(Photo via Cincinnati.com)
May 13, 2015
Cincinnati.com - Mary F. Haag, RN, is CEO of PreventionFirst, formerly the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati.
PreventionFirst wants to educate all Ohioans about the science and facts about marijuana. It is important for people to understand what is known about both the adverse health effects and the potential therapeutic benefits linked to marijuana. Here are a few things to think about.
Second, our communities deserve better. Yes, marijuana is addictive
– a condition in which a person cannot stop using a drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life. Overstimulation of the endocannabinoind system of the brain by marijuana use can cause changes in the brain that leads to addiction. Tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, is fat soluble and can remain in the body for days or even weeks after use.
We should be thoughtfully examining all policy and regulatory options available to minimize harms to society and promote Americans' safety, well-being and competitiveness.
There is no reason to think laws limiting marijuana to adults will be any more successful than comparable laws for cigarettes or alcohol. Legalization will likely increase the already substantial proportion of teens that use marijuana regularly and thus put themselves at a competitive disadvantage in school and life.
As states are faced with the commercialization of marijuana under the guise of legalization, it is crucial they use science to guide their decision making, learn from past mistakes, and act to prevent the establishment of a "big marijuana" industry that will benefit from creating and sustaining a new generation of young people addicted to their product.
PreventionFirst does not support marijuana legalization – recreational or medicinal. We ask that everyone consider what their vision for a healthy community looks like and whether marijuana really plays a role in that plan. Remember prevention first, if we are to achieve a vibrant community in the future.
For more information visit, the NIDA Research Report Series on Marijuana by Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.