The Weld County Health Department recently launched a campaign knows as “Marijuana is not Harmless”, to spread awareness about the health impacts of Marijuana’s use across Colorado.
Marijuana, also known as weed, is a greenish mixture of dried flowers of Cannabis sativa, which is also a psychoactive drug used for medical or recreational purposes. It can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within the food or even as an extract. The consumption of the drug creates temporary high – a change in perception, heightened mood and an increase in appetite.
A 2019 Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) report found that the number of E.R visits due to marijuana-related emergencies in a year has increased by 54% since 2013, and the annual number of hospitalizations increased by 101%.
According to Mark E. Wallace, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department, “We acknowledge Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana. However, the general public, and especially youth, need to understand that marijuana use is not harmless. There are consequences to driving impaired and using frequent amounts of marijuana.”
The report also discovered that the number of traffic deaths involving drivers who had smoked marijuana had doubled since the legalization of the drug in 2012. That’s almost 3 deaths every three days.
The “Marijuana is not harmless” campaign is mainly focused on the aim to spread awareness about the usage of the drug and possible dangers that it brings along. The campaign functions by using social media along with outdoor billboards add to reach marijuana users.
Since the drug’s legalization, marijuana culture has drastically increased. As per 2018, there were over 520 recreational marijuana dispensaries – more than twice the number of Starbucks statewide.
Weed’s usage has also caused an increase in discomfort in domestic lives. According to the health officials, data from National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that compared to those who didn’t smoke marijuana, the ones who did report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental health, more relationship problems, and less success career-wise as well as academically.
Even though 64% of local jurisdictions in Colorado have banned medical and recreational marijuana businesses, adult marijuana use in the state is 96% higher than the national average, and the usage by youth ages 12 and older is 78% higher than the national average.
Problems of Marijuana
Even though the drug creates a temporary feeling of content, there are many harmful effects associated with its use:
- Breathing problems: the smoke irritates the lungs leading to cough, phlegm and a high risk of lung infections.
- Increased heart rate: Marijuana increases the heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking which can have adverse effects on the heart’s health especially in people already suffering from cardiac disease.
- Child development during pregnancy: Smoking weed during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight and an increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in the babies. The drug can affect the developing part of the fetus’s brain and lead to problems with memory and brain development in the future.
- Nausea and vomiting: Regular marijuana use can cause Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome that causes the users to experience regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.