The legalization of Marijuana for recreational and/ or medicinal use on the helping profession means to me that, persons already engaging in the use will now feel more freedom when partaking of this drug. Those already using the substance will have greater influence on their peers. This freedom will impact the already increasing numbers seen in mental disorders by those working in the helping professional field. My concern is will persons show the same coyness in testing the drug and the impact it has on the mental capacity of individuals? There are so many countries legalizing Marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use some of these include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Colorado, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Washington DC. I do share the belief that Marijuana has medicinal use not when it is smoked, but when its liquid is steeped or extracted and proportionately used by a train professional.
Marijuana more popular street names are known as Ganja, Cannabis, Herb, Pot, Dope, Joint, Weed, Skunk, Stink Weed and Mary Jane just to name a few. Persons who are known to engage in the use of Marijuana will tell you they do so because of its benefits. I believe the legalization is not so much the problem, but educating persons already using the substance of the correct methods in its usage. Most persons who use Marijuana for recreational use do so by smoking the drug. This can be done through making a spiff or through a pipe. Smoking in general causes so much damage to the lungs: Constant coughing, wheezing, Asthma, Pneumonia and Cancer. As I mediate on the scriptures a passage comes to mind from 3 John 2, “beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth”. Through the inspired word of God our creator is saying to us I am the creator of you and the plant you are using, do so without harming the temple that I have given you to care for. Our wise creator has given us a brain to use intelligently if we lack knowledge even in this aspect we can ask him and He will give willingly and abundantly.
In my views the use of Marijuana among peers is one of the most influential. According to research peer pressure is the number one reason young adults use marijuana. Other influences include other relatives, pop culture and social media. The reasons given for these influences are that young adults between the ages of 18 – 25 years have adjusting issues, trying to form new friendships, sorting personal identity and it is their way of socializing. After this psychoactive substance is used for the above mentioned reasons it alters the consciousness of its users. This mind-altering effect is done through the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The chemical is found in resin produced by the leaves and buds mainly of the female cannabis plant.
The plant contains more than five-hundred other chemicals, including more than one-hundred compounds that are chemically related to THC called cannabinoids. The acute effects of this drug may include a pleasant euphoria, sense of relaxation, increased appetite, altered perception of time, heightened sensory perception, hallucinations, delusions and a loss personal identity. More chronic effects may include, schizophrenia (seen in vulnerable individuals), inferring with learning abilities, impaired memory, lower life satisfaction, criminal behavior, suicidal thoughts, mood and anxiety disorders ( National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018).
Paul in 1 Corinthians 6: 20 tell us that we are bought with a price and so we should glorify God in our bodies. If we only knew the value that is placed upon us by our creator the challenge of peer pressure and other influences would be extinct. Having a personal spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father is the most fulfilling meaning to our existence. This relationship is able to fill all voids in our lives including peer pressure and other influences that may challenge us to use drugs like marijuana or any other issues that we may face in life.
Persons already engaging in the use of Marijuana will feel more freedom now that it is legalized. An example can be other countries that have legalized the drug for recreational and medicinal use. It is clear that many persons will misuse and abuse its products even when they are in the natural forms. An incident happened with some high school students consuming some baked products containing cannabis. Too much edibles were ingested and they ended up being hospitalized. As pot-related emergency rooms visits were on the rise children unknowingly ate these baked pot-laced treats and hospitalization was the result. Two deaths are believed to have been the result of eating these baked goods and candies. Officials’ warnings have been taken lightly of the unforeseen problems relating to the retailers opening their doors with the selling of these products, and with persons choosing to get high from them. A high existing concern to be taken in consideration is that most of these regular users are young adults. The probability implies that the younger the user is the more experimental they will be and ignore precautionary measures which will heighten the risk of mental disorders (Bennett, 2015). There is a popular saying that familiarity breeds content. Contentment in knowing that they were right all along and that nothing is wrong with using ganja.
