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Marijuana Legalization in Virginia

CAs many of you know, since July 1, 2021, marijuana is already legal in the state of Virginia, this means that we have a lot of work to do in our homes and in the community to educate, inform and prevent possible problems that may arise, due to this new legislation.

But, let’s start from the beginning by knowing what marijuana is. Also known as cannabis and pot, is the most-used substance in the US after alcohol and tobacco.

Research suggests around 10 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of a substance use disorder. People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who start in adulthood.

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves and flowers from the cannabis plant which contain the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Marijuana can be smoked, vaporized, eaten, and brewed in tea.

Short-Term Effects

When marijuana is smoked, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries it to the brain and other organs. The body absorbs THC more slowly when the plant is eaten. THC affects brain receptors that ordinarily react to natural THC-like chemicals that play a role in normal brain development and function.

Short-term effects can include: altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors), altered sense of time, changes in mood, difficulty with attention and problem-solving, impaired memory and increased heart rate. Rare side effects that can occur when THC is taken at very high doses include: hallucinations, delusions and psychosis.

Long-Term Health Consequences

Smoking marijuana can cause breathing problems similar to those caused by smoking tobacco--such as frequent cough and phlegm and a higher risk of lung infections. Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight and increased risk of brain and behavioral problems in babies.

Long-term marijuana consumption has been linked to mental illness in some users, such as: worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder increased rates of depression and social anxiety disorder.

In conclusion, it does not matter if a substance or product is legal or not, or if it is used because it is easily available, or the cost is low, or any other situation; the important thing here is that we know what the consequences are when doing it and dealing with those effects. In adulthood people should be more aware of the actions or decisions they make, but in the case of children, young people who need information, more guidance and resources, we all have the obligation to do a whatever we need to do to avoid as much as possible they fall into addiction problems.

Source: What is a Marijuana Use Disorder? (addictionpolicy.org)


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