Recent epidemiological studies have done much to reveal the costs. Cannabis use disorder indicates there are mental and physical health costs as well as the loss of personal productivity. Associated social anxiety disorder robs our culture.
Pot contains the mind-altering chemical known as THC. When inhaled, it passes through the lungs into the bloodstream which transports the drug to the brain and other organs. Molecularly, THC targets the brain, its development and function. It also has an adverse effect on the central nervous system.
Recent studies conducted at the Universitaire de Toulouse in France revealed some serious cardiovascular problems resulting from the use of marijuana. Furthermore the study showed complications, including diseases involving arteries to limbs of the body and heart.
Most states where marijuana use has been legalized have laws against driving while under the influence. In light of the fact marijuana affects concentration and motor skills, these are good laws.
Use while pregnant has been shown to restrict the growth of a fetus and cause miscarriages and cognitive defects in offspring. Thus, use while pregnant places the unborn at a disadvantage. Prenatal use has a serious effect on brain development, deficits in language skills, attention ability and cognitive performance.
Individually, these traits keep a person from being their best in life. Collectively, these adverse effects are sure to impact future medical costs and loss of productivity in the work force.
With increasing evidence of the adverse effect of marijuana, the question remaining is why it is so popular. Users say it results in a euphoric state of relaxation called a “high.”
An issue is whether the short term state of ecstasy is worth the long term lethargy, indolence and apathy associated with the loss of brain cell function. With such a loss, productivity and creativity decline. Doubtless there are some rare exceptions to this that will be used as proof of the benefits, but the general principle of a decline in lifetime achievement is the rule.
Legalization not only indicates it is legitimate to use it, but it is safe to use. Promoters who stand to gain personally from its legitimacy attempt to cover the adverse effects. They advocate letting the people decide. An uninformed or misinformed public coupled with zealot users do not constitute an unbiased voter base. Couple that with the love of money syndrome and the issue passes.
The longing for fulfillment is inherent in the human soul. Everyone longs for a sense of well-being, self-worth, happiness and fulfillment. Everybody want kicks. There is a way to get kicks that doesn’t have a kick-back.
In 1670, a book by Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher and physicist, entitled “Pensees” was published. Therein he wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.”
Though not a biblical statement, it depicts a need for inner peace. If the mind is programmed with truths that give hope, provide peace, develop a sense of self-worth and an awareness of a loving God, a chemical substitute isn’t needed. It is indeed a peace that passes understanding.
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.