Does Legalization of Marijuana Create Addiction Problems?

Marijuana legalization has become a reality in a number of states. Many people see marijuana as a harmless drug. However, legalization can have a negative impact on people who have addiction issues.

How Many People Use Marijuana?

Experts suggest that approximately 12 percent of U.S. citizens over the age of 12 used marijuana in recent years. Those estimates have been rising since the 1990s, and if that continues, marijuana use among high school students may outstrip use of cigarettes. The legalization of this drug may be contributing to this trend.

Marijuana and Addiction

Addiction is not a foregone conclusion. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders estimates that approximately nine percent of people who experiment with it will become addicted. Addiction becomes more likely for people who use the drug as teenagers. Rates of addiction soar to 17 percent for this demographic.

Why Is the Risk of Addiction Growing?

Legalization is just one component of the rising risk of addiction. The marijuana products that are available today are stronger than they were in the 1980s. An article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that the amount of THC, the active ingredient in the drug, has more than quadrupled since then.

Is Legalization a Good Idea?

Legalization of marijuana isn’t an inherently bad idea. However, people who have addiction issues will want to think twice before indulging. Additionally, it’s imperative that people realize that marijuana isn’t necessarily a harmless substance that doesn’t have any bad side effects. Addiction is a real possibility.

Protecting Children Is Paramount

As legalization spreads to more states, hospitals are reporting an increasing number of marijuana overdoses in children. Adults who will be partaking should take care to prevent children from gaining access to substances that are not intended for their consumption.

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