Behavior Health and Wellness Blog

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The Surgeon General’s Warning on Marijuana

Marijuana use poses significant public health challenges in the United States. Over the past two decades, its use has skyrocketed, with more than a quarter of Americans having tried it. Alarmingly, the age of first use has dropped to the junior high school years. Despite a recent decline from nearly 11% to 7% among high school seniors, daily marijuana use still surpasses alcohol and cigarette use among this group. A recent study revealed that 32% of respondents used marijuana in the past 30 days, compared to 25% who smoked tobacco.

On March 24, 1982, the Department of Health and Human Services presented Congress with a report on the consequences of marijuana use. This report, “Marijuana and Health, 1982,” is based on comprehensive scientific reviews by the Institute of Medicine, the Canadian Addiction Research Foundation, and the World Health Organization (WHO). These independent reviews confirm the Public Health Service’s findings that marijuana use poses serious health risks. Acute intoxication from marijuana can impair mental functioning, perception, and skilled performance, including driving and other tasks requiring judgment and fine motor skills.

Staying healthy means making informed choices. Avoiding marijuana can help protect your mental and physical well-being, ensuring you stay sharp and capable in all aspects of life.

Chronic Effects of Marijuana Use Include:

  1. short-term memory impairment and slowness of learning.
  2. impaired lung function similar to that found in cigarette smokers. Indications are that more serious effects, such as cancer and other lung disease, follow extended use.
  3. decreased sperm count and sperm motility.
  4. interference with ovulation and pre-natal development.
  5. impaired immune response.
  6. possible adverse effects on heart function.
  7. by-products of marijuana remaining in body fat for several weeks, with unknown consequences. The storage of these by-products increases the possiblilties for chronic, as well as residual, effects on performance, even after the acute reaction to the drug has worn off. Of special concern are the long-term developmental effects in

Children and adolescents are especially susceptible to the behavioral and psychological impacts of marijuana. Prolonged use by young people has been linked to “amotivational syndrome,” a condition characterized by energy loss, poor school performance, strained relationships with parents, and other behavioral issues. While further research is needed, recent national surveys indicate that 40% of heavy users experience some or all of these symptoms. The Public Health Service has found that marijuana affects both the mind and body in many ways, often with harmful and dangerous consequences. This conclusion is supported by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. To maintain a healthy and productive life, it’s essential to avoid marijuana use. Protect your mental and physical well-being by making choices that support your long-term health and success.



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