Marijuana Fast Facts
POTENCY - Marijuana potency is on the rise. In the 1980’s THC concentrations were less than 4%. In 2009 the average concentration was 10%. Hospital and rehabilitation center admission rates have soared 188% for minors abusing marijuana in that time period. Admissions for alcohol abuse over that same time period declined by 64%. Between 2004 and 2011 alone, marijuana related hospital emergency room visits increased by 52%.
RISKS – THC, one of over 400 chemicals in marijuana, over-activates the brains endocannabinoid system, causing a “high” and interfering with the neural communication network. Adolescent use causes a decrease in the nerves myelin sheathing, resulting in a decrease in IQ of 7-8 points (possibly taking youth from high normal to lower than average IQ). Use before the age of 15 means a threefold likelihood of later mental illness such as schizophrenia appearing.
Marijuana smoke is 70% worse than regular cigarette smoke. In Arizona, it is illegal for minors to possess or smoke tobacco cigarettes, but they can smoke marijuana with a medical marijuana card. In 2012, for the first time, marijuana use starting exceeding normal cigarette use. Teens wrongly believe marijuana is far less risky than tobacco and prescription drugs.
Research shows users driving vehicles have slower reaction times, impaired judgment and difficulty responding to signals and sounds. The skills needed to drive safely are controlled by the same parts of the brain affected by THC. Having a medical marijuana card is not a defense to a DUI charge. This is the answer to the question of whether anyone has ever died simply by using marijuana. Many fatal car accidents have been tied to marijuana use.
ADDICTION – Despite all popular belief, medical research has proven conclusively that marijuana is addictive. 1 out of every 11 overall users will become addicted to it. If the person started using as a minor, this number raises to 1 in 6.