The Teenage Mind

The internal experience of the young adult

Is Marijuana Harmful?

Just about everybody agrees, marijuana alters perception.

When President Obama was soliciting ideas to improve the economy, the most popular suggestion among youth was the legalization of marijuana. This was based on the assumption that marijuana is harmless. But, is it?

Facts for Teens. An excellent source of facts for teens can be found here. Marijuana influences everybody a little differently. Some people like it because it makes them feel relaxed. Others feel paranoid after taking marijuana. Some people say it helps them tune into music. Food tastes better. Time slows down. But, just about everybody agrees, marijuana alters perception.

The way marijuana affects each individual will depend on: how strong the marijuana is, who the user is with, how the user is feeling at the time, whether it is combined with alcohol or other drugs, and the user's previous experience with marijuana.

Youth like to experiment and marijuana is seen as relatively harmless. But, is it? If marijuana alters perceptions and judgement then driving a car could be dangerous. Impaired judgement could lead to risky sexual behavior and exposure to sexually transtmitted diseases like HIV. But, perhaps one of the most serious side effects of marijuana is lethargy. Marijuana makes people lazy.

In the end, President Obama said no to pot because it is illegal. So, marijuana can have legal consequences to its users. Now, here is my question to you...Is marijuana harmful?

 

Jann Gumbiner, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine.

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