Cannabis or Marijuana is probably the most widely used illicit or illegal drug in Australia.
Like most drugs, there are a lot of myths associated with cannabis and everybody seems to have their own ideas based on what their next door neighbour told them.
Alright, pluses and minuses: It’s quite fair to say that it is a milder drug than things like heroin or amphetamines. That doesn’t make it a good thing but people will say, “okay, that means it fairly harmless”. Less bad than something else is not the same as harmless. It’s like saying it’s better to be burnt by 90 degree water than 100 degree water. Maybe it is but it doesn’t make getting burnt by 90 degree water a very good thing.
So cannabis is a little bit like playing with fire. There are people, and we all know them, who smoke the occasional joint and don’t seem to have too much to show for it. This is the person who always gets quoted, saying, “it’s fine, I know so-and-so and he’s used it from time to time”, let’s not pretend that these people don’t exist. They may well be the exception to the rule because what we also know is cannabis is addictive. Whilst not every single person seems to be addicted, a reasonable percentage do and it’s a little bit like playing with fire. If it gets out of control, it’s a real problem for you; it can burn down the house and take you with it.
So if cannabis is addictive and the more often people use it, the more likely they are to get addicted. Long-term use of cannabis is linked to many psychiatric illnesses and problems, unfortunately today, psychiatric hospitals have a reasonable percentage of beds filled with people who have had psychotic episodes related to drugs and cannabis is amongst that. Aside from that we also know that prisons are filled with a lot of people who got into trouble because of cannabis. So apart from all the medical conditions, please remember that you can end up behind bars if you are using cannabis or other drugs. As for psychiatric conditions, it can lead to psychosis, it can lead to schizophrenia.
Again, people will rationalise it for themselves by saying, “I know so-and-so and he’s fine or she’s fine”. They may well be but that does not mean that everybody is and do you really want to take that risk because once you’ve gone down that path it can be pretty much impossible to come back. Sure, psychiatric illness can be treated and medicated and people can muddle through, but it often a condition they will have for life. Personalities can be affected and the long-term use of cannabis can lead to a “zombie” type persona – a little bit flat in all directions. You wouldn’t be too excited if you won lotto, you wouldn’t get too upset if somebody died, you just go through life as a little bit of a zombie. Memory and concentration can be affected – you can’t remember what you had for breakfast this morning, you might forget to show up to work, you might forget deadlines, the sort of thing that can lead to you losing your job. Of course there is a cost expense too so people’s finances and their families can be affected by the high use of cannabis.
Alright – to sum up… this is not meant to be another one of those fear and doom and gloom type videos, it is about dispelling some of the myths. Cannabis is an addictive drug, it can lead to psychiatric problems, it can alter and change your personality. The question you really have to ask yourself is, “do I really want to go down that path?”