Furthermore, as cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there is a proven link between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.
The hard reality is that marijuana slows down and alter one’s thought processes, causes loss of concentration, impairs coordination, and weakens verbal and communication skills. The young and developing brain is especially at risk of suffering long-lasting structural and functional impairment.
Lest adults and seniors feel complacent about their “weed” indulgence: Marijuana can increase one’s heart rate, alter one’s blood pressure and increase angina; reduce the size and birth weight of a fetus in the pregnant smoker, and increase the risk of non lymphoblastic leukemia in children whose mothers indulged before or during gestation.
Symptoms that may be indicative of marijuana use: breathing difficulties, nausea, headaches, decreased coordination, increased appetite, bloodshot eyes, sleepiness, memory loss, anxiety, paranoia, tremors, confusion, hallucinations, increased heart rate, and dry mouth.
So what measures can we exert on the young and foolish (and the not-so-young but foolish) who would waste their G-d given potential and trade quality of life for some fleeting and meaningless artificial highs?
There are yeshivas today that drug-test their students and execute a no-nonsense approach toward positive testers. Perhaps it’s time for other learning institutions to follow suit.
The heads of some orthodox Jewish communities have lately taken matters in hand, determined to thwart the growing menace in their midst. They have formed committees that make it their business to track down the weed peddlers — who are then summarily warned to stay away or find themselves facing the serious consequences of conducting illegal activity.
As has been repeatedly emphasized in this space, the best defense against external influences getting the better of our youth is for parents to cultivate open communication with their children, and teach by example. (One can hardly blame the child of a parent who smokes for lighting up.)
We must also see to providing our children with enough mind stimulation and physical recreation, via wholesome and positive activities and pastimes, so that they are less motivated to wander off in search of a fix to allay their boredom and frustration.
No, there are no guarantees in life, but confronting the problem rather than pretending it doesn’t exist gives us at least the chance to keep it in check.
Thank you for being concerned and speaking out.
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About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.
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