
- Severe mood swings and defensiveness
- Sexual promiscuity
What Not to Do:
- Don’t make or accept excuses.
- Don’t blame yourself or take it personally if they blame you.
- Don’t be judgmental or critical in a demeaning way.
- Don’t ignore the warning signs.
- Don’t delay in getting help.
- Don’t let shame keep you from confronting the problem.
What to Do:
- Educate yourself and follow your intuition.
Communicate openly with your family members and talk about their behavior in an open, honest and calm manner.
- Recognize your own codependency issues.
- Accept the truth of the facts. It can happen in your family, even if you are a Christian.
- Talk to their school counselor or a professional counselor to set up an assessment of the situation.
- Promptly seek a professional, Christ-centered treatment intervention.