Addiction to Drugs and Marijuana
Restricting Marijuana access until age 21 makes sense because it’s less harmful to developing brains; there are fewer Auto and work accidents and improved educational outcomes, and less evidence of drug addiction in our teenagers.
Recent research indicates that chronic Marijuana users, especially those in their late teens, impede the development of the pre-frontal cortex and thalamus as they reach the critical last years of brain development. This phenomenon is evidenced by the large number of students dropping out of High School due to, among other things, drug addiction and the increase of parental dependence from a generation of young adults. The Brain does not fully develop until the age of 25, and chronic use stunts the necessary growth resulting in lower levels of maturity.
The Insurance, Public safety and OSHA lobbyists are certain to continue efforts to maintain a 21 year old restriction in states that are currently pursuing legal status for recreational use of Cannabis. This effort could be considered a harm reduction measure akin to the raising of the legal drinking age in the US from age 18 to 21 in the 1980’s. By following the success of the Alcohol laws in place, the public can expect lower insurance premiums, better quality of work and fewer tragic deaths due to Marijuana intoxication. Memory problems, impaired coordination and balance, as well as diminished concentration and reaction time are common among Marijuana’s heaviest users and create hazards for the individual and those in their presence.
College Administrators have turned a blind eye to chronic Marijuana use on their Campuses since the 1960’s, and although many students do achieve degrees, often times quite easily, in spite of being frequently high on or having formed a drug addiction to pot. Other students just get by or fail entirely, as Marijuana tends to lessen alertness, and impair ones abilities in completing complex study tasks. Getting high on a daily basis does not prepare Graduates for the necessary social skills required in an ever demanding and competitive playing field. A 21 year requirement will improve students focus, attendance and subsequently less subsidized dollars will be wasted on grants or subsidies for underperforming students.
Education is the key component to all successful substance abuse prevention and harm reduction programs. America has been losing ground in the Educational, Economic and Wellness arenas for the past 3 decades, a position in which we were once revered.
Teenage Marijuana abuse is clearly becoming one of society’s biggest challenges and plays a role in the era of mediocrity we find ourselves in today. Federal mandates upholding a 21 year old age requirement, regardless of medical necessity or recreational use is the most sensible alternative.
NIDA- Marijuana facts for Teens
University of Washington- ADAI – Learn about Marijuana