Marijuana use and abuse
Marijuana is considered the “gateway” drug because of its strong addiction potential. The increase in dopamine when inhaled will cause a decreased response over a long term and, over time, a tolerance will develop. When an addiction potential increases, individuals may experiment with other drugs. Although, marijuana use does not directly lead to the use of other illicit drugs, the addiction potential does meaning sometimes users may need assistance in gaining recovery through rehab for weed dependence.
Legalizing this drug has created ambivalence among teenagers and many adolescents admit to using marijuana, which has been shown to cause long-term memory and learning deficits over time as well as blunted emotions and behavior — especially in the younger population, as the brain does not fully develop until approximately 23 years of age.
Legalization of marijuana
Although marijuana has addictive potential, this drug is not considered life threatening. Withdrawal symptoms rarely exist, but may include agitation and nervousness. Additionally, this drug has been used in medical practices to help alleviate many common medical conditions. This is the most common illicit substance used in the United States and the laws and regulations have become more relaxed over the past couple of years.
To date, 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is legal in four states and is up for election to be legalized in 11 additional states including California and Maine. Twenty states and the District have decriminalized marijuana, meaning that there is no prison time, arrests or documented criminal records for first-time possessions carrying a small amount of marijuana. Even though the legalities of marijuana have become more widespread, it is still considered a Schedule I drug and users may need help overcoming addiction to the substance through cannabis rehab.