…Or not to weed

Weed. Bud. Ganja. Marijuana.
Parallel worlds living side by side, weed smokers and non-smokers alike. Worlds collide when two students stand on opposite sides of the same argument: should marijuana be legalized?
“They use it as a coping mechanism.”
He shakes his head in frustration. John Doe has friendships with many weed users, and time and time again has seen his friends turn to weed instead of getting the help they need. He’s not the only one concerned with the shocking levels of depression, anxiety, and drug use he sees around him.
In light of the ongoing effects of the pandemic, healthcare providers are more worried than ever about the mental state of America today. Improper resources to handle mental health issues and the trauma of the past year have resulted in AAP, AACAP, and CHA, three organizations with a focus on child health, urging lawmakers to declare the issue a national emergency. Like John Doe’s friends, teens across the country are resorting to marijuana as a relief.
“Most people I know who smoke consistently use it as a coping mechanism which is only a reasonable short-term avoidance rather than a long-term solution,” says John Doe.
The normalization of weed as a way to cope with mental health issues may inhibit students’ abilities to maintain mental health through more long-term methods of treatment, such as therapy. There also is some evidence that teenagers who attempt suicide may be more likely to have used marijuana than those who have not made an attempt.
There also is some evidence that teenagers who attempt suicide may be more likely to have used marijuana than those who have not made an attempt. Most importantly, the normalization of weed as a way to cope with mental health issues may inhibit students’ abilities to maintain mental health through more long-term methods of treatment, such as therapy.
John Doe thinks back to conversations with his family and the heavy indoctrination of the danger of drugs since his childhood. While he never knew why he was always firm and confident in his avoidance of substances.
While John Doe’s friends may reassure him of their commitment to their safety and that their curiosity about drugs goes no further than the naturally sourced substance, John Doe worries about the things they can’t control. Namely, whether or not their weed is truly just weed.
“Part of the reason this is such an issue is because it’s illegal, people need to do illegal things to get it and then you can’t regulate it and it inherently brings up crime rates.”
One of these dangers of unregulated weed is the possibility of other drugs being laced with it. Many weed smokers don’t feel the weight of the word “gateway drug” on their shoulders as it floats away in clouds of smoke. However, while the gateway nature of weed itself is contested, the common and harmful practice of combining it with more addictive drugs such as lead, cocaine, and other hallucinogens makes it far less innocent than it seems. Particularly when sold illicitly, it is often laced with psychoactives to distract from quality issues and increase its effect on users.
Jeffrey Veatch lost his son to heroin and blames marijuana. An article by the Smart Approaches to Marijuana Association (SAM) writes, “Jeffrey Veatch agrees that not all young people who use marijuana will end up using other drugs. But he knows in his son’s case, marijuana was the trigger that caused him to lose his inhibitions and experiment with other, more dangerous drugs that ultimately lead to his death.”
Marijuana is a toxic factor to bring into the equation of teenage mental health issues. The dangers are clear. So, why is it that that argument still stands? Do the benefits outweigh the costs or do the costs outweigh the benefits?
When worlds collide, weed smokers and non-smokers alike, you should stand with John Doe.
The costs outweigh the benefits.