Using marijuana is not that uncommon anymore. It could also be said that stigma attached to this leisure drug is disappearing as people of various age and social status are using it. However, is it really that innocent? Scientists from the University of Waterloo say that for children it can actually cause some serious social problems, which could impact their opportunities later in life.
Researchers say that high school students, who start smoking marijuana regularly, oftentimes start performing worse in academic life. In fact, many of them start skipping class, even if they smoke once a month. It just goes to show that using drugs has social consequences as well and not only effects on one’s health. Scientists say that students who smoke at least once a month are four times more likely to skip class, two-to-four times less likely to complete their homework and value getting good grades, and about half as likely to achieve high grades, than when they had never used the drug.
Furthermore, many of them stop thinking about university degree – these ambitions drop by 50 % when children start smoking marijuana regularly. It all means that children should avoid using marijuana for as long as possible as it simply makes them lazier and distracts them from education that is necessary for their future careers. However, scientists point out an important problem in this situation.
Nowadays more high school students smoke marijuana than use cigarettes or alcohol. However, public health prevention efforts lag behind those of alcohol and tobacco. Human brain is still actively developing until the person reaches early twenties and so children should be protected from the dangerous substances that could potentially harm healthy cognitive development.
But more and more children think that marijuana does not do any harm. Scott Leatherdale, one of the authors of the paper, said: “All substances present risks to health and well-being. With marijuana legalization on the horizon, it’s critical we understand these risks in order to promote successful transitions into adulthood for our youth”.
Many drugs nowadays are considered not harmful or almost beneficial, because people tend to look at a very narrow picture of effects on health. However, many of these substances pose some social risks, such as lack of ambition, reduced social life, depression and so on. It is really important that people look at a wider picture and protect children from harming themselves and their future.
Source: University of Waterloo