Harmon: Unveiling the negative effects of smoking weed

A person consuming marijuana through smoke inhalation. Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons

The topic of marijuana is a contentious one, with opinions on its use varying widely. As a 21 year old who has never smoked weed, I have observed its effects on those around me. Many of my friends and family members, past and present, have been users of marijuana. Through their experiences, I have come to recognize some of the significant, negative ways that smoking weed can impact an individual.

One of which is its financial toll. I have had family members heckle me for money after they have spent theirs on purchasing weed. I have had friends fight each other over petty arguments about weed and purchasing it.

The cost of marijuana – whether as dried flowers, edibles, or extracts – can accumulate over time, resulting in poor money management and exacerbating financial problems. On average, marijuana users spend between $500 and $2,500 annually on marijuana alone, according to a survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

This expense can lead to stress, debt and decreased savings for future goals. Possibly diverting funds from more worthwhile projects such as education, savings or leisure activities with long-term benefits.

While smoking weed has proven health benefits, according to the CDC, it also has potential health risks. These include respiratory problems like chronic bronchitis, coughing, and lung infections – similar to smoking tobacco, due to harmful chemicals and toxins in marijuana smoke.

Additionally, heavy or prolonged marijuana use combined with a predisposition to mental health issues can lead to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and psychosis. It may also raise heart rate and blood pressure, posing risks for those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, potentially leading to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Heavy use can also majorly affect eating habits.

I’ve seen some of the detrimental consequences of marijuana use on academic performance as a college student. Cannabis use can affect cognitive abilities such as motivation, memory and concentration, which can be detrimental to academic progress. This is odd because many college students use marijuana to ease stress, some even go so far as to say that they can’t concentrate on their academic work without it.

This is deeply worrying to me. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if marijuana suddenly vanished from the face of the earth. Without the drug, how would these people behave? Would they be able to complete their homework and other activities effectively, could they become more motivated? Would they just be unable to do everything, or would they search for a different drug entirely? Will they be perfectly fine without it?

Usage of marijuana on a regular basis might lead to subpar academic results, missed opportunities and diminished enthusiasm to pursue educational objectives. Marijuana usage can also result in increased absenteeism, decreased participation in extracurricular activities and a lack of attention, all of which can compromise academic progress in general.

It is crucial to remember that marijuana usage can be done responsibly, and some people do fit it into their lifestyle without suffering a majority of these negative consequences. However, it is important to take into account the potential dangers and effects of marijuana use – especially for vulnerable groups like college students who may be more vulnerable because of their stage of development and responsibilities.

Today being April 20 and the state of New Jersey having legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes, I believe it is important to mention that a conversation regarding the possible side effects of this popular drug should be had.

I have no personal qualms with marijuana and actually hope to try it myself someday, however, I believe it is still important to acknowledge the potential risk associated with this drug and have this dialogue.

It is crucial that marijuana users act appropriately when using the drug. To use marijuana responsibly one must set limits, be conscious of frequency and quantity, and comprehend the risks and repercussions that could occur. It’s crucial to put other parts of life such as education, professional aspirations and financial security, before marijuana use.

I truly believe that some of the actual effects that marijuana may bring about may go unnoticed due to our casual views regarding it. It is still categorized as a narcotic at the end of the day. Everything can lead to addiction or overuse without our knowledge.

Although using marijuana is a personal decision, it is important to recognize and comprehend the potential drawbacks it may have on particular people. People who decide to use marijuana ought to do so sensibly, mindful of the risks and potential repercussions and with consideration for other elements of their lives. People can reduce the negative effects that marijuana usage can have on their lives by using it responsibly and with the help of education.

So feel free to smoke as much as you want today. I agree with that. Don’t smoke tomorrow, though, perhaps. Take a little “T break”, have a picnic outside, read that book that has been collecting dust on your shelf, ride your bike, reorganize that desk you have been meaning to or give a friend a call. Save the money you might have spent on marijuana, or spend it on date with your partner, or a gift for a friend. Maybe even spend it on yourself.

So kids, do drugs — responsibly of course.

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