Back in the 60s smoking weed was quite popular. There was something of a cultural revolution going on. Most of the folks that smoked pot back then eventually grew out of it and went on to have families and enjoy a normal life in American society. Only about 10% of those over the age of 25 ever became addicted, most just stopped. Yes, some went on to try more potent drugs like LSD, Heroin, or tried dropping acid, which is why some consider marijuana a ‘gateway’ drug. The 60s were a crazy time.
Those who stayed in the party scene often graduated to cocaine as their recreational drug of choice, which was starting to get popular in the US in the mid-70s and into the 80s. Then there was the “war on drugs” which is raging on today (cite 1).
Back in the 60s the younger users, those who started in their mid to late teens had higher rates of addiction about 15-17%. Today, we realize it is because their adolescent brain was still forming, and the continued use of THC from all those afternoons ‘ditching school’ eventually affected their brain development. In essence, the THC had re-wired their brain, thus, they became dependent.
Today’s Marijuana is More Potent and More Cause for Alarm
THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that gets you high. Trust us when we tell you; today’s hybrid marijuana is far more concentrated than yester year’s pot. In fact, one of the reasons marijuana is being legalized is because all the folks that tried it back in the 60s didn’t find it all that dangerous. Many have grown up and are now politically active, some even policymakers. We’ve now had President’s admit to smoking it. Needless to say, there is a lot of history when it comes to marijuana (cite: 2).
We often hear proponents of marijuana legalization say; alcohol is far more addicting and it’s killed far more people, especially when you factor in all the alcohol-related auto deaths. This is true of course, can’t argue with the statistics. Proponents also say we can legalize it and tax it, and solve all our problems. Well, not exactly.
This may appear to be an overall fair assessment in the minds of those who tried it or smoked it frequently in the 60s, but things are much different now. If we were just talking about the old marijuana, it’s relatively harmless compared to some of the new stuff available in states which have legalized its use.
This new marijuana has extremely high levels of THC. For instance, most of the pot that was smoked in the 60s was relatively low in THC, with the most potent of the day around 6% compared to some of today’s extreme hybrid marijuana clocking in at nearly 30%.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a Neurotoxin
Tetrahydrocannabinol is a crystalline compound, a chemical that is the main active ingredient of cannabis. The body naturally makes cannabinoid chemicals, so the brain’s cannabinoid receptors uptake the tetrahydrocannabinol. The cannabinoid receptors are found in regions of our brains that have to do with coordination, pleasure, memory, time perception, and thinking. This is why the THC gets you high.
Marketers of today’s hybrid marijuana advertise the percentage of THC potency as a positive, because it gets you higher faster, and for longer. That might be okay with you if your only goal is to get high, but if you value your mind, it’s a long-term net negative.
How Bad Is Marijuana Use on Mental Health?
Marijuana use has been linked to severe mental health issues and psychiatric disorders. The research is comprehensive and pretty conclusive. Among some of the problems include depression, anxiety, dependency (addiction), psychosis, schizophrenia, dementia, and early-onset Alzheimer’s. Most of these studies are statistical in nature, and mind you, much of the research was done by studying those who were smoking the older stuff; not the new high-concentrated hybrid marijuana which is extremely heavy-handed in THC.
For those who smoke the high-concentrated pot daily, their risks are 500% greater for developing mental health problems. Risks for developing psychosis or schizophrenia are then increased again by as much if you carry certain genes. Worried yet? And, not to scare anyone, but this is serious stuff. If you are smoking marijuana on a daily basis and using the high-potency stuff, you need to stop before you destroy your brain completely.
What Are the Side Effects of Smoking High-Potency Marijuana?
There are many cognitive and brain-related side effects of high-potency marijuana use. Some are temporarily desired by those looking to get high. Some are considered unfortunate side-effects by users but are somehow justified as worth it, merely for the pleasure of partaking and experiencing the temporary high. Let’s discuss these adverse side effects, shall we?
During use and throughout the intoxication duration you will have short-term memory impairment. You can expect challenges in maintaining attention or making decisions. You will have clumsy coordination, increased heart rate, and a little bit of paranoia. After you are no longer intoxicated and sometimes during intoxication your ability to learn will be impaired. You will experience problems with your sleep and your coordination will be less than optimal.
If you continue daily or regular use of high-potency marijuana, you might find yourself dependent (addicted). You may go down a few notches in IQ, especially if you started in your mid-teens or early 20s (cite: 3), and you could have a permanent learning disability. You will most likely have challenges with remembering things, perhaps problems with both short and long-term memory. Your risk of becoming addicted to other drugs or alcohol is increased nearly 5-fold based on statistical surveys. You could develop schizophrenia if you have a certain gene set. If you don’t get the help you need soon, you could find yourself developing a bipolar disorder (cite: 4). Eventually, your brain won’t be able to coherent thoughts.
If you smoke marijuana long-term you will have lung problems, which will get progressively worse. If you vape your THC, there are certain additives and chemicals that may not mix properly, and not all vaping cartridge solutions are the same – if you get the wrong ones, and use them a few too many times you could literally destroy your lungs and die.
1.) YouTube Video – “American Drug War,” posted by Gravitas Ventures channel on August 8, 2012.
2.) YouTube Video – “The Best Marijuana Documentary Ever,” posted by ‘That Guy Over There’ on January 15, 2019.
3.) “Cannabis use before age 15 and subsequent executive functioning,” by Maria Alice Fontes, Karen I. Bolla, and Paulo Jannuzzi Cunha et. al. Published in The British Journal of Psychiatry (2011) 198, 442-447. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077479.
4.) “Traditional marijuana, high-potency cannabis, and synthetic cannabinoids: increasing risk for psychosis,” by Robin Murray, Harriet Quigley, Diego Quattrone, Amir Englund, and Marta Di Forti. Published in the Journal of World Psychiatry 2016;15:195-204).