Ways that Marijuana Can Cause Impaired Judgment

Ways that Marijuana Can Cause Impaired Judgment

Since its legalization in Colorado, marijuana has become increasingly popular for both medical and recreational use. Mixed reports about this controversial substance make it difficult to weigh the benefits and risks of using it. Many will claim that marijuana has little to no effect on health, while others will argue that there are in fact many physical and mental consequences of use. Despite the inconsistent reports about this drug, it is well understood that the use of marijuana can cause impaired judgment, a side effect that can ultimately be very dangerous.

How Marijuana Works

Marijuana contains a chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of the drug. When smoked, these chemicals enter the bloodstream through the lungs. Once the molecules are transported to the brain, they plug into certain receptors called cannabinoid receptors. This in turn creates an alteration in the areas of the brain related to pleasure, memory, concentration, and movement. These changes produce the effects of marijuana, such as relaxation, impaired memory, lowered reaction time, impaired coordination, and impaired judgment. Though many people safely use marijuana despite these effects, many others experience serious consequences, often related to impaired judgment.

Dangers of Marijuana-Related Impaired Judgment

When a marijuana user experiences impaired judgment as a result of the drug’s effects on the brain, there are many potential risks. Some of the possible risks include motor vehicle accidents, injury, or the use of more dangerous substances.

Perhaps the biggest risk of impaired judgment occurs when the decision is made to drive while under the influence of the drug. Those using the drug may believe that they are functioning well enough to make a quick trip to the grocery store or to a friend’s house. They might argue that they are much more functional under the influence of marijuana than they are under alcohol, or might even convince themselves that they would drive better than when sober due to an increase in focus. These unfortunate misconceptions can result in devastating and potentially life-threatening accidents. The accidents that occur while driving under the influence of marijuana are usually attributable to the drug’s effects on coordination.

Injury is another serious risk when judgment is impaired during the use of marijuana. An individual using the drug might make the decision to participate in a stunt or activity without the true ability to fully consider the potential dangers of doing so. This is especially true for people who work in a profession that uses machinery and heavy equipment. While under the influence of marijuana use, people often underestimate the attention that is required to perform their jobs safely.

Another potential risk of marijuana-related impaired judgment is the possibility of using stronger substances. While under the influence of marijuana, it is much easier to disregard the consequences of using another drug like ecstasy or heroin. Because of this progression of drug use, marijuana is often considered a gateway drug. Those that end up experimenting with stronger drugs while using marijuana might risk overdose or increased side effects.

Get Help for Marijuana Addiction

Many people believe that marijuana use cannot lead to addiction. However, psychological addiction to marijuana is in fact possible with frequent use. If you or a loved one has become addicted to marijuana, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for marijuana addiction.