Learn About Marijuana

Marijuana, derived from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant, is the most used illicit drug in the United States. It can be vaporized, brewed into tea, cooked into food, made into oils or tinctures, or smoked in a cigarette, cigar, bong, or pipe. When used, the tetrahydrocannabinol enters the bloodstream and overactivates parts of the brain. Marijuana has a host of short- and long-term effects, including impaired learning, memory, coordination, and decision-making as well as addiction, poor educational outcomes, and chronic psychosis disorders.

Key Facts about Marijuana

Is Marijuana Medicine?

Our belief is that marijuana should be subject to the same research, consideration, and study as any other potential medicine, under the standards of the FDA. Legalizing marijuana for medical use should be decided by the doctors and researchers at the FDA who are determined to find solutions for patients rather than by businesses and lobbyists who are looking to profit off it.

Neither the FDA nor the American Medical Association endorses using marijuana as though it were medicine. Instead of seeking FDA approval, medical marijuana’s backers have circumvented the systems intended to protect patients and sought voter and legislator workarounds. This has created a catch-22 system of medicine where patients play the roles normally played by expert doctors, pharmacists, and regulators and where doses are inconsistent in form and strength.

The Dangers of Marijuana

Legalization and marketing have drastically changed youth perception of and exposure to marijuana. More than ever, young people are exposed to marijuana through dispensaries, advertisements, and public discourse. States that decriminalized marijuana saw three times as many poison center calls for accidental marijuana ingestion by young people, according to the American College of Pediatricians. The national Monitoring the Future Survey found that the percentage of young people who view smoking marijuana as harmful has fallen from 51.7% to 26.7% from 2008 to 2018, despite the fact that regular marijuana use is associated with numerous negative effects.

While advocates of legal marijuana are quick to point out that no one has died from overdosing on marijuana, it’s a lie to say no one has died because of marijuana. Legalization has increase instances of drugged driving, making roads more dangerous. Traffic incidents have increased in states that legalized marijuana, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. And the percentage of fatal traffic crashes where drivers tested positive for drugs increased more than 50% between 2006 and 2016, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Of those who test positive for drugs, the largest share of them tests positive for marijuana at 38%.

Children and pets are especially vulnerable to marijuana poisoning. The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus found that unintentional marijuana exposure resulted in almost double the amount of marijuana-related visits to a local children’s hospital, and a 34% increase in poison center cases each year. Similarly, the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care published a research study that found a fourfold increase in dogs being poisoned with marijuana and attributed the ingestion of marijuana edibles to two dogs’ deaths.

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