Durham News: Opinion

Wanda Boone: Marijuana has risks; let’s learn from past mistakes

Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014. Since that time the Colorado Department of Health has published public health action statements to prevent or intervene in concerns observed in their state associated with marijuana use.

Medical marijuana used in a controlled environment to alleviate the health symptoms is called cannabidiol. The National Institutes on Drug Abuse reported: “The marijuana chemical cannabidiol (CBD) is [used] to treat certain conditions such as childhood epilepsy, a disorder that causes a child to have violent seizures. Therefore, scientists have been specially breeding marijuana plants and making CBD in oil form for treatment purposes. These drugs may be less desirable to recreational users because they are not intoxicating.”

Dangers have been documented with marijuana use. Many people might not be aware of certain health and safety risks including problems related to pregnancy and breastfeeding, unintentional exposures in children, neurological, cognitive and mental health issues as well as respiratory problems.

The Colorado Department of Health reports that regular marijuana use by adolescents and young adults is associated with impaired learning and disorders such as schizophrenia in adulthood. Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado (2014) states that marijuana use by adolescents may be associated with low academic achievement, such as not graduating from high school or attaining a university degree, lower income, and more unemployment.

We need to remember what we learned about legal drugs. Tobacco addiction for example is the leading cause of preventable premature deaths in the world according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

What about alcohol? Excessive drinking is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years of age in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control

Learn more at the TRY Prevention Annual 2015 Conference – Saturday, April 18, 2015, at the Hilton Garden Inn at Southpoint. DurhamTRY.org/Calendar

Wanda Boone is the founder of Together for Resilient Youth. Contact her at DurhamTRY.org and on Facebook and Twitter @together4youth