Marijuana legalization continues to grow across the country, with 23 states now legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes. Four of those states also allow for use of pot for recreational purposes and the issue may be appearing on more ballots in more states in the not-so-distant future. In light of this growing trend, the question becomes just how dangerous is the legalization of marijuana to those that are currently in recovery?
The Perception of Safety
One of the biggest problems with legalization of marijuana is the perception that if it is legal, particularly for medicinal use, it is also safe and non-addictive. This perception has been proven incorrect in numerous studies, especially in light of the fact that the marijuana manufactured today is much more potent than the pot used decades earlier. In addition to enticing younger users, possibly leading to more addiction, those in recovery may have to grapple with yet another potential obstacle on the road to long-term sobriety.
Harm of Marijuana Abuse
Despite assurance from those in favor of marijuana legalization, pot is not a harmless substance. Studies have shown that use of this drug, particularly in the younger years, can have a serious impact on brain function. Regular marijuana use can also lead to damage to the lungs, suppression of the immune system and personality changes. Another concern with pot is the fact that it can remain in the system much longer than other drugs, so symptoms may persist even when the user does not associate the side effects with being “high.”
A Gateway to Other Drugs
Evidence has also shown that many who begin using marijuana are likely to move into harder, more addictive drugs over time. This is particularly true of those in recovery that attempt what has become known as a “marijuana maintenance program.” These recovering addicts may determine the legal and medicinal status of pot takes it off the list of banned substances. However, most in recovery will not remain limited to marijuana and will often turn to their former drugs of choice, like heroin, cocaine and crack.
Those in recovery are urged to abstain from any type of substance that is capable of altering mind or mood. Marijuana does fall into this category, whether it is legal or not. If you are working to remain sober, marijuana is a substance to avoid at all costs. If you are struggling with an addiction to marijuana or another substance, contact Pasadena Recovery Center today at 866-663-3030.