It is only in knowing and practicing the word of God that our young people will be safe. The wisest man ever known to live counsels that it is when you are young and strong God desires to call upon such individuals for serving Him. Paul a young scholar adds perfectly that let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus is the best known overcoming power over any addiction whether this be substance abuse or otherwise. The youths of today are faced with challenges of every sort and many are not trained to withstand their issues. Using critical thinking can be a way of opting out of these issues as the minds will be exercised to deal with its challenges. I believe it is a start with our local government implementing Primary Exit Profile (PEP). PEPs’ main characteristic is to utilize critical thinking; opening the way for a more intelligent society and becoming better problem solvers.
The impact from legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal use in my opinion will increase the numbers seen in mental health disorders and will have some influence on the helping profession. Mr. Rick Dart, Director of Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, found in his research that adolescents like to experiment at an important stage in their brain development. Dart says that,” the chance of a psychotic episode increased when using the drug, and the earlier adolescents use, the more likely they will experience a psychotic episode from which they may never recover.” A second research was done in Colorado, one of the several states in the United States that has legalized Marijuana. The research shows that after partaking of marijuana laced produce a college student from Wyoming jumped to his death from a Denver hotel balcony in March. The student did this after consuming six times the recommended dose of a pot-infused cookie. The authorities will have their hands full like those in Colorado dealing with fiery house explosions caused by pot enthusiastics making THC- rich hash oil in their homes through a dangerous process that involves heavy amount of butane, a highly flammable gas that can burst into flames (Voorhees, 2014).
This research has been an eye opening experience for me as the findings were appalling. I pondered at the thought of how much empowerment helping professionals like myself will have to impact the youngsters of our society with, before we can see a difference. It is one thing to deal with minds that are healthy and without the influence of any substance. Special training will be needed to deal with those faced with mental challenges; example persons experiencing psychiatric issues especially if it is caused from mind altering substances such as Marijuana.
My major concern is focused on how much coyness will be directed in the testing of the drug and the impact it will have on the mental capacity of individuals. In our small country of Jamaica, is our government cognizant of the relation between the crime rate, the increase in adolescents being mentally challenged and the state that our society is in today? I see so many adolescents partaking in the use of Ganja. I have also taken note of the increasing numbers in the mentally challenged person on our streets. The Jamaica Observer published an article in (2013) of an edited article from the Member of Parliament, Dr. Dayton Campbell’s contribution to the debate in legalizing Marijuana. According to Dr. Campbell, “although Jamaica is said to produce the best Marijuana as a developing country, we could face problems with developed metropolitan countries such as the United States.”
He also elaborated on the fact that the United States of America has been fighting a drug trade that exists in Central America for years. Dr. Campbell also spoke about the ongoing “ganja for guns” trade between Jamaica and Haiti as it is also a major concern for Jamaica’s future. Haiti is believed to be smuggling guns from the United States and trading them with Jamaicans in exchange for Marijuana. The worst case scenario is yet to manifest if the drug is fully legalized here. Dr. Campbell went on to say that, “Jamaica is a signatory to the Single narcotics convention, the convention of Psychotropic Substances, and the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.” He mentioned that Former Attorney General Michael Hylton reported saying that “Jamaica would be in breach of its treaty obligations if Parliament were to remove criminal sanctions with respect to these activities.”
In conclusion, Jamaican needs to carry out much research with the relation between Marijuana and Mental Illness. The findings are clear as to what other parts of the world that has legalized the drug faces. This is Jamaica Land we love lets treat it with much respect for our future generations, honoring our culture and heritage as the result of shed blood from our heroes.
- Bennett, J (2015). Are there unintended consequences of marijuana legalization? These experts weigh in. Retrieved from https://www. dailycaller.com/2015/05/20/are-there-unintended-consequences-of-marijuana-legalization-these-experts-weigh-in/
- Bray, B (2014). Legalized marijuana’s impact on counseling up for debate. Retrieved from https://ct.counseling.org/2014/02/legalized-marijuanas-impact-on-counseling-up-for-debate/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018). Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-marijuana
- Voorhees, J (2014). Going to pot? Retrieved from https://www. slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/06/roger-stone-met-with-russian-who-offered-clinton-dirt-in-exchange-for-usd2-million.html
- The Holy Bible. 1st ed. Gary, S.D.: 21st Century King James Bible Publishers, 1994.