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New study shows the addicting power of marijuana

Sign at 2014 Vancouver rally calling for legalization of marijuana. Unfortunately, studies are revealing the very serious damage cannabis usage can cause to the brains of teens. Photo: Flickr | Cannabis Culture

Sign at 2014 Vancouver, Canada rally calling for legalization of marijuana. This sign’s message flies in the face of of numerous studies revealing the very serious damage cannabis usage can cause the brains of teens. Photo: Flickr | Cannabis Culture | Creative Commons

Marijuana is one of the most used drugs in the world. Nearly 80 million Europeans have used the drug and in the US, marijuana usage has been steadily increasing since 2007. Many blame its growing popularity on activists promoting marijuana as a safe drug.

This message has been reinforced by two states, Washington and Colorado, that have legalized the drug for recreational use.

But a recent study by the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) shows that significant number of Marijuana users are actually addicted to the drug — meaning they are dependent on the drug.

The study led by Dr. John Kelly with the Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH studied the effects of Cannabis on 90 teens (aged 14 to 19) who regularly used the drug. They were part of a larger group of 127 who were participating in an outpatient substance disorder clinic. The 90 cited in their study declared Cannabis as their major drug use.

The study found that 84% of this group (76 in total) showed symptoms of drug dependence. This included failed efforts to stop using the drug, even when it was causing serious mental or physical problems and as well requiring higher dosages of the drug to get a high.

They further discovered that 40% (36 in total) reported withdrawal symptoms when trying to break free from their marijuana addiction. The withdrawal struggle displayed itself in problems with finances, school, work and relationships.

The study noted that those who recognized their addiction had a better chance of breaking from their addiction in the long run than those who didn’t.

Teens who recognized their addiction showed a steady improvement over a period of 12 months in decreasing Marijuana usage.

Those who experienced withdrawal symptoms but did not believe they were addicted to marijuana showed a decreased usage for the first three months, but then during the following nine months usage increased.

Commenting on the study, co-author Claire Greene said:

“Unfortunately, the general trend in attitudes in the U.S. is to minimize the risks and not recognize the addictiveness of cannabis.”

Numerous studies (here, here, here and here) are also showing the damage cannabis use can cause to the brains of teens.

Confessing your faults

There is a proverb that says, “You are only as sick as your biggest secret.”

As this study revealed, one of the keys to breaking an addiction is first acknowledging you have a problem. In the study, the teens who acknowledged their addiction had a better chance of breaking free of cannabis usage than those who didn’t.

The Apostle James speaks to this very issue when he says confession can lead to healing. We need to tell someone about our struggle to be able to gain control over it. Until we do this, it controls us. James also implies this confession will make a person’s prayer more effective. In other words, if you are praying to break free from a bondage stronghold, the prayer is made effective by telling others of your struggle.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.The effective [o]prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16 NASV)


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