By Victoria Torley
Special to A.M. Costa Rica
A great deal has been said by readers of this A.M. Costa Rica about the use of marijuana. It has even been suggested that Costa Rica could increase tourism by legalizing the drug.
As someone who worked in the field of drug and alcohol counseling and held an international certification the field, I would like to weigh in with a few comments.
- Medical marijuana is available in pill form. The pills, called Marinol or Dronabinol, are purified THC, the chemical that causes the high experienced by recreational smokers. Side effects of these two medications “Dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, feeling “high,” an exaggerated sense of well-being” are common. Dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, feeling "high", an exaggerated sense of well-being, Dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, feeling "high", an exaggerated sense of well-being (www.webmd.com) Both medications are available by prescription from a medical professional and are used to prevent nausea during chemotherapy and to increase the appetite of people suffering from HIV.
Dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, feeling "high", an exaggerated sense of well-being
The precaution? Prolonged use of these medications may cause addiction. Yes, THC is an addictive substance.
-Marijuana affects judgement which is why it is called a ‘gateway’ drug. Someone who is experiencing the euphoria of marijuana is susceptible to suggestion. When a friend says that what he is smoking or taking is better, lack of judgement leads to acceptance of the suggestion to “try this.” “This” may be a joint dusted with, well, just about anything or it could be a pill. When you are high, judgement goes out the window.
-Marijuana and alcohol don’t mix. Marinol is used to treat nausea and vomiting by suppressing the reflex that causes vomiting. Vomiting – cleaning the stomach of remaining toxins – the drinker’s friend. When the body’s alcohol level gets too high, vomiting prevents what is called alcohol toxicity by ridding the stomach of its alcohol content. Marijuana allows the alcohol in the stomach to continue into the bloodstream, increasing the toxic level of alcohol which leads to unconsciousness and even death. (www.psychologytoday.com)
- Like smoking and drinking during pregnancy, marijuana has an effect on the growing fetus and can cause low birth weight, still birth, and developmental delay (mothertobaby.org) and (www.healthline.com)
A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
-Like smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol, using marijuana is a family problem. I have worked with teenagers who started imitating their parent’s behavior at the age of seven. By adolescence, their ability to learn was compromised by their daily use of the drug – yes, drug because that is what THC is. So, in light of children’s imitation of their parent’s cigarette and alcohol consumption, how are you going to keep children from using their parent’s marijuana? This is posed as a serious question by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).-Then there is this from the NIDA: “Because marijuana impairs short-term memory and judgment and distorts perception, it can impair performance in school or at work and make it dangerous to drive. It also affects brain systems that are still maturing through young adulthood, so regular use by teens may have negative and long-lasting effects on their cognitive development, putting them at a competitive disadvantage and possibly interfering with their well-being in other ways. Also, contrary to popular belief, marijuana can be addictive, and its use during adolescence may make other forms of problem use or addiction more likely.” Read more at: www.drugabuse.govThese are only some of the issues raised by the legalization and even the medical use (other than in pill form) of marijuana.
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