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How the Use of Marijuana is Impacting Society

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Almost half of the United States has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Recent studies have found that the use of cannabis coincides with a 17% increase in suicide rates. The use of cannabis, especially in young people, is leading to an increase in mental disorders.

The Mental Impact of Marijuana

The earlier a person starts using marijuana, the greater the negative impact will be on their mental health. Studies note that individuals more prone to mental illness may be more likely to self-medicate. This is the chicken and egg argument, questioning whether it was the mental illness that led to the abuse of drugs or the drugs that led to the mental illness.

Despite this caveat, prolonged use of marijuana was also found to exacerbate mental illness conditions, potentially acting as a catalyst. The most notable mental ailment that affects individuals who use marijuana is schizophrenia, but other mental ailments can also occur due to repeated drug use. 

Schizophrenia is associated with a person losing touch with reality, and their actions and speech become disorganized. This subsequently makes it difficult for individuals to engage in regular activities, negatively affecting their memory. 

Repeated use of marijuana also shows an increase in cases of psychosis, where individuals lose touch with reality. This psychosis persists beyond the use of the drug. Due to this, there is also an increase in cases of suicide, regardless of the presence of depression. Suicidality is most prominent among girls.  In fact, there has been an increase in the rate of suicide by as much as 17% since the legalization of marijuana. 

Counteracting the Negative Impact of Drugs

While these statistics are sobering, there are many positive measures that families and friends can take to help dissuade the use of drugs. 

Lead a Balanced Life

One of the best ways to encourage sobriety is to build a community of encouraging and engaging people. A positive community is essential for all individuals, and the relationships built here are essential for the health of both the community and the individual.

One of the best ways to help establish a positive influence of good in your community is to create a gathering place for members to come together and engage. Whether this is a community building or your backyard is inconsequential. 

For parents of youth, strive to make your home the hangout spot. Establish traditions like outdoor pizza oven nights that encourage teens to want to be at your home – in a positive and safe environment. This parent oversight, and the relationship you build with your child and their friends, will help increase your sphere for good. 

Examine Risk Factors

It is important for individuals to know their mental health risk factors. If you have a family history of mental illness, it is important not to self-medicate, as this can exacerbate problems. 

Instead, recognize that illness can be positively impacted by diminishing your risk factors. These factors include your environment– both social and physical. This means that your home, work, and school life can be for your benefit or detriment. 

It also means that developing healthy habits can help improve your risk factors. This includes healthy food choices that are high in essential nutrients, as well as proper exercise and outdoor time. 

Education and Mental Health Help

If you are aware of the signs and symptoms of mental illness as well as drug use, it will help to recognize the need for help. Obtaining help is critical, as it can help to regulate your symptoms and improve your outcomes.


The legalization of marijuana is creating consequences that are detrimental to the mental health of many, but especially the youth of our society. With suicide rates on the rise, it is time for communities to take action. Communities– be that family, friends, or neighbors– need to help counteract this negative impact. This starts with building positive relationships and creating safe and inviting activities for individuals.