We all have a stereotype about pot users in our head – the chill, laidback stoner who eats Cheetos when the “munchies” hit and floats gently through life. Unfortunately, marijuana use may prove more complicated than we think, with unexpected short and long-term problems. While the legalization of marijuana across the country hasn’t necessarily led to a steep increase in casual pot use, the number of heavy users has recently increased.
As more people begin to use marijuana legally, we may see a corresponding increase in violent crimes and mental illness, particularly in adolescents who regularly use cannabis. Moreover, it’s important to remember that marijuana use is still illegal in Texas, and possessing or using some form of the drug can lead to felony charges.
In a recent post, we discussed the possible connection between marijuana use and domestic violence, focusing on research by journalist Alex Berenson and his book Tell Your Children: The Truth about Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some of the other downsides of using pot, including the link between marijuana and other forms of violence, mental illness, and the possible consequences of cannabis use on the developing adolescent brain.
Marijuana and Violence
As discussed in our earlier post, there is a correlation between using marijuana and many forms of violence, not just domestic violence. While many advocates of legalizing marijuana predicted that the move would allow police to focus on hardened criminals and decrease violent crime, that hasn’t held. The first four states to legalize marijuana saw increased violent crime at rates over the national average.
Similarly, a 2012 study from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence cited by Berenson showed that using marijuana was linked to a doubling of rates of domestic violence among 9,000 adolescent study participants. According to the study, “Consistent use of marijuana during adolescence was most predictive of intimate partner violence.” Cannabis is also more potent than it has been in the past, containing higher levels of THC.
Marijuana and Mental Illness
Berenson also discusses the increasing link between cannabis use and mental illness. While it can be difficult to accurately track the rates of mental illness and psychosis linked to marijuana use in the U.S., many studies indicate a correlation between the two. In countries such as Denmark and Finland, which more accurately track mental illness, scientists have seen an increase in psychosis along with an increase in marijuana use. Researchers theorize that this link exists because of the tendency of marijuana to make users paranoid.
Marijuana and Developing Brains
Finally, Berenson’s book is a warning cry to parents of adolescents. We now know that marijuana use can affect the developing brains of adolescents, which may be vulnerable to long-term damage from the drug. Researchers still have many questions about the long-term effects of marijuana use on teens, but we know that it impairs short-term learning, memory, attention, and decision-making. Heavy cannabis use in adolescence is associated with higher dropout rates, poor school performance, greater unemployment, greater dependence on welfare, and poorer life satisfaction.
Hire an Experienced Texas Criminal Attorney
If you face drug charges in the Weatherford area, you need skilled legal guidance. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to get the best possible defense in your case. Attorney Kenneth Mullen is a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney with years of experience fighting marijuana charges for clients. Call The Law Office of Kenneth W Mullen PC at 817-406-9596 or contact us online.
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