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Marijuana has been used as a way to get “high” or reach euphoria as far back as 2737 B.C. when it was first discussed in a Chinese medical journal. Since then, it’s been historically used as a medicinal herb in many cultures. Researchers believe that its use spread from China to India to North Africa and then to Europe as early as 500 A.D. In the 1600’s in the U.S., the government actually encouraged production of hemp to use for rope, sails and clothing. However, by the early 1900’s increased crime and social problems were linked to marijuana use so Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which basically made it illegal except for authorized medical and industrial uses. It was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia from 1850 to 1942 for use in relieving labor pains, nausea and rheumatism. In 1956, the Narcotics Control Act set mandatory sentences for drug-related offenses. Nevertheless, the counter-culture of the 1960’s popularized the drug once again, using it is a symbol of their rebellion against authority.

Today 20 states and DC have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and 9 more, including Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia have this legislation in the works. And, as we all know, it’s legal to smoke marijuana on private property in Washington State and Colorado if over 21 years old. All of this definitely works to diminish its danger in the eyes of the average adolescent.

So, how do you explain to your teenager that its not something they should get involved with when it’s popularity and acceptance in the U.S. is growing leaps and bounds? In fact, in speaking recently with a group of teenagers, the group consensus was that smoking marijuana is safer than drinking alcohol.

The answer is that our kids should have the opportunity to learn the facts about drug use by signing them up for an online drug education class. Taking a private program from the convenience of your own home will give your teenager the freedom to learn the information on his or her own time and in a relaxed atmosphere, free from peer pressure. Parents can sit through the program with their kids and stop it whenever a question comes up that the teen wants to discuss in further detail.

In case you are wondering yourself what kind of damage smoking marijuana wreaks on the mind and body, here’s some quick highlights:

  • Respiratory illness: chronic use can contribute to pulmonary infections, bronchitis, inflamed sinuses, development of pre-cancerous cells, lung inflammation and risk of lung cancer.
  • Reduced Function of Immune System: It affects the body’s ability to fight viruses and bacteria. It could reduce ability to fight tumor activity.
  • Cardiovascular Effects: Marijuana alters and increases heart rate.
  • Behavior Effects: It impairs short-term memory, makes it more difficult to concentrate, slows reaction time, impairs motor skills, and has an unmotivating effect. The relaxed and euphoric state contributes to a lack of ambition to get anything done. This translates to poor grades, reduced exercise and reduced desire to accomplish goals.
  • Mental Health: Marijuana can contribute to anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia.