With acceptance and legality of medical marijuana on the rise, use among mainstream society
is increasing. Because it is deemed for “medical” use, many believe that it is healthy and safe
for their bodies. Unfortunately, the risks associated with medical marijuana are very real, and
have been largely undisclosed as the prominence of use has dramatically increased. Because of
the lack of public education regarding use of these substances, instance of drug rehabilitation due to marijuana addiction will likely increase in the near future. Already, episodes of emergency
hospital care related to marijuana abuse more than tripled between 1993-2000, even before the
recent burst of popularity among the mainstream public.
The financial market related to medical marijuana is booming, even in the currently weak
economy. With only 15 states providing medical marijuana services, the market is estimated
at $1.7 billion, expected to increase to $8.9 billion by 2016. This is estimated based on the
assumption that another 20 states will legalize medical marijuana, which is the expected course of action.
While financially, medical marijuana seems like a promising venture, little attention is paid to
the health risk factors associated with continued use. Short-term effects include memory loss,
distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in
muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety. In addition, it was found that occasional users
had lower white blood cell counts, averaged at 39% lower, than non-users. Considering that
many use medical marijuana as symptomatic treatment for cancer, the benefits seem debatable.
The common popularity of medical marijuana seems a danger, especially to the adolescent and
young adult market. More teens seek treatment through drug rehabilitation centers for marijuana
than any other drug. Teen admissions for marijuana rose from 43% to 60% between 1994-1999.
Because marijuana is a gateway drug, it can be assumed that many seeking treatment for other
drugs also have or have had issues with marijuana abuse.
Addiction to marijuana led more than 200,000 adults to seek treatment in a drug rehabilitation center in 1999. This will continue to increase as it becomes more available to the public. Contact Vista Taos Renewal Center, located in serene Taos, New Mexico, today to learn about treatment programs available to assist those with addiction to marijuana.