Is it risky? Marijuana and you

It’s reasonable to believe that most adults already have made up their minds about marijuana use. And it’s also safe to say that to educate them about the risks will elicit the response that we are using “scare tactics” to convince them and they aren’t interested. But we hope you will consider the information that we’re sharing today.

The Reuters news service recently reported on a study that found that marijuana use triples risk of blood pressure-related death. Every year that it is used, the risks go up. Other studies are anticipated to confirm the accuracy of the study’s results.

However, NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) advises possible health risks. For a lot of people, the word “possible” will mean it can’t be proven to be true. Follow that up with the questions, “Why would you want to play roulette with your well being if that means it’s also possible that the practice can adversely affect you?” and “What are the possible consequences you could regret later?”

Some of the long term effects are “mental health problems, chronic cough, frequent respiratory infections.” (If you have never had an asthma attack or bronchitis or pneumonia or COPD you might not understand just how much is required of the human body just to breathe.) Youth who repeatedly use marijuana may experience loss of points from their IQs. Babies may be born with attention, memory and problem-solving issues.

According to WebMD online, related health effects include increasing the heart rate up to two times faster for a period of three hours, increased risk of bleeding, lowering the blood pressure, having an effect on blood sugar levels and experiencing lung-related health problems like chest colds. Longtime users who stop using marijuana experience withdrawal. If you have diabetes, liver disease or low blood pressure, using marijuana can cause other health problems. It can make mental health issues worse, things like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, short-term psychosis, and suicidal thoughts.

In spite of what some people believe to the contrary, marijuana can be addictive and may lead to cocaine and heroin addiction. Look at the news headlines for Columbiana County and news reports the numbers of the population that cannot pass a drug test to become gainfully employed. What was the gateway to drug abuse?

Eloise V. Traina, executive director of Family Recovery Center, has been in the recovery from substance abuse and related behavioral issues for many years. She answered the gateway question. “We survey our clients when they come in. Eighty-five percent of them say that marijuana was the gateway to more powerful drugs.” She said that children are using as young as 10- to 13-years-old, as well, often starting with their parents. “This is an issue to be addressed.”

Marijuana use is not without its risks. The question is, is it worth the risk to your well being?

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over kick-off to end drunk driving will feature a car cruise from 5 to 8 p.m. tomorrow at Social 45 north of Lisbon on Route 45. Hosted by the Be Smart Be Safe Coalition, guest speakers will be Lt. Les Brode of the Ohio Highway Patrol and Lt. Allen Young, Columbiana County Sheriff’s Department.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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