Weeding out the lies

Weeding+out+the+lies

Photo by Amy McCoy

Story by Caroline Purtle, Staff Writer

You touch the paper, but can you feel your lungs tightening?
You taste the fumes, but can you taste the lack of sleep?Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has become a popular drug of choice for teenagers and is one that is controversial in both medical and governmental policies. According to a June study by the Center for Disease Control on risky youth behavior, 48.9 percent of teenagers have tried marijuana by the time they are seniors.

The percent of teens who heavily use the weed spiked to 80 percent, an all time high according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Though, people say it has no permanent effects on the user’s body, there have been recent studies that prove otherwise.

A recent study has found that marijuana use drops IQ. The study included information on more than 1,000 people born in New Zealand in 1972-1973. Participants took IQ and other mental functioning tests at age 13 — before any had started smoking marijuana — and then again at age 38, according to News for Healthier Living.

The study showed an eight-point drop in IQ before the age of 38. The average IQ is a 100 points which is in the fiftieth percentile, a drop in only eight points bumped them down to the twenty-ninth percentile.

For those who had started as teens, quitting or cutting back on marijuana later didn’t seem to help much, according to the study. Even if they stopped, intellectual functioning never came back to the previous levels.

Marijuana has up to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. People who habitually use the drug will suffer from long-term strain on their lungs, with negative effects on athletic ability.

A study of 450 individuals found that people who smoke marijuana frequently, but do not smoke tobacco, have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers according to a study on the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Not only does weed affect your IQ and athletic ability, but it is believed to create serious health issues including certain types of cancers.

Examination of human lung tissue that had been exposed to marijuana smoke over a long period of time in a laboratory showed cellular changes called metaplasia that are considered precancerous according to a study on The Well.

Though some users smoke without knowledge of the consequences, others do not care about the possible risks.

“I think that there is a lot of bad information out there. A lot of them really don’t believe that those things will happen to them,” said Ann Bishop, counselor and sponsor of Students Against Destructive Decisions. “If they do believe that those are possible consequences, they believe that you have to be smoking several times a day for that to happen. They don’t think that an occasional use will hurt them.”

Every year more than 100,000 teens are treated for marijuana addiction. That number is believed to grow in upcoming years.

“Teens need to view cannabis as not an entirely benign compound, but as something that can impair your judgment and might not be great for your brain,”  said Susan Tapert, a neuropsychologist at the University of California in a story published in Live Science.

You smell the smoke, but do you smell the memory loss?
You hear the pressure, but do you hear you losing coordination?
You see the lighter, but do you see your IQ dropping?