GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

August 16, 2013

Marijuana use can prevent mental, emotional growth

Although it is now legal in Massachusetts to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for recreational use, and legal for use medically under a doctor’s care with a prescription, I still have concerns about the harm it can cause, especially to young people. Technically, as far as I am aware, and just as there is much confusion as to how much alcohol is detrimental to health, there is no clear evidence as to whether smoking or ingesting marijuana is harmful or not, relative to frequency and amounts.

However, as a therapist I can say that I have witnessed the deleterious effects of marijuana in some of my clients. Regular marijuana use can have negative psychological and behavioral effects because habitual users are risking the inhibition of their own normal, healthy, mental and emotional growth.

Marijuana is a mind-altering drug. When you use it you are then not fully tuned in to reality. Some say, “well that’s the point” and it “takes the edge off.” The problem with that thinking is that the real world of the 21st century is fast-moving, complex, sometimes violent (the marathon bombings, domestic violence, auto crashes) and ever-changing. Now is the time for clear thinking and awareness of the world around us.

Marijuana use not only can create mental dullness, it can also make you socially dull. If you are a serious recreational cannabis user you may have few other interests. “Getting high” is what you do, what you talk about, what you look forward to. And, while you are getting high you’re not doing much of anything else. You’re not going anywhere, you’re not accomplishing much of anything, and you are not exploring the many wondrous things that life can offer you.

Use of this drug can rob you of mental energy and clarity, and its negative effects on memory are well known. So, you won’t have the mental energy to dream dreams, make plans, set goals or create ideas. It robs you of the energy and motivation to create a real life with real happiness potential, or causes damage to an already well established lifestyle.

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