Marijuana advocates have downplayed the addictive potential of cannabis for many decades, yet those who have tried and failed to stop their using know better. Today’s modern strains of cannabis plants contain up to 30% more psychoactive THC than the old baby boomer marijuana of the 1970s. Long term studies of chronic users who start before the final completion of human brain development occurs (approximately age 25) have shown an average 10% reduction in IQ points, as well as reduced activity in the areas of the brain cortex that control motivation and higher reasoning. Sadly, the stereotype of the “pot head” that becomes unmotivated and not very bright is a true one. Younger users are especially prone to anxiety attacks, depression, insomnia, chronic abdominal pain and cyclical vomiting. Persons with any genetic predisposition or family history of schizophrenia can trigger the disease in themselves, and then they often suffer a more severe and medically untreatable form of severe schizophrenia from which they can never recover.

Cannabis is not always bad, just like opiates are not always bad. Medical uses of cannabis-derived CBD products have shown some promise for some individuals, but more studies will need to be done before the reality can match up to the hype. And even THC has some valid medical uses, and scientists are looking at it to treat some conditions in carefully controlled studies. However, the bottom line is that most people who use cannabis today are simply using it for its mind-altering effects, no differently than they would abuse alcohol or other drugs. And for anyone with the disease of addiction, is just isn’t safe under almost any circumstances, and certainly not before age 25, and certainly not without supervision from a doctor who is fully aware of your addictive disorders and who has taken a complete personal and family history from you about any and all risk factors you may have.

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